Age is a very important factor when it comes to having a child. Biologically, the best age to get pregnant is between 20 and 30 years, the perfect time being age 25. However, it’s your decision to have a baby and also to decide when is the best time to have it. A person’s lifestyle (among other things) includes their diet, physical exercise, hygiene, toxic habits, and mental health. It is very important to follow a healthy lifestyle, but even more so if you intend to get pregnant – because your health directly impacts your baby’s. In this article, we discuss the importance of a healthy diet and vitamins to increase fertility.
Nutrients and Vitamins to Increase Fertility
The decrease in female fertility begins at age 30 and gradually accelerates over the next several years. At age 40, the possibility of pregnancy is half that of younger women, and the incidence of spontaneous miscarriage is doubled or tripled. For this reason, the sooner you start trying to get pregnant, the greater your chances. However, there are things you can do to promote your reproductive health, no matter your age. Your diet is a key factor both to achieve pregnancy and to maintain its proper development throughout the 40-week term. You must eat a healthy, varied, and balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and moderate in fats of animal origin. With a balanced diet and vitamins to increase fertility, your chances of conception will improve.
The proportion of nutrients and vitamins to increase fertility are as follows:
- Carbohydrates. These are the main source of energy, representing 55-60% of the total caloric intake. Only 10% should be simple or fast absorption carbohydrates (sugars), the rest should be complex or slowly absorbed, such as the starches found in cereals, legumes, and tubers.
- Proteins. These should represent 12-15% of total calories. Proteins of animal origin ensure the inclusion of all essential amino acids.
- Fats. These should represent 30-35% of the daily intake (<10% saturated fats, 15-20% monounsaturated fats, and 5% polyunsaturated fats). Foods rich in high-quality fats such as olive oil, nuts, or bluefish are recommended.
The Elements of a Balanced Diet
A healthy diet for adults according to the World Health Organization includes the following:
- Fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains.
- At least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
- Less than 10% of total energy intake from free sugars. Free sugars are all sugars the manufacturer, cook or consumer add to food and drink, as well as sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
- Less than 30% of total energy intake from fats. Unsaturated fats (found in fish, avocado and nuts) are preferable to saturated fats (found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cheese and lard) and trans-fats of all kinds (found in baked and fried foods, and pre-packaged snacks and foods).
- Less than 5 g of salt (equivalent to about one teaspoon) per day.
Physical Exercise and Weight
Your weight influences your chances of conception. If you have a normal weight with respect to your height (BMI 18.5-24.9), you are more likely to have good health, and your chance of getting pregnant is greater. If your weight is too high (or too low), your chances of getting pregnant decrease.
For instance, obesity (BMI> 30) has a negative influence at the time of conception. Excess weight implies excess body fat, which is stored in the body’s adipose cells. These cells produce estrogen, which is normal and necessary for the functioning of the menstrual cycle – but too much estrogen interferes with the cycle. In addition, it increases the possibility of developing endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. Too low a weight (BMI <18.5) often leads to a low level of estrogen, irregular menstrual cycles, or even the absence of menstruation.
Physical exercise has many health benefits among which are: Weight control, blood sugar level regulation, reduced risk of heart disease, improved mental health, and mood, improved sleep, stronger bones, and muscles, etc. The WHO recommends a total of 150 minutes of physical activity per week divided into several brief sessions: e.g. 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 times per week. The best cardiovascular exercises are walking, dancing, and swimming. To achieve positive effects for muscle tone and flexibility, experts recommend yoga, stretching, and low-impact exercises with weights.