Some of the most common advice you may hear when inquiring about fertility diets is “eat whole grains every day”. Today I’d like to invite you to briefly look at what whole grains are, why and how much of it can be beneficial when planning a pregnancy.
Why whole grains?
Whole grains contain a variety of nutrients that help to restore the unique balance in a woman’s body. Moreso, it appears that aside from various well-known health benefits (such as helping to regulate blood sugars, weight management and heart health), whole grains may also fuel your fertility! Some recent research shows that regular intake of whole-grain foods can increase endometrial thickness and therefore, result in a higher chance of implantation and pregnancy.
What are whole grains?
Unlike processed grains, whole grains contain every part of the original grain (including the outer layers, bran and germ) as was intended by nature. Some examples include:
· whole grain whole wheat* (note: “whole wheat” is not always “whole grain”)
· whole oats
· whole corn
· whole rye
· brown rice
· whole barley
· wild rice
WHEAT TIP: When looking at ingredient lists for whole wheat products, make sure it says “whole grain whole wheat”. If it says “whole wheat” or “100% whole wheat”
only, that often means part of the wheat kernel has been removed.
Are any whole grains gluten-free?
Yes, while not all, many whole grains are naturally gluten-free and completely suitable for people with celiac disease or those avoiding gluten. You can see more examples and descriptions of gluten-free grains and flours here.
How much to eat for best results?
Everyone’s need and diet is different, so consult your Fertility Dietitian on what is best for you. On average, I usually recommend to my clients to start with a minimum of 40g of whole grains / day and increase based on the individualized plan.
How to eat whole grains?
If you are completely new to whole grains, starting with whole grain breads is the easiest. Once you get more comfortable, see if you would enjoy some warm and cozy steel cut oats for breakfast or unleash your imagination and start experimenting by adding whole grains to soups, casseroles, side dishes, salads and baking!
As always stay safe, positive and "bite smartly". Love you all and til next!
Gaskins AJ, Chiu YH, Williams PL, et al. Maternal whole grain intake and outcomes of in vitro fertilization. Fertil Steril. 2016;105(6):1503-1510.e4. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.02.015
Choosing Health Grains FAQ. https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/default.aspx