How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant with 5 Nutrient-Dense Foods [Episode #830]
This week’s topic is: How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant with 5 Nutrient-Dense Foods
This show is for you if you are thinking about conceiving in the near term or if you are thinking about conceiving in the long term, because I do believe that knowledge is power. And we want to be aware of all these important factors which can really help us with our family planning and our life goals.
This is also an interesting topic if you are not wanting to conceive necessarily, however, when you think about what fertility and conception entail, it’s really our body being in this peak position and peak nutrition. And these five nutrient dense foods are still great for everybody across the board.
Kimberly, I’ve been trying to get pregnant since last year and I’m feeling defeated. I hear you have an upcoming pregnancy course coming and am wondering if you can share any helpful tips on how I can improve my chances?
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Kimberly: 00:01 Namaste loves and welcome back to our Thursday Q&A show where our topic this week is How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant with 5 Nutrient-Dense Foods. So this show is for you if you are thinking about conceiving in the near term. This show is for you if you are thinking about conceiving in the longterm, because I do believe, especially with this very important topic, that knowledge is power. And we want to be aware of all these important factors which can really help us with our family planning and our life goals. And this is also an interesting topic if you are not wanting to conceive necessarily, but when you think about what fertility and conception entail, it’s really our body being in this peak position, this peak nutrition. And so these five nutrient dense foods are still great for everybody across the board.
Kimberly:01:03 I am very excited to be talking about this topic with the launch of our holistic mama conception pregnancy and postpartum course in just a few weeks, which is an incredibly comprehensive course that we have been working on for several years. There’s been delays and more keeps adding in. There was a pause when I birthed my last child. Lots of things have happened, but I’m starting to get really excited and there’s so much information that’s in my head. I wanted to do a specific show about it. Remember that if you also have a question about any other topic that falls into our four cornerstones, which pretty much covers all of holistic wellness, a holistic lifestyle, which are food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. You can leave your questions over on our website, my sauna.com, that’s S O L L U N a.com, and check out our mini recipes, meditations, articles, products and more.
Question around the topic of: How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant with 5 Nutrient-Dense Foods: Kimberly, I’ve been trying to get pregnant since last year and I’m feeling defeated. I hear you have an upcoming pregnancy course coming and am wondering if you can share any helpful tips on how I can improve my chances?
Kimberly:02:09 Alright, let’s get right into our show today about increasing your chances of getting pregnant. Louise from Georgia writes in. Thank you so much, Louise. Thank you for being in our community. And you write Kimberly, I’ve been trying to get pregnant since last year and I’m feeling defeated. I’m wondering if you can share any helpful tips on how I can improve my chances, food, diet, and lifestyle changes. Louise, my hands on my heart. Thank you so much for submitting this question. You are not alone. There are many people that are ready to start a family and experiencing some delays and we are here, I am here for you. There’s a lot that we can work to improve and nutrition being one important component of it. And as I mentioned, there’s so much more information that I’m going to be offering in just a few weeks, and this course includes many, many experts in various fields such as acupuncture and Ayurveda and assisted reproductive technology.
Kimberly:03:22 We really cover the gamut of this extensive topic. So thank you so much, Louise, for bringing this to the forefront. And I will say on a personal note that I am very passionate about child childbirth and pregnancy, being a very passionate mama myself of two boys. My sons now are seven and three, and I love family life. I love being a mother. It’s not for everyone of course, but for those of us that are drawn to it, I want to support you as much as possible in achieving your dreams and your family goals. So let’s dive right into today’s show. So when it comes to pregnancy, there’s a lot of factors that are at play here and we want to look at lifestyle. We want to look at our overall health, we want to look at our nutrition. And I definitely recommend for people thinking about getting pregnant, that you want to start to prepare your body and ideally your partner’s body for five months at least in advance.
