What are the best foods for fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Traditional cultures have learnt and passed on for generations over thousands of years that certain foods can increase fertility and even produce healthier and stronger offspring.
That is why many of these cultures still have sacred fertility foods they feed to mothers-to-be and even fathers-to-be. These include nutrient dense foods like liver, bone marrow, egg yolks and a variety of other animal fats.
For example, the Masai tribe in Africa only allowed couples to marry and become pregnant after spending several months drinking milk in the wet season when the grass is lush and the nutrient content of the milk is especially high.
That being said, here are five nutrient dense superfoods for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Liver. Pound for pound, liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Loaded with fat soluble vitamins like retinol (pre-formed vitamin A) that are crucial for reproductive health, and difficult to obtain elsewhere in the diet. Liver is also a great source of highly absorbable iron, which helps prevent miscarriage and maternal anemia, along with B12, which is required for proper formation of red blood cells and DNA. Liver is also a good source of bioavailable protein, zinc, and folate.
- Egg Yolks. Similar to liver, egg yolks could be considered “nature’s multivitamin”. But they are especially rich in one nutrient in particular that many people have never heard of before – Choline. Choline has been shown to help protect against neural tube defects. It also plays an important role in brain development, helping to form neurons and the connections between these neurons that are critical in the first few years of life.
- Cold-water fatty fish. Seafood is basically the exclusive food source of the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. DHA is particularly important for fertility and pregnancy. It is preferentially incorporated into the rapidly developing brain during pregnancy and the first two years of infancy, concentrating in the grey matter and eyes.
- Cod Liver Oil. Cod liver oil is a sacred fertility and pregnancy food that fell out of favor during the last couple of generations. It’s one of the highest dietary sources of vitamin A and has more vitamin D per unit of weight than any other food. Vitamin D is crucial for fertility and pregnancy. Vitamin D promotes proper development of the bones, especially during the 3rd trimester when the fetal skeleton begins to grow rapidly. Cod liver oil is also a good source of the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA.
- Grass-fed diary (if tolerated). Dairy is rich in saturated fat, which is especially beneficial for fertility. It’s also a good source of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, K2 & E) and a healthy, natural trans-fat (not to be confused with artificial trans-fats, which are harmful) Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). Fermented dairy products – like yogurt and kefir – are also great sources of beneficial bacteria. This is important because a baby’s first exposure to bacteria is in his/her mother’s birth canal, and the mother’s gut health has a significant influence on the lifelong health of her baby.