Good fats and bad fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatsWhen it comes to things you can do to get your body ready for pregnancy, there are few things that have more impact than making better choices in your diet. For many couples, a so-called “fertility diet” is an excellent way to boost your body’s reproductive health for more regular ovulation and the best possible male fertility levels.

When most people think of what goes into a typical fertility diet or healthy eating, fats are not included. We are programmed to think fats are unhealthy — which is true for some kinds of fats. However, there are also good fats that help your body be at its fertility best and are critical components of a fertility diet.

Getting the Skinny on the Three Kinds of Fats

There are three types of fat in our diets: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and trans fats. Each of them has different characteristics and plays a different role in our diet. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Monounsaturated fats: These fatty acids occur naturally. As a “healthy fat,” they help break down plaque in your arteries, boosting your heart health. They are also instrumental in reducing your total blood cholesterol while simultaneously boosting your good cholesterol levels. It is important to note that many of the foods that supply monounsaturated fats are also nutrient-dense foods that are the cornerstone of a healthy diet.

Good sources of monounsaturated fats include: Canola, olive and peanut oils; cold-water fishes, including trout and salmon; many nut varieties, such as flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds; avocados; and olives.

Polyunsaturated fats: While they supply energy to your muscles, including your heart, polyunsaturated fats also provide the building blocks for protective padding around your internal organs. The nutrients also assist in forming cell membranes for your body. Like monounsaturated fats, they are helpful in decreasing the bad cholesterol in your blood while raising the good cholesterol levels.

Good sources of polyunsaturated fats include: Coldwater fish, such as salmon, tuna and sardines; fish oil supplements; flax seed oil; and walnuts.

Trans fats: This fat is the one that should play little to no part in your fertility diet. Comprised of oils that have been hydrogenated (a process used to extend the shelf life of foods), trans fats raise the level of bad cholesterol in foods. Higher levels of bad cholesterol is linked to several serious health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Trans fats are common to fast foods and processed foods.

Sources of trans fats include: vegetable oil, French fries, margarine, white bread, some cheeses, snack foods, red meat and pork, and any food containing hydrogenated oils.

It’s clear that some fat is important to your fertility diet. Healthy eating should always include regular consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It is also clear that trans fats should be avoided if not eliminated entirely. So when you are trying to improve your diet to increase the regularity of your ovulation or get male fertility at its best, good fats in moderation are key in your diet.

Sources:

“What Are Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids?” FitDay. Web. 11 May 2015. http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/fats/what-are-polyunsaturated-fatty-acids.html

“The Difference between Polyunsaturated Fat and Monounsaturated Fat.” FitDay. Web. 11 May 2015. http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/fats/the-difference-between-polyunsaturated-fat-and-monounsaturated-fat.html