Dara Godfrey is a highly esteemed Registered Dietitian at RMA of New York. After being a patient herself at RMA, struggling with PCOS and ultimately conceiving two children via IVF, she knew her passion was working in women’s health and fertility. Over 10 years later, her lifestyle-driven approach has helped support hundreds of patients’ nutritional goals at every stage of infertility treatment and pregnancy. Dara hosted a talk with us about the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to nutrition and fertility. Here are some of the questions asked by the audience, along with Dara's answers.
- I am starting fertility cleansing this week and plan to give myself at least 3-4 months prior to conceiving. I am 38 y.o., failed 3x IUI and 1x IVF. I am taking olive oil + vitamin C + folic acid + powdered drink of maca + royal jelly. I will add on co-Q 10 and omega-3 fish oil today. Can you please advise me on my regime here, am I overworking my liver? What is your advice about the time interval of consuming these supplements?
Dara's Answer: I don’t believe in a fertility cleanse through supplements as I think it’s important to focus on food 1st! Limiting or avoiding processed foods coming from refined breads, cookies, cakes, rice, pasta, fried foods, candy, juices and sodas are a great first step to ‘naturally’ detox. Instead, choose whole foods coming from whole fruits and vegetables, good quality protein sources from eggs, nuts/seeds, grass fed beef, wild fish, pasture raised/organic poultry, beans and legumes are a great addition to one’s diet. As for supplements, choose a good quality prenatal vitamin to start (I like ones with DHA and Vitamin D in them – Zahler prenatal with DHA or Perelel Health both are great prenatals). For anyone over 35 years old, 200-300mg CoQ10 daily with food can be taken up until a pregnancy (Jarrow brand is good). I only suggest an additional omega-3 fish oil if you do not include salmon or other fatty fishes in your weekly routine. I would suggest skipping the other suppelements.
- How do you relate a general perspective about nutrition, TTC, and endometriosis?
Dara's Answer: Although research on nutrition as it relates to endometriosis is still in its infancy, there is some benefit on limiting pro-inflammatory foods that can help with both endometriosis symptoms and for overall fertility. That means limiting sugars and processed carbohydrates likes rice, pasta, sweets and fried foods. On the other hand, including fruits and vegetable and other antioxidant-rich foods to help decrease inflammation.
- What super food should we include in our diet?
Dara's Answer: I don’t believe in super foods since that often limits the diversity that I think is paramount in our diet, but some foods to try and include every week include: wild salmon (omega 3’s), chia and flax seeds (omega 3 and fiber rich), asparagus, avocado, oranges and pumpkin seeds (all rich in folate) and eggs – including the yolk (rich in choline and good quality protein).
- Any diet or foods to avoid for endometriosis and fibroids?
Dara's Answer: See question #2. Limit or avoid processed, poor quality carbohydrates and sugars to help reduce inflammation (as they promote inflammation in your body). On the flip side, choose antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, kiwis, oranges, strawberries, kale, red cabbage and beans.
- If one is busy during the day, how do you feel about drinking a fresh pressed green juice - rich in dark green leafy veggies? Is it ok to do juices if you can't get a meal or a snack during the day?
Dara's Answer: I suggest whole foods first, but having a freshly made ALL green juice (only veggies and lemon/ginger) OR even a vegetable soup are some ways to get in your daily greens. I still suggest you pair them with a source of protein at that meal (a handful of nuts would be great!). Choose to eat your fruits whole as opposed to dried or juiced as they become concentrated in sugars and can elevate your blood sugars.
- I have a question on food - my acupuncturist has said that I should avoid Chicken& Turkey while trying to get pregnant. But I could not get a clear answer as to why.
Dara's Answer: I am pro good quality animal protein for overall health and fertility. They are a great source of lean protein that can be a part of your overall weekly diet. Choose pasture raised organic poultry.
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