Getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals is essential to any healthy diet — especially when you’re trying to conceive. You’re probably already eating plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins which are available throughout the year, but focusing your diet around seasonally-fresh ingredients has even better benefits. Not only is it good for the environment to buy locally (this generally means lower prices too), but when you buy in-season produce, it tastes fresher and is packed with more nutrients.
You may think of summer as the ripe time for many fruits and vegetables, but according to James Parker, the associate coordinator for Whole Foods Market’s global perishables buying office, that’s not the case.
“In the produce business, we all kind of wish every month was like May. It’s a time of intense change, and it marks the official start of the summer tree fruit season,” Parker told Time. “We also see a tremendous increase in local and regional production throughout the US. Because it’s domestic season, the product doesn’t have to travel as far.”
May is generally the best time to add these fertility-boosting foods to your shopping cart:
Avocados A great way to get your daily dose of folate is through avocados. Folate protects against birth defects in the brain and spine that can develop in the first few weeks of pregnancy. The green, skinned fruit contains vitamin K, which helps your body effectively absorb nutrients while maintaining hormonal balance. It’s also high in potassium, a key to regulating blood pressure.
Okay, avocados aren’t exactly low-cal, but they’re mostly made up of monounsaturated fats (that’s the good kind), so one a day is fine. Typically it’s best to buy organic fruits and vegetables, but you can save a few bucks here since the thick skin makes it hard for pesticides to seep in, says holistic fertility nutritionist Kim Ross.
A great way to eat it: Spread one-third of an avocado on multigrain toast and drizzle with olive oil, another known fertility booster. It contains a high concentration of vitamin E, which is known to stabilize and protect cells from oxidative damage, a plus for women with PCOS or diabetes.
Berries Blueberries and raspberries are loaded with natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, which help boost both female and male fertility. Like citrus, they’re high in folate and vitamin C, which can help with fetal development down the road. Berries are also a good source of fiber and can aid in weight loss (women at a healthier weight tend to have less trouble conceiving), so aim for at least one cup a day.
Spinach Eating dark green veggies (like kale and Swiss chard too) is one of the best ways to take in essential prenatal nutrients like calcium, iron (especially important when you’re menstruating) and folate, which also protects against birth defects in the brain and spine that can develop in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Since it can take a few weeks to even know you’re pregnant, it’s important to load up on plenty of folate while you’re TTC. Most women don’t get enough from their diet though, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking a daily vitamin with folic acid (the synthetic version of folate) to reach the suggested 400 mcg dose.
Citrus Fruits Not only are oranges, grapefruits and other citrus fruits one of the best sources for vitamin C, they’re also packed with potassium, calcium and folate — a B vitamin that can help you get pregnant by regulating ovulation and creating a healthy environment for eggs. You should aim for at least one serving of citrus fruit each day (try a medium-size grapefruit, a large orange, three clementines or one kiwi) in addition to another serving of fruits.
For more fertility-boosting foods, visit TheBump.com .