If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, you’re probably all too familiar with the constant questions about what you’re going to do should you get pregnant. Will you be putting your child on a vegan diet?
These questions tend to be asked with a lot of prejudice, and regardless of how you answer you already know that it will somehow come across as bad.
So how do you explain to people that fried chicken and industrial cheese is less healthy for a baby than a diet consisting of a wide range of nutrition from plants?
But vegetarians and vegans also need to be following a diverse diet, something that’s even more important when you’re sharing your food with the child growing inside of you.
A poor diet can contribute significantly to a woman’s chances of getting pregnant as can a balanced diet contribute to increased fertility.
1. How Can Vegans Boost Fertility Through Food?
First of all, most of the nutrition vegans and vegetarians require applies to both genders, but there are some differences we need to be aware of. Zinc is a crucial mineral for both genders. It’s found in avocados, blackberries, raspberries, asparagus, brussel sprouts, brown rice, whole wheat, oat, rye, green leaves like spinach and basil, peanuts, and pumpkin and sesame seeds.
So there’s a lot of food options to choose when it comes to zinc. For that matter, you could always just put some or all of the above foods together to make a tasty green salad.
2. How Can Vegans Increase Their Chances Of Conception?
- Zinc is important because it balances female hormones. It’s also necessary to ensure the development of the egg, as a lack of zinc can lead to a low birth weight, and in worst cases, miscarriages. Men need zinc as well because a deficit reduces the sperm count in semen to levels associated with infertility.
- In the preconception period, it’s important to build up your level of folic acid and maintain it over the first month after conception. Folic acid is found in berries, mango, pineapple, avocado, green leaves, cauliflower, asparagus, beans, soy and sunflower seeds. Vegan men need folic acid in order to produce quality sperm, as the lack of this essential acid can cause sperm to have too many or too few chromosomes, leading to birth defects and miscarriages.
- When body fat is too low, a woman’s body quickly becomes infertile. The first sign that a lack of body fat is creating infertility is an irregular menstruation cycle, which eventually leads to no menstruation at all. Before this happens, women can have periods without ovulating.
- Omega 3 helps with the production of sperm and male hormones, as does eating garlic, which contains selenium and antioxidants that lead to strong, healthy sperm. B vitamins are also beneficial for blood circulation and the heart. Vitamin E is another type of fat that when combined with vitamin C prevents semen from clumping together, something, which often happens to smokers.
- Protein is crucial for the production of eggs and hormones. This is particularly important for vegans. While there are other nutrients that help couples conceive, the ones mentioned above are even more crucial for vegans.
3. How Can Vegetarians Boost Fertility?
While vegetarians also need all of the nutrients mentioned above, they tend to have values that are a little higher than those of vegans, although this varies. All women tend to lack iron, whether they’re carnivores, vegetarians, or vegans.
- Vitamin D is necessary for both mother and fetus, but a vegetarian who eats fish doesn’t need to be concerned about it. For those who don’t eat fish, sunlight is an equally good source.
- Vegetarians can boost their fertility by focusing on fat and protein. Eggs can be eaten even up to two times a day. Fish is also a good source of fat and protein, but because of toxicity levels, it’s not recommended consume it more than twice a week. When possible, processed dairy products such as cheese should be avoided as well.
4. Are Plant-based Diets Better For People Trying To Conceive?
Yes, fertility can be improved through eating a vegan or vegetarian diet that has an emphasis on iron, protein, and fat. Meat, fish, and cheese contain toxins that can be harmful to pregnancies whereas a balanced and diverse plant-based diet increases the chances of conception.
Health authorities recommend avoiding raw meat, eggs, and tuna because of high levels of mercury. The risks of a vegetarian or vegan diet can be a lack of protein, fat, and iron – although all three are easy enough to come by in plants.
5. Foods To Avoid
Another thing non-meat eaters should be aware of is avoiding white rice due to the naturally occurring toxin arsenic found in it. Eating soy products can be another risk factor for those prone to thyroid insufficiency.