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We should all aim for a healthy diet, and this is never more important than when we are trying to conceive or when we are pregnant. So any infertility diet needs to incorporate foods to help you conceive and to maintain a healthy pregnancy. The following guidelines should go a long way in helping you do just that. Eat plenty of whole grains, nuts, seeds and fruits, together with a moderate amount of animal protein. These foods contain all the vitamins and minerals we need and are vital to conception and the baby's development. Vegetables like peas, broccoli and pumpkin are also excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Drink plenty of water or natural (no added sugar) fruit juice. About 8 glasses a day is ideal. Your infertility diet should include plenty of fatty acids. Fatty acids help conception by regulating hormone levels, and increasing blood flow to the uterus. Cold water fish like salmon, trout and haddock are excellent sources as are flaxseed oil, walnut oil, hemp seed and green leafy vegetables. You need adequate amounts of protein. Meat and poultry are good sources and have the added benefit of helping a healthy level of iron in the body. Go for organic meats if you can, rather than meat which may contain chemicals which mimic the effects of estrogen. Calcium is essential to ensure the baby's bones, teeth, blood and nervous system are all formed properly. Although dairy products like milk and cheese are good sources, they contain saturated fats so should only be taken in moderation. Salmon and sardines, and vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and kale are good alternatives. A zinc deficiency can reduce fertility and increase the risk of miscarriage. Zinc also plays a role in male fertility. It is found in high concentrations in sperm, and is necessary to make the outer layer and tail of the sperm. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc, as are beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. The above infertility diet guidelines will certainly improve your chances when trying to conceive, and will also improve your general health. They should also help you maintain a healthy weight. This is important because approximately 12% of infertility cases result from weighing too much, or too little.

Laura O'Rorke is an infertility expert. For more great articles and helpful information on infertility

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Infertility diet  

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