Shawna Schwalb, MS, LDN, Fertility Nutrition Specialist
I remember when I was in my 20s, hanging out with my friends, and one of my friends was excited about freezing her eggs. This was kind of revolutionary for the time as this was around the year 2003 and most of us were just a couple years post college, thinking about what to do with our lives. Now, as a fertility nutritionist at Pulling Down the Moon, I often have clients looking to freeze their eggs and searching for an optimal diet, lifestyle and supplement regimen to support this. The world has sure changed in 14 years! Improving your overall health may improve your egg health. Here are some foods to eat to obtain the best quality eggs if you are thinking about freezing them. If possible, it is best to start this regimen three to six months prior to freezing your eggs.
Eat local and seasonal and organic when possible. Organic meat and dairy products contain significantly more omega-3 fatty acids than their conventionally raised counterparts, which may provide a benefit for egg quality. This article discusses some of the differences between organic and conventionally raised meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/02/18/467136329/is-organic-more-nutritious-new-study-adds-to-the-evidence
Emphasize a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, which provide antioxidants that may help protect eggs from free radical damage. Choose local when possible. Fruits and vegetables that have traveled far on a truck may have lost some nutrients along the way. Locally grown foods may be grown according to organic standards, but smaller farms sometimes can’t afford the certification. It’s important to ask local farmers about their pesticide use and growing practices. Your pesticide, hormone, and antibiotic exposure is likely higher when eating conventionally raised meat and dairy, so it makes sense to prioritize organic meat and dairy over fruits and vegetables when deciding where to spend the extra money. The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen lists the foods with the highest pesticide residues, thus these would be the foods to prioritize buying organic. Here is a link to a current list: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php
Eat healthy fats. Now is the time to make sure you’re including quality fats in your diet like low mercury fish, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, wild salmon, nuts, and seeds.
Finally, don’t forget to eat all the vegetables and fruits your heart desires. Leafy greens are the highest in folate, the form of b9 that your body can best absorb. Citrus fruits are great sources of folate and berries are one of the lowest glycemic fruits out there, full of antioxidants as well. Try to get a serving of something green at most meals.
Don’t forget, these changes will help you sustain a healthy egg and may even lead to healthy life for you and your future family.