One option that is becoming increasingly popular and discussed in terms of increasing natural fertility as well as maximizing health in general, is so-called Paleolithic or Paleo nutrition. This oldest way of eating has only been “discovered” in recent years, its direct effects on pregnancy rates of those who are trying to conceive have not yet been the focus of systematic clinical studies.
Due to its radical reduction of sugars and of foods without much nutritional value, the Paleo eating style gives clear health benefits, especially to people who are struggling with weight gain and the health risks associated with it.
In short, “paleo” is translated from the Greek word, palaios, meaning “ancient” or “very old.” As a nutritional style, it represents the entire food spectrum eaten by our ancestors throughout the Stone Age. This broad historic period had lasted over three million years (compare that with the last 150 years of industrial food production). Paleo is a very simple, often raw food eating style, particularly well suited to those who love meat. But basically, any food that you can fish, hunt, pick, or dig out with a stick is probably a good Paleo meal.
Essence of Paleo eating style
Meat is important in Paleo nutrition, and it should only come from organically raised and pasture-fed animals living under conditions that match, as closely as possible, their natural environment. Even better would be to stick with wild game or fresh fish.
Vegetables can be eaten in all varieties, colors, and from all seasons, especially all rooted or stock vegetables, which are a great source of carbohydrates.
Fruits are also welcome, but only seasonal and in limited quantities. Sweets must be avoided, with rare exceptions, such as consuming honey. Honey, too, should come from a local beekeeper if possible, because it then contains traces of pollen from plants growing in your neighborhood, which can help strengthen the immune system in women sensitive to allergies.
In Paleo nutrition, we are essentially talking about consuming a wide variety and countless animal and plant species and living closer to nature and seasons than with any other kind of diet.
But now the bad news: processed food must be avoided altogether (including bread and pasta!). In contrast to the Mediterranean eating style, Paleo kitchen does not compromise on carbohydrates.
This means: no sugar, flour, or products manufactured from them; no fast food and basically nothing that comes in a can or a box. No synthetic additives. Several Paleo physicians (doctors with an evolutionary approach to health) recommend that, if packaged food contains anything you can’t read or can’t visualize, you should not eat it.
To conclude, in terms of improving fertility and chances to get (and stay!) pregnant, I personally think of Paleo nutrition as an extension, or rather one far edge of the Mediterranean diet continuum. In their essence, these two nutritional approaches are very similar, only that the Paleo is characterized by consuming even fewer grains and carbohydrates.
In this view of strong overlaps between the Paleo and two other eating styles (Mediterranean and Harvard fertility diet) that are proven to naturally increase fertility, which one would I personally recommend to those who wish to maximize their natural fertility? I would recommend to eat:
- The Harvard fertility diet for women with ovulatory disorders
- The Mediterranean diet one for couples who are struggling to get pregnant due to any other infertility issue
- The Paleo diet (in the sense of low-carb, organic, and everything else as described above), to women who are healthy but face delays in getting pregnant due to diminishing ovarian reserve (which is not a diagnosis but rather a part of natural aging process).
My two cents.
What to eat and what to avoid to achieve maximal fertility:
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