Kimberly:04:40 This gives you the best chance to make sure that there’s no nutritional deficiencies, that you are in the best possible position to have a really wonderful easeful healthy pregnancy, and it’s just as easeful as possible in general. Now, I mentioned that your partner as well because that plays a really big role and we’re going to be launching some launching book launch. I’m in that book launch mode as well as I wrap up my next book here. But we are going to be sharing some conversations on this podcast with some of these experts. And all the research shows that it really is of course both the male and the female, however, those components are coming together that affect the quality of the egg and the quality of the sperm and the embryo that is formed together. So both partners need to be conscious of their nutrition nowadays.
Kimberly:05:46 It’s recommended that both the male and the female take a prenatal multivitamin. We want to make sure that both partners are paying attention to their lifestyle as we go into this process. So not just what we’re eating, although we’re going to cover that in great detail in just a moment. But also I want to mention at the top of our show that this is lifestyle, right? We fully believe here at Sauna and our feelgood podcast that a lifestyle is what gets you the best results. So that means sleeping well so that we have proper rest and rejuvenation, making sure that we’re getting sunlight and adequate vitamin D, which is a very important component of pregnancy, and make sure that we are reducing or being more resilient to stress and having more downtime. Meditation, which is something that I talk about so much because it’s had such a profound impact on my life and community and reaching out to have support, journaling, all the ways in which we can support ourselves emotionally and from a mental health standpoint.
Kimberly:07:00 There is a lot of research now correlating how stress levels can reduce our fertility because our bodies register being in a stressful position that we are not prepared to carry life. So it can affect our ovulation, it can very much affect our ovaries, and there is an effect as well for men. So we want to make sure that we are preparing sort of like in nature where you see the animals preparing for the different cycles and you see them sort of getting ready. And I’ve witnessed this. I spent a lot of time observing animals when I was in Africa, and there’s just these rituals and these rhythms and there’s the mating calls, and then there’s the gathering of the twigs to make the nest and to create a healthy, happy, safe home environment and all of these things. So we want to make sure that we’re preparing and in a good mental, emotional, and spiritual place so that we can yield the best efforts.
Kimberly:08:05 And then on our more tangible cornerstones, which are food and body, there’s a lot that we can do there as well. And in this upcoming holistic pregnancy course, I talk about certain yoga positions, for instance, which are really great for bringing circulation and energy to certain reproductive organs. And today we’re going to be talking about in particular, these five nutrient dense foods which are really wonderful for your body at this time. Now, there’s no guarantee that eating this food, these foods are going to necessarily absolutely get you pregnant, but they are helpful and they contain important nutrients which are backed by evidence to help support your reproductive health. These five foods are plant foods, which is the core of our philosophy here. From a food perspective. We don’t condemn eating meat. If you choose to eat meat and animal products, that’s okay too. But we do encourage eating at least a largely plant-based diet for the fiber, for the nutrient density, for the reduction of certain environmental toxins, which bioaccumulate as you go higher up the food chain.
Kimberly:09:21 And plants are just really wonderfully packed with antioxidants and they have anti-inflammatory qualities. And as Ayurveda tox about some of these plants are very kafa, very earthy. And our traditional Chinese medicine also crosses over in recommending foods like beets and sweet potatoes when we are preparing to conceive. Because these foods very much help to bring that earthy and planting, if you will, energy stabilizing energy into our body. So as we often talk about in our community, we do not just boil down food to a collection of numbers. We believe in the energy of food. We believe that everything that we put into our mouths and that we eat and we digest has an effect on our energy. And so should be paid attention to as such and treated as such from an energetic standpoint.
1st Food on How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant with 5 Nutrient-Dense Foods: Leafy greens
Kimberly:10:24 So the first food that we’re going to talk about today is leafy greens. And this is right up our alley. Those of us that are glowing green smoothie drinkers can rest assured that these greens, which can include spinach, kale, charred, and these other greens are rich in folate, which is vitamin B nine, which is absolutely essential for fetal development to help reduce the risk of birth defects. And these greens also contain iron and other nutrients that are really important for reproductive health. A study published in the new journal, new England Journal of Medicine in 2000 found that women who consumed higher levels of folic acid before and during early pregnancy had a significantly lower risk of having babies with neural tube defects. So let’s break some of that down. When our bodies are rich and folate, we create a healthy environment to support healthy conception. And when you look at the world around us, when you look at nature, if you happen to live near a natural environment or you’re right in the middle of the city, you can imagine the forest, you can imagine the nature nearby, wherever it happens to be.
Kimberly:11:35 And there’s so much green, right? There’s so much of this natural foliage all around us. And so because we are part of nature, having a variety of greens is such a wonderful way to bring the energy of nature into your body. There’s so many thousands of different phytonutrients within greens, minerals, different qualities, so easy to get greens in as well. And I will share that I had so many greens. I still consume so many greens, but when I was conceiving my suns glowing green smoothie every day, cooked greens, greens in one pot, stews and soups, salads, microgreens in my wraps, these are practices that I still eat to this day. And I love to share about this because I think that it shows what’s possible. There’s multifactorial, but it was useful for me to conceive, which is what I very much, very much want for you, is to prepare the environment as much as possible. And remember that not everything is in our control, but what we can do is do our best with the choices that we make. So I’d very much encourage you to create a green density, a density of greens in your refrigerator to mix and match. We’ve had some research come on here from gastroenterologists talking about the variety of vegetables and greens is a really important component of a healthy microbiome and gut health. And reducing bloating as well because your body starts to strengthen
Kimberly: 13:22 Its own musculature, its own ability to break down and assimilate foods more efficiently. When it’s presented with variety, it’s like different sorts of exercises that allow your body to work more efficiently. So please check out the most beautiful, vibrant, fresh greens at your market, at your farmer’s market, and have fun with it. And of course, we have a million different recipes for you to be inspired and to choose from over on our website.
2nd Food on How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant with 5 Nutrient-Dense Foods: Legumes and beans
So the second food here is legumes and beans, which is wonderful for conception, wonderful for pregnancy. Now, when I wrote the Beauty Detox Solution over 10 years ago, I wasn’t so much of a bean eater. Sometimes people ask me, well, what’s shifted in your diet since you wrote that first book? And a couple things have shifted, but the core is pretty much the same. But one thing that has shifted is that I do consume far more legumes and beans.
Kimberly:14:23 And in that period since I wrote that book, I became a student of Ayurveda. I studied it with Veja Jay for about four years, and I continued to study and we’ve had Dr. Jay on here. We’ve had Dr. Suhas on here, which are two of my favorite Ayurveda doctors and legumes. And having doll and kitchery, which are really important dishes for my family, really have become part of my lifestyle. And I do try to buy sprouted lentils and sprouted legumes, and sometimes I soak them. And to be honest, sometimes I don’t. And when I don’t, I’m sure to take three of our feel good sauna, digestive enzymes always, and then I don’t really get bloated. Ideally, of course, we would soak our beans. It helps to remove some of the inhibitor enzymes. It helps to make them a bit easier to digest. But in the real world where we’re busy and we’re trying our best, having unoaked beans, in my opinion, is still a really wonderful choice.
Kimberly:15:34 If any of you have checked out the Netflix special from Dan Buettner on the Blue Zones, our very own Dan Buettner, who’s been a guest here many times, dear friend of me, mine personally, he talks about how all these blue zones consume some type of bean almost on a daily basis, whether those are the white beans in Italy or the soybeans in the tofu in Japan. And Okinawa, beans are a staple in the Blue Zones diet. And again, the blue zones, if you’re not familiar, are the regions in the world which traditionally have boasted the highest rate of centenarians, highest rates of longevity, and the lowest rates of degenerative diseases. So we want to take note from these places in the world instead of just over-relying on studies, which can be really confusing and contradictory and don’t always give the full breadth of actual lifestyle.
