If you’re dealing with infertility, chances are good that you’ve paid a visit (or two or three) to Dr. Google to see if there is anything you could do to improve your odds of getting – and staying – pregnant. But let’s face it: the internet is filled with endless tips on how to improve egg quality: everything from eating clean to avoiding processed foods to staying away from chemicals in your hair products, make-up, cleaning supplies, and nail polish. Not to mention a laundry list of supplements you should be taking. Needless to say, it can feel like a lot.
If this sounds familiar, and you are thinking you need to throw out everything in your house and start over, hold that thought. Instead of completely overhauling your lifestyle, there are simple things you can do to improve your fertility without feeling like you can’t enjoy a latte, slice of pizza, cocktail, or your favorite ice cream.
Foods for Better Egg Quality
Here are 5 simple lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your egg quality and overall fertility:
1. Add more fruits and vegetables to your daily routine.
Try adding fresh peppers and onions to eggs for breakfast. Throw a handful of spinach into a smoothie. Enjoy a fruit salad for a snack. Add a side salad to your lunch with a fun dressing. Make grilled zucchini or another green vegetable as a side dish for dinner.
Think outside of the box and make it fun! Buy new fruits and vegetables that you haven’t tried before, and come up with new ways to cook or flavor them. Infertility is hard enough – the most important thing is that you enjoy what you’re eating.
2. Include more healthy fats in your diet.
Fat is essential for hormone development. In fact, it's one of the main building blocks! Your hormones play an important role in your egg quality over time, so it's important to support them by eating enough healthy fats.
Try a combination of plant and animal fats throughout your day to get a good variety of nutrients from fat. Cook with olive or avocado oils. Add avocado to your eggs, or make a guacamole dip for tortilla chips. Top sandwiches, salads, or veggies with cheese. And try full-fat yogurt as a snack! These are all small additions you can make to your diet to ensure that you are getting the healthy fats you need for optimal hormone health.
3. Have protein with most meals and snacks.
Pairing a carbohydrate and a protein together helps to promote stable blood sugar. This helps keep your hormones in check, too, which means better egg quality. It's as simple as having cheese with crackers, peanut butter with an apple, or hummus with veggies. Not only will it help your blood sugar, it will also help to fill you up and keep you full longer – a win-win!
4. Take supplements that work for you and your body.
There is a laundry list of supplements out there for egg quality, but I'm here to tell you that buying and taking all of them isn’t the right answer. You can actually overdo it with supplements.
Most of the supplements recommended for egg quality contain large doses of antioxidants, which you can get from eating fruits and vegetables! If you want to add in an extra boost, start with vitamins E and C, and go from there.
5. Above all, do what feels good to you.
A difficult fertility journey can be a slippery slope between feeling like you have some control through diet and exercise and feeling incredibly overwhelmed by all of the things you feel like you should be doing to get (and stay) pregnant. Ultimately, you know yourself best, so above all else, make sure you are eating and moving your body in a way that feels good to you, and not only based on what you read on Dr. Google.
As always, consult with your doctor before making any lifestyle changes, and if you are struggling to really trust your body and know what is best for you, don’t hesitate to get support. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone.
Susan Portz is a Registered Dietitian based in Wisconsin where she lives with her husband, dog, and cat. She is still on her journey to motherhood and is passionate about helping women break free from the fertility diet culture. You can connect with Susan on Instagram @freedom.fertility.