Till now you would have understood that our diet and lifestyle have a major role to play in the health problems we face. Fertility is not an exception to this rule.
What goes into your gut also has an impact on your reproductive system. All the systems in our body always work as a unit. From your sleep cycle to your small habits, everything impacts your health in its own way. If you think that your stress can’t affect your ovulation or that your unregulated sleep routine will not put your ovulation off track, then you might be mistaken. Hence, you must be careful with your diet and lifestyle choices to increase your chances of natural conception.
Ayurveda has specific do’s and don'ts for a healthy diet and lifestyle. Following these simple rules can ease the process of conceiving naturally while preventing a lot of lifestyle disorders.
Before we begin with the rules, it is important to mention that both husband and wife must follow them. Both partners have equal responsibility in the conception process. Not just the egg but even the sperm needs fortification. Poor diet and lifestyle can cause severe damage to the quality and potency of the sperm. It is a major cause of difficulties in conception. You must understand that the sperm doesn’t just need to reach the egg but also successfully fertilise it. It’s a long struggle that only potent sperm can win. The male partner needs to be healthy and fit to supply powerful sperm. A healthy lifestyle and diet can help both partners in this regard.
Eat Light Meals: Most of us eat in a distracting environment, usually while watching TV. This often leads to overeating. It doesn’t just fill us with unwanted calories but also slows our metabolism. We should always try to finish our meal before we feel full. 80% full is a good time to stop.
Consume Easy to Digest Food: This one is easy. The heavier you eat, the harder it will be for your system to process that food resulting in constipation or other digestive distress. If you are trying to conceive, eating easy-to-digest things is better. It helps in preventing the accumulation of Ama or metabolic waste.
Keep a Healthy Gap Between Meals and Bed: Never go to bed immediately after having a meal. Taking an unprocessed meal to bed can lead to several issues. It is better to eat early in the evening. Your last meal of the day must be finished 3-4 hours before bedtime. It helps in the proper digestion of the meal.
Eat Lots of Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables: Since our childhood, the lone advice that every individual gets is to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. They provide essential micronutrients with fibre and lots of antioxidants. Consuming seasonal fruits and vegetables help in improving the reproductive system. Even the negative impact on the reproductive organs from other sources can be countered by consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. Locally sourced fruits & vegetables are as per the seasonality and weather conditions of your region and usually prove to be more beneficial for health than expensive and exotic imported varieties.
Consume Lots of Fibre: Fibre in your diet is very important. It keeps your digestive system healthy and prevents diseases. The fibre in your food can also help in weight management. Fibre-rich food doesn’t cause excessive weight gain and helps you stay healthy. Eating whole grains, fruits and leafy vegetables can help you get adequate fibre.
Natural Proteins: It is a fact that your body requires a limited amount of protein daily to make up muscles and tissues. Our bodies can’t produce protein on their own from any source. Hence, it must be consumed only through food. However, you must not forget that protein is a hard-to-digest dietary component. To conceive naturally, you must focus on easy-t0-digest sources of natural proteins. Lentils, peas, beans, nuts and seeds are amazing natural protein sources. They are easily digestible and provide calcium and other essential micronutrients. Here, it is important to mention that many people focus a lot on non-vegetarian sources of protein like eggs, dairy, poultry and meat. If you are trying to conceive, it is advisable to reduce dairy & meat consumption as much as possible. Most of the dairy and meat we get is adulterated with antibiotics and synthetic hormones. Consuming these can prove to be detrimental for the system.
Milk and Milk Products: Unadulterated milk or A2 cow milk be consumed in reasonable quantities. However, most of us don’t have access to that. Most cows or cattle, in general, are given hormonal injections to boost milk production. This can be harmful for your health.
Ghee: The same is true even for Ghee or other cattle products. Ghee is healthy in smaller quantities if it hasn’t been prepared from the milk of hormone-injected cows or degraded by other means. Ghee or other milk products from unadulterated sources can be consumed in reasonable quantities.
Nuts: All nuts are good and must be consumed whenever possible. Women trying to conceive naturally must include black sesame seeds in their diet. It should be used in various preparations to help with timely ovulation.
Dates: You can include dates in your diet to fulfil your sweet requirements.
Pumpkin Seeds: These seeds can increase blood flow to the sexual organs and improve egg maturity, helping in natural conception.
Saffron: This is another golden herb mentioned in Ayurveda for natural conception. Consuming saffron can improve your conception chances.
Cumin: This is known to boost ovulation and purify the uterus. Women must increase the consumption of cumin if they are trying to conceive. Black cumin consumption is especially very beneficial in boosting fertility.