Kimberly:16:38 Human populations, lentils, chickpeas, beans, and so on are high in protein. They’re high in fiber, they have essential nutrients like folate and iron, which are really important for fertility and overall health. So a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2017 found that replacing some animal-based protein with plant-based protein sources like legumes may lower the risk of ovulatory infertility. So there’s many reasons for this, and again, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, but when you dig into some of the research and some of this research is in our upcoming course around animal protein, whether it’s grass fed, free range or not, those animals are accumulating environmental toxins and a lot of those toxins can interfere with our natural biology. And so if you can replace some of your meat, if you can eat more plant-based, especially when you’re trying to conceive,
Kimberly: 17:48 There are many benefits to that. And one of the people that we interview in the course is Dr. Neil Bernard, who is the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. And in his, one of his many books, his latest book I believe, where I interviewed him, he had a whole section on how eating plant-based really does improve your fertility. And he had tons of research and studies around everything from more fiber, which helps to help create hormonal regulation. It binds to excess estrogen and so on. And the estrobolome, which is an aspect of your gut microbiome, which can affect your fertility. We know the gut is so benefited so much with fiber and so on from plant-based foods. So there’s a lot of research here, and I don’t want to get too far down the rabbit hole on any one of these foods, but I will say that please do eat legumes and beans, and they’re wonderful.
Kimberly:18:55 Tonight actually, for dinner, I’m recording this podcast in the evening as I just revealed, and I’m watching the sun go down. It’s kind of a beautiful time. The kids are playing upstairs with Lolo, my dad, and tonight we had black bean tacos with guacamole and veggies and cabbage. And so it becomes a really accessible and affordable and easy to prepare staple when we incorporate beans truly.
3rd Food on How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant with 5 Nutrient-Dense Foods: Berries
So the next food that I’m really passionate about sharing is berries. And this includes all sorts of berries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, which are rich and vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help to protect eggs and sperm from damage caused by free radicals. Research published in the Journal of Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology in 2012 discussed the potential benefits of antioxidants in improving egg quality and reducing oxidative stress, which can impact fertility. So when we have these little powerhouses, and I will also add to this list acai, which was one of the daily foods I was consuming when I personally conceived, we’re enriching our bodies, we want to think about creating a really fertile environment for these beautiful souls to come into.
Kimberly:20:23 And we think about the power that’s punched into a berry, it’s quite amazing. So my primary way of getting berries in every day is for my long-term listeners, is the power protein smoothie, which I still consume in spurts, but right now I’m consuming it every day. And a core component of that is a unsweetened, organic acai packet, which you can buy in the frozen section of health markets, run it under the sink for five seconds, cut it open, add it to your hemp milk, chia seed, vegan protein, powder, banana, whatever you want to else you want to put in there. And it enriches that smoothie and brings berries into your day, into your body. So it’s something I recommend very much, and I very much recommend keeping that in your freezer as a go-to item, especially when you’re thinking about conceiving.
4th Food on How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant with 5 Nutrient-Dense Foods: Plant-based protein
Kimberly:21:28 So our fourth food here for pregnancy is plant-based protein. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that adequate protein intake during pregnancy is associated with better fetal growth outcomes. Now, plant-based proteins are less dense and they’re easier for your body to uptake, absorb, utilize, digest, excrete. If we eat a lot of animal protein, it takes a lot of energy to digest those foods. It takes a lot of time to move from mastication, from chewing all the way to excretion or having a bowel movement. And my personal feeling is that when we are looking to conceive and perhaps trying, we want our body’s energy to be going towards our reproductive organs. We want to be freeing up energy to support this growing life. So we want to make our other systems more efficient. And it doesn’t mean, again, all or nothing, but it’s so easy to get plant-based protein tempeh, the beans and legumes, as we mentioned, the kale, nutritional yeast, the power protein smoothie.
