We all know about eating eggs, but have you ever heard of eating for your eggs?
As women, one of the best ways we can eat for our fertility is by eating for our eggs. Even if you’re not ready to have children, the food you eat now will impact your eggs which contain the genetic material for your future children InshaAllah. Moreso, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found that by modifying 5 or more aspects of a woman’s diet, women with absent or irregular ovulation reduced their risk of infertility by 80%.*
Powerful, isn’t it?
Just know that our eggs take approximately 3 months to mature before ovulation, so make sure you’re consuming a healthy and nutritious diet for at least 90 days before conception or egg collection.
Here’s how to eat for your eggs, and in turn for a healthier Ummah:
Zinc plays an important role in cell division and growth, essential for healthy eggs! Best sources of zinc are oysters, meat, chicken, eggs, beans and legumes.
Coenzyme Q10 is an enzyme found in our bodies and important for energy production for all of our cells. As we get older, our ability to produce this enzyme declines. Studies in mice shows low levels of this coenzyme drives age associated decline in egg health which can contribute to infertility linked with older age. To get you share of CoQ10, focus on quality rather than quantity – aim for premium lean red meats such as lamb (or even kangaroo!) and keep portion sizes small, like the size of matchbox which you can add to stir frys and salads.
Antioxidants help protect our eggs from free radical damage that ovulatory disorders, fallopian tube damage and endometriosis can cause. Plant foods are rich in antioxidants and so you should try to eat lots of different colours to get the benefits of different antioxidants each colour offers. Try to have a variety of veggies throughout the week such as eggplant and cabbage for purple, onions and cauliflower for white, radishes and capsicum for red, carrots and pumpkin for orange and of course some celery, lettuce and beans for green veggies
Vitamin D – is an essential fat-soluble micronutrient, mostly gotten from sunlight. A study showed that for women undergoing IVF, women with sufficient Vitamin D levels were more likely to produce higher quality eggs and more likely to conceive**. If you can’t get enough sunlight, speak to your doctor about Vitamin D supplements.
Omega 3 is a fat that is not made in our bodies and hence we need to get through food. A study*** in mice showed that a diet rich in Omega 3 fats such as (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, tuna, chia seeds, walnuts and hemp seeds) across the lifespan prolonged reproductive function into older maternal age compared to a diet rich in Omega 6 fats. In Western countries ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats is 16:1 instead of the 1:1 ratio we were designed for****, so we do need to eat more omega 3 not just before conception but in the early years as well.
Tie your camel by eating for your eggs, and leave the rest to Allah ﷻ.
*Publishing, H. (2009). Follow The Fertility Diet? – Harvard Health. [online] Harvard Health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/follow-fertility-diet**Alessio Paffoni, Stefania Ferrari, Paola Viganò, Luca Pagliardini, Enrico Papaleo, Massimo Candiani, Amedea Tirelli, Luigi Fedele, Edgardo Somigliana, Vitamin D Deficiency and Infertility: Insights From in vitro Fertilization Cycles, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 99, Issue 11, 1 November 2014, Pages E2372–E2376, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2014-1802***Nehra, D. , Le, H. D., Fallon, E. M., Carlson, S. J., Woods, D. , White, Y. A., Pan, A. H., Guo, L. , Rodig, S. J., Tilly, J. L., Rueda, B. R. and Puder, M. (2012), Prolonging the female reproductive lifespan and improving egg quality with dietary omega‐3 fatty acids. Aging Cell, 11: 1046-1054. doi:10.1111/acel.12006****https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909