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Eat to make a baby

Infertility is one of the side effects of hectic lifestyle. Komal Taneja suggests 10 food groups for would-be parents.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2008 12:58 IST
Komal Taneja

A lifestyle plagued with junk food, little sleep, stress, self-medication and pollution has many adverse effects on your health. Some are obvious, some are not. Infertility is one of such side effects that is not obvious.



If you abuse your body, you interfere with the normal functioning of reproductive hormones namely follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinising hormone, oestrogen and testosterone. To counter these ill effects, you need to eat right.



Here are 10 food groups that can help.



Whole grains:

Oats, brown rice, whole wheat and dalia are complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (GI), which means they release sugar into the blood evenly, sustaining you for a longer period of time. They also have vitamin B complex and vitamin E, essential for cellular reproduction, hormonal balance and production of healthy ova and sperm.



Green leafy vegetables:

Spinach, broccoli, beans, asparagus, lettuce and drumsticks are excellent sources of folic acid. It is very important in balancing sperm production, keeping ova healthy and also helps to prevent neural tube defects during early pregnancy.



Organically grown fruits:

Citrus fruits like orange, lemon and grapefruit are rich in vitamin C, which boosts immunity. Organically grown fruits are devoid of pesticides, which allows antioxidants in these fruits to be effective.



Nuts and seeds:

Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, cashewnuts and different seeds like melon seeds, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds are rich in folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E and mono unsaturated fats—all essential for reproductive hormones.



Garlic:

This is a great source of selenium — a compound that enhances fertility and helps prevent cellular damage.



Full-fat dairy:

Women who eat at least one portion of full-fat dairy (curd, paneer , milk or lassi ) a day are less likely to suffer from fertility problems than those who are have only low-fat dairy. The calcium and phosphorus in dairy are required for the development and maintain the nervous system, bones and blood.



Oily fish:

Mackerel, sardines, salmon and prawns or shrimps are the best source or Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, important for regulating reproductive functioning. Flaxseed oil is a good option for these fatty acids if you don’t eat fish.



Eggs:

Zinc, present in eggs, is one of the best compounds for good sperm quality. It is also found in baked bean, nuts,whole grains and pumpkin seeds.



Chillies:

These spice things up by increasing the flow of blood around the body, ensuring that the reproductive system gets a healthy supply.



Honey:

Honey is incredibly rich in the minerals and amino acids that nourish the reproductive system and stimulate ovarian function.



Foods to avoid

Skip processed sugar and refined flour (sweets and junk food), since they provide no nutrition and push up your blood pressure. Too much sugar can also cause gestational diabetes, which results in larger babies.



Sugar can scupper your chances of conceiving by making you overweight.



(The writer has authored Recipes For The Kamasutra)