Turmeric: This is another easily available herb with wide application in Ayurveda. It can help in hormone balancing. You should consume turmeric daily.
Things to Avoid
Avoid White Sugar: You must refrain from using white sugar completely. If necessary, try to use healthier alternatives. If you have sugar cravings, try to compensate for that with sweet fruits.
No Artificial Sweeteners: Just avoid artificial sweeteners. As a rule of thumb, avoid anything that is artificial.
Banish Fast Food, Junk Food, Processed Food, and Anything with Added Preservatives: This effectively includes anything that comes in a packet. These things are usually unhealthy and packed with synthetic chemicals that can lower your fertility and harm your natural conception.
Avoid Refined Flour: Refined flours are unhealthy for your gut. They can clog your digestive tract and raise your blood sugar levels. You must avoid refined flours and consume whole grains.
Non-vegetarian: Most of the non-vegetarian items available in the market are riddled with harmful chemicals, antibiotics and synthetic hormones. It is best to consume non-vegetarian food from homegrown sources free of hormones and antibiotics.
Things to Do
Maintain a Healthy Sleep Cycle: Most women are unaware of the importance of the circadian rhythm. Our metabolic system wakes up to its full potential with the rising sun and dials down as the sun sets. That’s why we see a dip in our energies after sundown. Ideally, sleeping early at night and waking up at sunrise or even before that is desirable. It maintains healthy hormonal balance in our body. Timely sleep also regulates the level of stress hormones in the body. Effectively, it helps manage weight, stress, anxiety and blood sugar levels.
As you can see, many things depend on our sleep cycle. Unfortunately, most women don’t have a regular sleep cycle these days. An overload of responsibilities, work-life imbalance, relationship troubles and poor routine are just some of the things that can impair your sleep routine.
It is important to get into the habit of sleeping at regular times at night. If you find it difficult to sleep early at night, try to limit your blue light exposure. Reduce the time spent on your phone, TV, laptop and social media platforms. Increase your physical exercise time and you will soon find it easier to sleep. It’s better to not keep these electronic items in your bedroom as they can be very tempting and distract you from sleeping on time.
Another important thing is not to sleep during the day. It can cause hormonal imbalances and affect the natural health of your reproductive system.
Meal Cycle: Proper meal regulation is also equally important. Not just what you eat, but when you eat is also important. Therefore, you must pay great attention to your meal timings.
You must have a fixed gap between your meals. It allows your digestive system the required time to process the earlier meals. A fixed meal gap also ensures enough ‘Agni’ in your digestive tract to process the incoming meal. You must allow enough time for your digestive system to process the earlier meal properly.
Exercise: While you are trying to conceive, always avoid heavy exercises like lifting weights. You may not know when you conceive and lifting weights may cause harm to your pregnancy. Similarly, other strenuous exercises should also be avoided in this period.
Brisk walking for a minimum of 30 minutes is an amazing exercise for couples preparing to have a baby.
Exercises should be kept for the morning. In the morning, the ‘Kapha’ element in your body is dominant and can be addressed with exercise. It is better to avoid exercise in the evening.
The most important thing is to maintain a routine. Always exercise at the same time. Eat at fixed intervals. Go to sleep at fixed timings and try to wake up at regular timings. Following a routine helps the body get at ease. It has fewer things to worry about and can focus on conception.
Effective Stress Management: Stress is a part and parcel of our lives. But we must learn to manage it carefully and skillfully. We should start by trying to develop a work-life balance. Setting boundaries between our personal and professional lives is a good starting point.
There are several stress-busting methods like yoga, meditation and walking that can help in lowering stress levels. Focusing on things that bring joy like a hobby or a book can also help us manage stress in a healthy manner.
Things to Avoid
Never Sleep in the Day: That’s a habit that will accumulate toxins and cause ovulation issues. It must be avoided.
Tobacco: It must be avoided by both partners. Even secondhand smoke is equally dangerous.
Alcohol: Again, both partners must stay away from alcohol as it affects your fertility potential.
Caffeine: Caffeine can be unhealthy if consumed a lot. You must stop yourself from consuming more than 2 cups of coffee daily.
Mental Stress: Stress, anxiety and depression are some mental factors that can deteriorate egg quality, ovulation and even implantation. Having a positive frame of mind and good mental health are important for those trying to conceive. Destressing activities can be of immense help.
Exposure to Drugs: Certain drugs can lower the chances of natural conception. Antibiotics, hormonal pills and preservative chemicals are top among them. Women trying to conceive must remain careful of their exposure levels.