Kimberly:22:45 There’s ways to get a lot of protein in your diet, and I’ve always found it really easy, and I actually find it quite difficult to go into severe protein deficiency, but it may take a little planning. But even foods like almonds and broccoli are really rich in protein and just so nourishing, deeply nourishing to your body without excess energy, without excess stagnation, which can create buildup in your body. And that’s definitely not what we want at this time.
5th Food on How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant with 5 Nutrient-Dense Foods: Nuts and seeds
So the last food that I want to mention here, which is really wonderful and supportive to an easeful conception and pregnancy is nuts and seeds. Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds are good sources of healthy fats, protein and various vitamins and minerals. They can help to balance your hormones and help with reproductive health. So when we about these little seeds and nuts from an energetic standpoint as well, they have the potential to grow into a mighty oak tree, to grow into a mighty bush, a mighty plant, a walnut tree, whatever it is.
Kimberly:24:00 So there’s the energy of reproduction in them, and I’ve always felt that intuitively and traditional Chinese medicine recommends walnuts a lot during this phase of life. And Ayurveda also recommends nuts and cashews and so on. So it feels intuitively like a wonderful food to keep around when you’re thinking about conceiving. And from a science standpoint, there’s a lot of research discovering how or proving, rather suggesting that various micronutrients during pregnancy, including iron for preventing anemia, magnesium for bone health, and zinc for overall maternal and fetal health are found in nuts and seats. These are very important sources of these essential minerals, and they’re easy at your desk, at work or at home in your kitchen. You can keep bags of these wonderful nuts. You can keep flax seeds, you can sprinkle it on coconut yogurt. You can make a simple gel with chia seeds as I do, and about a nine to one ratio with water.
Kimberly:25:10 Keep a little container in your fridge enough to scoop out for two days, three days, and work these into your life, into your diet. And that’s how I consume chia seeds a lot of the time. Many days of the week, maybe not every day, but many days, I’m having chia seeds in my Power Protein Smoothie. And I also like to eat chia pudding, which is so easy. We’re absorbing the chia seeds with the nut-based milk, and I like to add raw honey, and sometimes I blend it with cacao. It’s really wonderful and delicious, and you can check out our website for some specific recipes.
Kimberly:25:54 So I did want to point out the study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition from 2016 that found that magnesium intake during pregnancy was really important for maintaining maternal bone health, which can be essential for the developing thesis. And then magnesium again, which is included in nuts and seed research from Oxford University in 2021, found that eating magnesium helped with healthy pregnancies and reduced the risk of preterm birth. So we want to prepare the body. We want our body to be mineralized. We want our body to be nutrient dense and nourished and rested and hydrated and as stress-free as possible. Of course, there’s still stress, but we want to maybe not rush around as much. We want to connect with our partner if we have one. That’s a beautiful energy to bring in, is the partner partners really connecting? I think that’s an important part as well, making time to really on a deep level, come together at this sacred juncture where we’re intending to bring in life.
Kimberly:27:12 And so there’s a lot more for me to say about this subject, but this is something to leave you with here today. These five nutrient dense foods, which can help to increase your chances of getting pregnant and fertility. Please be sure to check out our show notes over mysolluna.com for the notes, for links to these studies and for many recipes, as I mentioned that incorporate these very five incredible foods that I highly recommend. Please be on the lookout for information on our upcoming holistic pregnancy course. The course got so big that it got divided into three conception, fertility, and postpartum. If you haven’t yet joined our mailing list over at mysolluna.com, please be sure to join and that way you’ll get notifications, you’ll get, you’ll stay in the loop in our community, in our news. You’ll get the newsletter that I put out every month and write myself and more. We’ll be back here Monday for our next interview podcast. Till then, sending you so much love, so much gratitude, all the best wishes, and look forward to connecting with you on social as well at underscore Kimberly Snyder, all my love, Namaste.