With the holiday season right around the corner, those who are trying to conceive might feel pressured to maintain a fertility-conscious diet. The Laurel Fertility Care team wants to remind you that, while this time of year is associated with over-indulging, enjoying the holiday festivities— and especially the holiday food— can still be done with a few simple strategies!
Drinking in Moderation
There isn’t a specific amount of alcohol that is considered “safe” to consume during or before pregnancy. Our fertility specialists advise that anyone trying to conceive do their best to refrain from consuming it in excess. We recommend mixing up a holiday mocktail or sipping on sparkling fruit juice to avoid the dreaded, “Why aren’t you drinking?” question.
We believe that your mental health and well-being is one of the most important parts of this journey. With that being said, if you do choose to drink during the holiday season, do so in moderation and don’t dwell on your decision or stress yourself out about it! Having a festive drink at dinner or a glass of wine to avoid prying questions from family members is likely not be detrimental to your chances of conceiving.
Our general recommendation to refrain from over-indulging is based on studies that have shown how acute alcohol consumption can affect liver function, which plays a crucial role in hormone levels and can increase estradiol, testosterone and LH.
Caffeine has also been known to affect hormone health and conception. We recommend keeping your daily caffeine intake below 200 mg— the average 8 ounce cup of coffee has around 100 mg of caffeine, but different types of coffee vary.
Our favorite tip for holiday dinners is to enjoy a couple of small portions of your favorite dishes. This is a great, non-restrictive approach to mealtime. Instead of falling into an all-or-nothing mindset, allow yourself to taste small servings of festive foods like a holiday pie, marshmallow-topped yams. Fill the rest of your plate with average portions of fertility-friendly options and soak in the holiday season.
Your mindset and wellbeing are of the utmost importance, so enjoy the festivities and savor each bite!
Fill Your Plate with Fertility-Boosting Foods
Making healthy food choices can help regulate your stress levels and provide some control during a busy time of the when things can start to feel overwhelming. The good news is that there’s probably more fertility-boosting foods at the holiday dinner table than you realize!
Another helpful tip is to cook foods from the list below at home and bring your dish to dinner for everyone to enjoy with you. This helps ensure that you’ll have healthy options available no matter what else is on the menu!
- Pumpkin and butternut squash are both fall staples loaded with beta carotene, antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E and many other important nutrients.
- Spinach, leafy greens like kale or arugula, and asparagus are all greens that you might find in a salad or as a side dish. All are rich in folate, which supports health cell division and is an essential for the development of red blood cells.
- Cranberries and other berries like strawberries and blueberries are considered a fertility superfood and a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Be mindful about added sugars in berry pies or canned cranberry sauces. We recommend baking your own berry-filled holiday desserts with natural sugars or making your own cranberry sauce at home to avoid unnecessary added sugars.
- Beans and lentils are often served as side dishes, and they’re packed with protein, iron and folate— all nutrients thatcan improve ovulation and aid with conception and healthy embryo development.