Before you try for a baby, your health should be in tip-top condition. The overarching principle of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) emphasises the balance among various organ systems, including the kidneys, liver, spleen, lungs and heart.
If anything is off-balance, it can affect your chance of getting pregnant.
It is also important to improve your body and mind. If you are sleeping well, are full of vitality, have proper digestion and healthy sense of self, then all systems will work more efficiently, including your reproductive system.
Senior physician Zhong Xi Ming of Eu Yang Sang Premier TCM Centre at Paragon shares more here.
Understand heaty and cold foods
In TCM, the body can be divided into “heaty” and “cold” constitutions. To prevent a build-up of “internal heat”, take food that has cooling properties. Ingredients with warm qualities are often used for “cold”-related ailments.
Heaty foods include beef, mutton and chicken while cooling foods include pork, crab and duck.
Neutral foods, on the other hand, can invigorate the spleen, stimulate appetite and nourish the body.
But note that it is all about moderation; too much of a good thing can be bad.
(Also read: 7 IVF questions you’re too shy to ask)
Eat fresh, not processed food
Your diet should consist of higher amount of lean meat, egg and egg products, seafood, animal liver, beans and bean products, fresh vegetables and fruits. Refrain from taking processed food.
Food can affect sperm quality
For the man to improve sperm quality, eat well and include these in your diet: eel, squid, sea cucumber, cuttlefish, escargot, Chinese yam and ginkgo.
Avoid excessive drinking as alcohol affects sperm quality.
To increase your sex drive, load up on foods with zinc, including lean beef, chicken, chicken liver, eggs, pork, oysters and peanuts.
Regulate your body fat percentage
“Good” fats are beneficial to a fetus’ development. Include olive oil in your diet or take DHA supplements.
Load up on minerals
Increase intake of food which are high in folic acid, zinc, iron and calcium to ensure a strong fundamental basis for the early development of the fetus.
Foods high in folic acid include fruits such as orange, strawberry, cherry, banana, lemon, peach, plum, apricot, hawthorn, pomegranate, grape, kiwi and pear.
To prevent constipation, flatulence and hemorrhoids (piles) during pregnancy, consume food that are high in fibers, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, nuts, chives, celery and figs.
A version of this article first appeared in Singapore Women’s Weekly.