The Food Guide Pyramid

Fats, oils, and sweets—use sparingly

Milk, yogurt, and cheese group—2-3 servings daily (1 serving is 1 cup [236 ml] of milk or yogurt; 1 xh ounces [43 gm] of natural cheese; or 2 ounces [57 gm] of processed cheese.)

Meat, poultry, fish, dried beans, eggs, and nuts group—2-3 servings daily (1 serving is 2-3 ounces [57-85 gm] of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish; for other foods in this group, 1 ounce [28 gm] of meat = xh cup [118 ml] of cooked dried beans = 1 egg = 2 tablespoons [30 ml] of peanut butter.)

Vegetable group—3-5 servings daily (1 serving is 1 cup [236 ml] raw, leafy vegetables; xh cup [118 ml] of other cooked or raw vegetables; or % cup [177 ml] of vegetable juice.)

Fruit group—2-4 servings daily (1 serving is 1 medium apple, banana, or orange; xh cup [118 ml] of cooked or canned fruit; or % cup [177 ml] of fruit juice.)

Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group—6-11 servings daily (1 serving is 1 slice of bread; 1 ounce [28 gm] of cereal; or xh cup [118 ml] of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta.)

[Note: metric conversions are estimates.]

There are additional tips you may wish to try in your diet to increase your reproductive health and your chances of conceiving. Some naturopathic practitioners recommend alkaline foods such as bean sprouts, peas, and milk. They also say to avoid acidic foods such as red meat and tea because they may further increase the acidity found in your cervical mucus, which could inhibit sperm. Proper hydration is also important. Try to drink at least 48 ounces of water each day.

Many practitioners recommend that you increase your intake of foods containing essential fatty acids. Examples are seeds, beans, nuts, and oily fish. Medical research has shown that essential fatty acids stimulate the production of reproductive hormones in both men and women.

Pumpkin seeds have been shown to benefit the reproductive health of both men and women. That's because they contain high levels of zinc, which is important for healthy reproductive organs.

You should avoid a few things when trying to become pregnant and also after you have become pregnant. A major concern is raw or undercooked fish, meat, and poultry, because of their potential to cause bacterial infection. It's also best to avoid fruits and vegetables that have been treated with potentially toxic chemical pesticides. Therefore, organically grown produce is usually considered a better choice.

Remember that a well-balanced and nutritional diet will help maximize your fertility. Does that mean you can't enjoy an occasional pizza or little piece of chocolate? Of course not! Just be sensible and do your best. If you have questions or concerns about calorie needs and specific diet recommendations, be sure to talk with your doctor.

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