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For a woman, healthy eggs in her ovaries determine the regularity of the menstrual cycle, fertility in future and ability to conceive. A question that may be crossing your mind right now is, “So how does a woman ensure that her eggs are healthy?”. There is no one answer for this as there are a wide variety of factors that influence the quality of the egg produced and also its health. Simple lifestyle changes, planned nutrition and a healthy diet, could improve quality of the egg and also increase chances of getting pregnant. Several factors determine the impact of the ovaries and eggs produced. Healthy fertility is based on environmental factors, hormones, stress, healthy menstrual cycle, circulation and diet.
Why is Egg Quality Important?
A cornerstone of healthy fertility, the health of your eggs affect your chances of fertilization or implantation and also determine your chances of getting pregnant. Egg cells are believed to not regenerate although women produce eggs throughout the reproductive years. It was earlier believed that a woman is born with all of her eggs and the body does not continue to produce more. However, research has proved that stem cells in ovaries are capable of producing more eggs during the reproductive years of a woman. Age does have an impact on the quality of eggs. The ovaries house the eggs; as you grow older the ovaries don’t provide a viable and optimal housing scenario for the eggs to sustain themselves. You can have a healthy ovary with diet, supplements and increased blood circulation to the reproductive system.
It takes a 90-day cycle for an egg to prepare for ovulation. Before it reaches full maturation, it is affected by both healthy and unhealthy factors.
1. Blood flow and proper oxygenation
A decrease in blood flow due to lack of exercise, dehydration and thickness of blood could deprive oxygen-rich blood flow essential for good egg health and healthy ovaries. Not drinking enough water could hamper the blood flow to the reproductive system. Drink water every day. Follow an exercise routine that consists of walking, running or yoga to stimulate circulation of fresh blood to the cells in the ovaries and uterus.
2. Fertility Massage
An abdominal massage is one of the best therapies that increase the blood flow to the uterus and ovaries increasing the flow of freshly oxygenated blood removing the old stagnant blood. Find a therapist who specializes in fertility massages starting the day after your period has ended and continued all month long. It is recommended to have at least four massages a week.
3. The balance of hormones
Stress, improper diet and other lifestyle illnesses cause an imbalance in the hormones. This causes the eggs to be unresponsive, fertility cycle thrown out of gear and ovulation does not occur. Try to take less stress and have a healthy diet to ensure hormonal balance and a nourished endocrine system when trying to get pregnant.
4. Nutritional diet
A diet rich in folic acid will support the ovaries and also produce healthy eggs. Make sure to include leafy vegetables, dairy products and fish in your diet to support egg health.
Fertility Diet to Improve Egg Quality
Trying to conceive? Then stick to a healthy and balanced diet that will improve your fertility. Here is a list of some tasty food to boost the health of your ovaries and eggs.
A superfood, the high-fat content in the fruit helps in egg health. Avocados are high in monosaturated fats ( a good fat needed by the body) which help in maintaining good reproductive health. They can be tossed in sandwiches, salads or even made into a dip or a spread.
2. Beans and Lentils
Lack of iron in your body can lead to lack of ovulation. Beans and lentils are a rich source of iron and other vitamins and minerals vital for fertility. It is important to include one portion of beans and lentils in your diet every day. Include lentils in your dal, rice dishes, salads or even stews and casseroles.
3. Nuts and dry fruits
Dried fruits and nuts are a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Brazil nuts, especially, are high in selenium, a mineral that abates chromosomal damage in eggs. Selenium is an antioxidant that keeps the free radicals at bay and allows better egg production. Top your salad with some brazil nuts or simply have a handful for your breakfast or as a snack.
4. Sesame seeds
These seeds are high in zinc and help with the production of hormones responsible for optimum egg health. Sesame seeds are rich in monosaturated fats. Help yourself to some seeds from a jar of mixed seeds and nuts. Hummus contains tahini (sesame seed paste), so including hummus in your diet is a great way to boost egg health. Sesame seeds can be also be added to cereals and salads if you do not want to eat it alone.
Berries are strong antioxidants that protect eggs from free radicals. They are superfoods which offer protection against a number of conditions. They can be had on their own or whipped into a smoothie or fruit salad. It is advised to eat at least three portions of berries every week.
6. Green leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale, and other leafy vegetables are high in folate, iron, manganese, calcium and Vitamin A. Include at least two portions of green vegetables in your diet every day. Add it to your salad, curries or even make it into a smoothie to fulfill your daily requirement intake.
Another superfood, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that increase blood circulation and promote healthy digestion. This helps to alleviate any discomfort in the reproductive system, regularise healthy cycles and reduce inflammation of the reproductive organs. One of the best way to include ginger in your diet is to drink some ginger infused tea. An important ingredient in Asian food, ginger can be added to your salads or curries.
