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Healthy eggs in a woman’s ovaries determine the regularity of her menstrual cycle, fertility in the future, and her ability to conceive. How does a woman ensure that her eggs are healthy? There is a wide variety of factors that influence the quality and health of the eggs produced. Simple lifestyle changes, planned nutrition and a healthy diet could improve the quality of the eggs and also increase the 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 affects your chances of fertilisation or implantation and also determines your chances of getting pregnant. Egg cells are believed to not regenerate, though women produce eggs throughout their reproductive years. It was earlier believed that a woman is born with all of her eggs and the body does not produce more. However, recent research has proved that the stem cells in ovaries are capable of producing more eggs during a woman’s reproductive years; age does have an impact on the quality of eggs. The ovaries house the eggs; as you grow older, the ovaries are unable to provide a viable and optimal housing scenario for the eggs to sustain themselves. It takes a 90-day cycle for an egg to prepare for ovulation. Before it reaches full maturation, it is affected by factors related to health and other factors.
Fertility Diet to Improve Egg Quality in Ovaries
Trying to conceive? Sticking to a healthy and balanced diet will improve your fertility. Here is a list of some tasty foods that will boost the health of your ovaries and eggs.
A superfood, the high fat content in avocados helps in improving 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 used in sandwiches, salads or even made into a dip or a spread.
2. Beans and lentils
The lack of iron in your body can lead to problems with 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 them as is.
Berries have strong antioxidant properties that protect eggs from free radicals and 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 them to your salad, curries or even make smoothies out of them to fulfill your daily requirement.
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 ways 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 as well.
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 consumed in either powder or capsule form. Maca root powder can be added to smoothies or even used to make chocolate truffles.
Another super spice, cinnamon is known to improve the ovary function and encourage proper egg production by stimulating insulin resistance. Women diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian 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 a food, but water is an essential ingredient for egg health as well. 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 eggs produced in your body, especially if you have crossed the age of 35. There is a substantial lot that you can do to improve the quality of eggs – from vitamin supplements to herbal concoctions and lifestyle changes, there are several prescribed ways to improve reproductive health. Simple changes to your lifestyle could have a tremendous impact on yourability to get pregnant. 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 in order to get pregnant:
1. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes
Cigarettes have never been great for health; they accelerate the loss of egg in ovaries. Chemicals in cigarettes mutate the DNA in the egg, making it useless for conception. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and does not increase your chances of getting pregnant. In addition to lowering your sex drive, it affects the menstrual cycle and the quality of your eggs.
2. Manage stress
Stress induces the production of hormones like cortisol and prolactin that can hamper ovulation and egg production. Try to stress less and focus your energy on positive thoughts and activities like swimming, walking, dancing and yoga. Make a change to your lifestyle to reduce any stress that you might have.
3. Maintain a 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 them 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. Maintain healthy blood circulation
A healthy circulation of blood to the reproductive organs is needed for the ovaries to function well; 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 – the lotus pose, child pose, reclining hero and seated forward bend are some kind of exercises in yoga that boost 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 gynaecologist 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. Fertility massage
An abdominal massage is at type of one of the best therapy that increases the blood flow to the uterus and ovaries, thus increasing the flow of freshly oxygenated blood and removing old, stagnant blood. Find a therapist who specialises in fertility massages and get yourself a massage starting the day after the end of your period, and continue it through the month. It is recommended that you get at least four massages a week.
8. Freeze your eggs
Some women may want to put their career first and have children later. However, having children at a later date can be difficult later in life. Hence, if you have plans to delay your conception, 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 adverse effects to one’s ability to conceive, but frozen eggs defy the biological clock and cryopreserved eggs boost your chances of getting pregnant in the future.
This is an ancient technique that has benefitted the Chinese 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 are well-known, and patients who are undergoing IVF often go for acupuncture sessions. It is known to reduce stress, thereby stimulating the healthy production of eggs.
10. Eat a Bigger Breakfast
This one in particular is for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – a study suggests that eating a chunk of your daily calorie intake during breakfast can help reduce testosterone and insulin levels, keeping your condition in check. High levels of insulin and testosterone are known to be a hindrance for women with PCOS, especially in the case of fertility. So, make sure you include a whole bunch of nutrients in your breakfast. Eat complex carbohydrates like whole wheat, ragi, oats, etc., and add in a lot of good fats and protein to your meal. That will help control your insulin levels, keep you full for longer, and boost fertility.
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 of getting 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.