NORMAN — Q: My husband and I have decided to begin a family. Are there any diet changes I should make?
A: When it comes to reproduction, diet plays a key part. Not only your diet but your partner’s diet, as well.
One area that researchers agree upon with regard to fertility and health is body weight. Body weight extremes are not good for fertility, and being overweight can affect hormonal balance in both women and men. Being too light also can make it harder for women to get pregnant, as well as affect the size and strength of the sperm.
To get closer to achieving a healthy weight, as a couple you can:
· Get moving. Along with healthy eating, get moderate physical activity for about 30 minutes on most days of the week. Men — keep it moderate. Too much exercise may negatively affect sperm counts, and avoid testosterone supplements.
· Add in strength training to build muscle. Having more body fat than lean muscle mass is not good for fertility. (Body fat affects hormone balance.) Lift light weights or use resistance bands at least three times a week. This will help you build muscle and lose body fat.
· Make calories count. Keep weight within a healthy range, avoiding excess calories from added sugars in regular soda, sweets and baked goods.
· Balance calories and activities. Balance your overall calorie intake with the amount of calories you burn every day. It’s a step in the right direction for getting pregnant and staying healthy for life.
· Increase iron-rich foods. Other than red meat, foods high in iron include all types of beans, eggs, lentils, spinach, fortified cereals, long-grain enriched rice and whole grains. Add vitamin C from citrus fruits, bell peppers or berries to your meals to enhance iron absorption.