8. Maca root
A root which is a wondrous herb contains 31 different minerals and 60 phytonutrients. Used widely by tribes in the Andes, it is believed to increase sperm and egg health. It stabilizes the hormonal imbalance and also increases libido. The product can be bought as a powder or in a capsule. Maca root powder can be added to smoothies or even used to make chocolate truffles.
Another super spice, it is known to improve the function of the ovaries and encourage proper egg production by stimulating insulin resistance. Women diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are advised to add cinnamon to their diet. A quarter teaspoon of cinnamon consumed on an everyday basis either in curries, cereals or even raw could do wonders for your reproductive health. Try topping your toast with some cinnamon powder for a tasty breakfast.
Not technically food, water is an essential ingredient for egg health. Aim at drinking 8 glasses of water a day. Stick to purified water and avoid drinking water from plastic bottles. Chemicals from the plastic bottles could have a negative impact on the health of the eggs produced.
Other Ways to Improve Female Egg Health for Pregnancy
You might be concerned about the quality of egg produced in your body, especially, if you have passed the age of 35. There is a substantial lot that you can do to improve the quality of eggs your produce to help you get pregnant. From vitamin supplements to herbal concoctions to lifestyle changes, there are several prescribed ways to improve reproductive health. Simple changes to your lifestyle could have a tremendous impact on your reproductive health. It is the health of the ovaries and the quality of the eggs produced that determine the viability of a woman to get pregnant. Here is how you can improve egg quality during pregnancy.
1. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes
Cigarettes have never been great for health and even more accelerate the loss of egg in ovaries. Chemicals in cigarettes mutate the DNA in the egg making it useless for conception. Alcohol can given the impression that it gives an increased libido. However, this is not true as it only lowers your inhibitions. In addition to reducing your sex drive, it also reduces the menstrual cycle and your egg quality.
2. Manage Stress
Stress induces production of hormones like cortisol and prolactin that can hamper ovulation and egg production. Try to take less stress and focus your energy on positive thoughts and activities like swimming, walking, dancing and yoga. Look at your lifestyle and make a change to reduce any stress that is involved.
3. Healthy diet
A natural remedy for good egg health in females is a diet loaded with leafy vegetables, fish, nuts and fresh fruits to help your eggs stay healthy and boost fertility. Stay away from fried food, processed food or meat and excess salt and sugar.
4. Achieve a healthy and normal Body Mass Index (BMI)
Obesity has found to hinder the reproductive process and increase oxidative stress.Excess fat in the body could lead to fertility issues as it alters the hormonal balance and disrupts ovulation. A woman should ideally have a Body Mass Index between 18.5- 24.9. For, e.g., a woman who is 5 feet 6 inches tall must weigh somewhere between 52 kg – 70 kg. Try to maintain a healthy weight by eating the right food and exercising.
5. Blood circulation
A healthy circulation of blood to the reproductive organs is needed for the ovaries to function well and oxygen-rich blood aids in the healthy production of eggs. Dehydration could decrease blood flow so drink sufficient water. Yoga is a very good exercise to increase blood circulation and the lotus pose, child pose, and reclining hero and seated forward bend are some kind of exercises in yoga that boosts fertility.
6. Take supplements
It is advisable to take vitamin supplements to boost fertility. Women who are trying to get pregnant are advised to take folic acid supplements before they get pregnant and even after. Apart from this, there are several other supplements that are recommended. It is advisable to visit your gynecologist to get an idea of the supplements that are best suited for you. Coenzyme Q10 is an oft-recommended supplement that acts as an antioxidant.
7. Freeze your eggs
This may seem like something for a science fiction movie, but this is something that is already taking place around the world. Some of you maybe adamant about putting your career first before having children. However, having children at a later date can be difficult later in life. Hence, if you have plans to delay your conception, then the best way to ensure that your fertility is intact is to freeze your eggs. There is no doubt that age does catch up on fertility and has its adverse effect causing a slight decline in your chances to conceive. But frozen eggs defy the biological clock and cryopreserved eggs boost your chances of getting pregnant in future.
This is an ancient technique that has benefitted the Chinese people for thousands of years. Once dismissed as pseudo-science, it has begun to gain acceptance in western medicine. Its benefits in helping to improve egg quality is well known and patients who are undergoing IVF go for acupuncture sessions. It is known to reduce stress thereby stimulating the healthy production of eggs.
Women need to have a healthy reproductive system to ensure that they can get pregnant without any problems. Fertility treatments in the recent past have given hope to several women who had lost all chances to get pregnant; it is important that a woman looks after the health of her eggs and her ovaries during her reproductive years. A woman has better chances of conceiving before the age of 35. It is recommended that women follow the tips given to improve the quality of eggs and increase fertility if they want to adopt motherhood.