Diet and Lifestyle Advice FAQ

What is diet and lifestyle advice for couples trying to conceive?

Please read the following table

What is a fertility diet? How strictly should we follow a fertility diet to improve our sperm and egg quality?

In our opinion, the common-sense approach is the best. There are some distinct food items such as trans fats, processed foods and canned food, which are not suitable for general health as well as for fertility. On the other hand, green leafy vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and micronutrients. Antioxidants are the substances that cleanse our body from stress-related damaging chemicals. Vitamins, antioxidants and micronutrients such as selenium, zinc is suitable for cell functions. Similarly, they are good for sperms and eggs. You do not need to follow a strict fertility diet plan, which may be counterproductive by adding undue stress in your busy life! Think of wide variations in dietary practices all over the world, but every country has a fertile population. The common-sense approach and gentle change in daily lifestyle help most of the couples. There is no need to follow a strict diet plan if your height to weight ratio (BMI) is in the normal range.

What should I eat to boost the sperm count? What are the best ways to increase sperm count?

Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene. It is an antioxidant believed to improve sperm motility, structure, and activity. You can also add olive oil to cooked or processed tomatoes in enhancing the absorption of the antioxidant. Walnuts are rich in omega-three fatty acids. All kinds of berries, including blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, and blackberries, contain potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidants quercetin and resveratrol. Pomegranates may improve the testosterone levels and sperm quality and increase sex drive. Ginseng, Also known as Ashwagandha, it is an aphrodisiac root used in traditional medicinal practices. Other useful food items are, citrus fruits, whole wheat and grains, most fish, especially wild salmon, cod, and haddock, most shellfish, especially oysters, vitamin D, dark chocolate, garlic, bananas, broccoli, turmeric, asparagus, most leafy greens, especially spinach and kale, fermented nuts and seeds.

What food items are not suitable for sperm count?

1. Processed meats/ food, Trans fats, Soy products 2. Pesticides and bisphenol which act as xenoestrogens—chemicals that mimic estrogen (pesticides could be present on fruits and vegetables, and BPA is used in food packaging and cans) 3. High-fat dairy products may cause reduced motility and abnormal shape of sperms


Why should I take folic acid before pregnancy?

Folic acid is a vitamin (B9). It is present in certain foods, and you can take it as tablets. If you're planning to have a baby, you must take folic acid tablets for three months before you conceive. It allows it to build up in your body to a level that gives the most protection to your future baby against birth defects such as neural tube defects, spina bifida. You can also try to eat more foods that contain folate, which is the natural form of folic acid. But diet alone does not have enough folic acid for pregnancy.

How much Folic acid should I take?

Most women are advised to take a 400mcg supplement every day. You can get these from most pharmacies, supermarkets, and health food shops. You can also get folic acid in some pregnancy multivitamin tablets. If you do, make sure the tablet does not contain vitamin A. High doses of vitamin A can cause developmental problems in the first three months of pregnancy.

Which food has folic acid?

You can eat more foods that contain folate, which is the natural form of folic acid. But diet alone does not have enough folic acid for pregnancy. You should take folic acid tablets. The foods that contain folate include: · broccoli · brussels sprouts · spinach · asparagus · peas · chickpeas · fortified breakfast cereals.

Why some people need a higher dose of folic acid?

If you have a higher risk of having a pregnancy affected by neural tube defects, you will be advised to take a higher dose of 5mg folic acid. You may have a higher risk if: • You have diabetes • You or your partner have a neural tube defect • You have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect • You or your partner have a family history of neural tube defects • You have epilepsy • You are a heavy drinker. To get a higher dose to talk to your doctor because 5mg tablets aren’t available without a prescription.

What should I do, if I am already pregnant and I have not taken folic acid?

Don't worry, the risk of problems is minimal. Start taking folic acid now and until week 12 if you have not reached it yet. You don't need to take after 12 weeks folic acid (though it is not harmful) as the neural tube will have fully developed. You can talk to your GP or midwife if you have any concerns.