What to Eat if You’re Freezing Your Eggs
Our patients often ask if there’s anything they can do to boost their egg quality before they begin their treatment cycle. The answer: YES. Research suggests the most impactful step you can take before freezing your eggs is improving your health in the 100 days before egg collection.
Why? Your eggs take approximately 100 days to mature. During that time, there’s a lot you can do to support the development of healthy, high-quality eggs. Improving your health by eating more nutritious foods, reducing stress, and making lifestyle changes to support your well-being all help cultivate embryos with better odds of fertilization and future pregnancy.
If you’re looking for more natural and holistic ways to improve your egg health before freezing, there are many options you can explore. Ultimately, these suggestions will help you nourish your body, both physically and mentally. As you read, keep in mind that you don’t need to overturn your entire diet—start with the lifestyle changes and habits that work best for you.
Egg Quality and Nutrition
Nutrition is one of the most effective pathways to improving your well-being and supporting healthy egg development. Make sure you’re consuming recommended daily amounts of vitamins like vitamin D, B12, iron, and folate, as these can hugely impact egg quality.
The key with diet is to balance blood sugar levels to help reduce inflammation and provide the essential nutrients to a robust environment for healthy egg development.
Organ meats like liver and beef hearts contain highly concentrated levels of vitamin A, vitamin B12, folate, iron, and trace minerals. Beef heart has the added benefit of CoQ10, an antioxidant that helps reduce damage from free radicals and supports successful egg maturation and implantation. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, it’s okay if you choose not to eat organ meat—there are other pathways you can explore to improve your health.
Egg Quality and Antioxidants
Antioxidants help reduce free radicals, which are unstable molecules that cause cell damage and are believed to play a critical part in the ageing process and diseases like cancer and heart disease1. Free radicals result from oxidative stress, which can come from environmental pollutants, cigarette smoke, pesticides, and industrial cleaning products. While we can adjust certain parts of our environment, the best route to reduce free radicals is by eating antioxidant-packed foods.
When looking for dietary antioxidants2, stick with brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
Great sources of dietary antioxidants
- Berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
- Dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach)
- Beans (small red beans, pinto beans, black beans)
- Nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios)
- Red cabbage
- Goji Berries
- Oranges and orange juice
- Apples and apple juice
- Dark chocolate
Egg Quality and Toxins
From free radical-boosting foods to skincare routines to air quality—environmental toxins are all around us and can significantly affect your health.
This year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) put out their annual guide to the foods with the highest amounts of pesticides. They found strawberries, spinach, collard and mustard greens, kale, nectarines, and apples ranked with the highest pesticide levels3. If you’re planning on adding in some of the above antioxidant-rich foods, going organic on foods high in pesticides could be wise. For a complete list of EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” foods, read here.
Reducing the number of xenoestrogens that can come from plastic and choosing organic, pesticide-free foods in those 100 days before egg collection can improve your egg’s health.
Hair, make-up, and cosmetic products often serve as hidden sources of hundreds of chemicals and additives that dissolve into our skin and can affect our health. The average person uses 12 different products in their daily routine3—swapping out your more chemical-packed products for organic ones can benefit healthy egg development.
Egg Quality and Stress Hormones
When we’re stressed, our body releases cortisol (among other hormones that can go up or down in response). Unfortunately, when we experience chronic stress, our cortisol levels remain elevated and can wreak havoc on our bodies, weakening our immune systems, prompting inflammation, and affecting our sleep.
While we may not remove all sources of stress from our lives, we can change how we respond to stress. Developing strategies and coping methods that can include self-care, exercise, meditation, or having fun with friends are great pathways to reducing stress and cultivating a more supportive environment for healthy egg maturation.
Research suggests acupuncture is excellent for reducing stress and anxiety and helps improve blood flow through the body. Amazingly, one study even found that acupuncture before and after IVF embryo transfer improved the rates of successful embryo implantation from 26% to 42.5%4.
Egg Quality and Lifestyle Practices
The last way we can improve our uterine environment to help support healthy eggs and the potential for a successful future pregnancy is through lifestyle habits.
Wine and Caffeine
While the research on the effects of alcohol during preconception and implantation remains mixed, most health professionals often say one drink a day should be fine. However, studies suggest that drinking alcohol during the 100 days before egg freezing can negatively affect future pregnancy outcomes. With caffeine, the best rule of thumb is to stick with one cup a day. Most experts agree that your health should remain unaffected as long as you don’t exceed 300 mg of caffeine a day.
Movement and Exercise
Getting your blood flowing by getting your body moving is critical to maintaining balanced health. You don’t have to be a CrossFit aficionado or yogic master to see the benefits of movement—even hitting 10,000 steps a day is a great goal. The most crucial part of building exercise into your routine is finding a workout that you enjoy and will stick to consistently.
It’s true what they say—getting a good night’s sleep is critical to an optimally functioning and healthy body. Sleep is a therapeutic and restorative process that helps your body heal from daily wear and gives your mind time to reflect and reset for the next day. For this reason, it’s important to prioritize getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
At EVOLVE, we have fertility naturopaths on-site to guide you on a personalized 100-day plan for better egg quality. Contact us to learn more.