Guest post: what to eat when trying to get pregnant

We’ve teamed up with Nutritional Therapist, Charlotte Watts, to make it easy for new parents and parents-to-be to shop for nutritious food and drink.

Charlotte Watts Nutritional Therapist on foods for fertility

She’s helped us come up with special aisles full of tips and healthy produce. And now, in a series of blogs, Charlotte gives her advice for what to eat at each stage.

First up, getting pregnant…Nutrition for getting pregnantPreparing for a healthy pregnancy is a great run-up to the care needed during pregnancy and beyond. The focus is on increasing the nutrients needed for egg health for the woman and healthy sperm production for the man – but we should also think about lowering any factors that cause damage.

This is important for the health of the mother-to-be’s womb, but is also important for men, whose sperm production is affected by dietary patterns over the previous three months or so.

Vitamins A and C and other antioxidants found in a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, garlic, green tea and the odd bit of dark chocolate protect against harm from chemicals and pollutants. The more varied the colours of your fruit and veg, the better the spread of protective factors, so include berries, carrots, beetroot and dark green leaves as often as possible.

Image of Carrot and Beetroot Salad

This Carrot and Beetroot Salad features garlic and crunchy seeds – add steamed and chopped spinach, kale or Brussels sprouts to increase the nutrient content even further

Zinc is needed for fertilisation, and folate levels need to be high before conception for the best health of your baby. B vitamins are crucial for energy in cells for growth and development, and folic acid is known as a key conception B vitamin. The following foods offer combinations of these, plus the other nutrients they work with.

Key foods for fertility

The good dietary protein and omega-3 oils found in oily fish like sardines, trout, Young’s Scottish Smokehouse Organic Smoked Salmon and Ocado Plain Smoked Mackerel have been shown to be necessary for conception.

Eggs like Stonegate Organic Large Eggs are a perfect fertility package, containing the best sources of protein to support both egg and sperm health, as well as healthy fats including omega-3 oils and B vitamins for fertility hormones. They provide some folic acid, so when eaten alongside plenty of green leafy veg help optimise levels alongside a supplement of 400mcg a day.

Image of Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon recipe

Add a handful of wilted spinach to this classic Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon recipe for a nutrient boost at breakfast

Seeds and nuts make great snacks to replace damaging sugars. They contain lots of Vitamin E, whose chemical name tocopherol comes from the Greek ‘tokos‘ (offspring) and ‘pherein‘ (to bear or to carry) – its importance for pregnancy was discovered in the 19th Century.

Pumpkin seeds have particularly high levels of zinc and with walnuts and linseed, the best omega-3 oil levels. Try Clearspring Organic Tamari Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Crazy Jack Organic Walnut Pieces and Linwoods Milled Flaxseed Almonds Brazil & Q10.

All of the cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, pak choi and kale – contain sulphur-based chemicals called glucosinolates, which help rid the body of harmful substances like pollutants and toxic metals, as well as providing folic acid and Vitamin C.

Image of Poached Salmon Fillet recipe

This recipe for Poached Salmon Fillet with Lemongrass is made with broccoli and a delicious white tea broth

Meal ideas for a quick nutrient boost

  • Add Waitrose Love Life Fruit Nut & Seed Mix to your morning porridge, cereal or yoghurt for a protein boost.
  • For convenience, add extra greens to a prepared soup like Yorkshire Provender Chicken & Butternut Soup with Lentil & Cumin or Glorious! Skinny Goan Spiced Tomato & Lentil Soup by stirring in spinach leaves whilst heating.
  • Make an omelette with plenty of veg like leeks, red peppers and rocket.

Protecting sperm and egg health

Some foods are better than others – here’s what to avoid and what to swap…

  • Use organic butter and olive oil for cooking and dressings and avoid polyunsaturated oils like sunflower oil, as their fatty acids are easily damaged by heat.
  • Cut out overly cooked meats and charred barbecue food as burnt fats contain high levels of free radicals.
  • Choose meat, dairy and eggs from organic sources where possible. This is not just for their higher nutrient content, but also to avoid unwanted hormones. Also, choosing free-range helps provide a better healthy fat profile for fertility health.

Browse the Ocado Nutrition for Getting Pregnant aisle for all sorts of tasty produce to choose from.

Charlotte

3 thoughts on “Guest post: what to eat when trying to get pregnant

  1. Pingback: Guest post: What to eat when you’re pregnant | Ocado blog

  2. Pingback: Charlotte Watts: What to eat when you’re breastfeeding | Ocado blog

  3. Thank you for posting this info. I am trying to make sure that I stay as healthy as possible. I struggled with fertility issues for years. It was a hard road filled with doubt and self-loathing. All we wanted was a baby and we tried for years to have one. I tried every medical and old wives tale I could think of to try and get pregnant. I even slept on red sheets to promote fertility. It was starting to get crazy and I was overwhelmed. My husband found out about California Fertility Partners through a good friend. I was skeptical because I thought we had tried everything but I was wrong. My first IVF transfer at the clinic was successful and I am 5 months pregnant! Anyone who is struggling to get pregnant should check this clinic out. https://www.yelp.com/biz/california-fertility-partners-los-angeles

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