Nourishing the body is an important part of self-care, both physically and emotionally. Nutrition is much bigger than one meal, one day or one week of eating. Your relationship with food and your body contributes to your overall health and is an important part of fertility. Chaotic eating patterns, feelings of guilt and/or shame around food and extreme exercise all negatively affect your well-being. Eating intuitively uses interoceptive awareness to work toward food peace and body respect.
Intuitive Eating is a process of listening to the body’s cues for hunger, fullness, and satisfaction. It is not a “throw in the towel” approach, but a journey toward discovering your body’s communication signals. Deciphering physical hunger from emotional hunger and understanding how stress and emotion impact your food decisions is key to connecting with what your body really needs.
Adequate sleep, movement or activity that you enjoy, managing stress and eating a variety of foods and food groups are all healthy behaviors that may improve your chances to conceive. Although not likely to be the next internet diet sensation, moderation and balance really are the secret sauce!
Allowing yourself to savor and appreciate taste and texture as well as notice other visual aspects of the meal bring pleasure and can help to create a calm environment. This important step of mindfulness may improve digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Food is a gift and meant to be enjoyed, nourishing both body and soul. One of the wonderful aspects of Intuitive Eating is that it can be applied during all stages of life including before, during and after pregnancy for both women and men. In addition, these skills can be used with diagnoses such as PCOS and diabetes and to teach children to become competent eaters.
Nutrition tips to enhance fertility:
- Aim to increase vegetable intake (spinach, collards, asparagus, red peppers, cabbage)
- Incorporate monounsaturated fats (such as avocado and olive oil) and decrease trans fats
- Focus on fiber-rich whole grains (oats, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, whole wheat)
- Enjoy fruits (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pineapple, plums)
- Add nuts and seeds (walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
- Include vegetarian sources of protein (beans, eggs, lentils, dairy, peas)
If you would like to learn more about Intuitive Eating and developing a healthy relationship with food, please visit us online at nutrifocusonline.com. You may also check out IntuitiveEating.org to review the literature and research.
Amy Liscomb, RDN, LD Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor