We wanted to know her expert nutritional tips and advice for women who are trying to get pregnant, or have already given birth.
Nutritional Expert Melanie McGrice
What can women eat to boost their fertility?
First of all it’s about getting people off junk food and looking at fat ratios. The most common dietary problem that causes infertility is insulin resistance and to avoid this we want to make sure that people are a healthy weight, get them off a high sugar diet and make sure they have a good supportive glycoglysemic distribution, small regular amounts of carbohydrates throughout the day and lots of good fats and get rid of the bad fats. Those are the key things.
What is one of your tips for women who want to get pregnant?
Make sure you have an appointment with an accredited practicing dietitian. You also want to get your blood test done because if you are low in vitamin D or Iron or B12 [it can decrease your chances of getting pregnant] also it’s too late to try and fix it later. You want to fix it before you get pregnant, so go to your GP and ask for a blood test. Also make sure you are on the right nutritional supplements beforehand. For most women that means Folate, Iodine, Vitamin D and Omega 3. There are some groups of women who might not need those supplements. For example, if you have thyroid issues you might not need Iodine but for most women you need to take these supplements before you fall pregnant.
What would you say to women who are finding it hard to adjust back to their bodies after giving birth?
The first thing would be, is to breast-feed. Even if you are only breast feeding once a day, the more breast feeding you can do for a longer period of time the more beneficial because it burns up a lot of kilojoules. As well being beneficial for your baby, it is great for women at preventing future disease. In Australia there are great numbers of women who start to breast-feed but the findings show that many women come off breast-feeding quite quickly once they start introducing solids into the baby’s diet. However, you want to keep a combination of both for a while even when your baby is eating solids. It’s very healthy for you and your child to keep breast-feeding.
What’s your opinion on women who are on a vegan diet and trying for a child, or who are already pregnant?
It’s really common now, so I really believe that if women are following a vegan diet they need to check their supplements and blood tests even more so than a woman on a regular diet. For example, iron deficiency is very common throughout pregnancy and if you are a vegan you have a higher risk of iron deficiency and the same with Omega 3. Research shows that the higher the levels of Omega 3 and good fatty acids are in a woman’s diet when she is pregnant then the higher their children’s learning test results are. Therefore there is not a lot of these important nutrients in a vegan diet. Yes you may get some from flaxseed oil or something along those lines but it’s not the same as the amount you get from fish, so I would recommend to women on a vegan diet to take some algal Omega 3 throughout pregnancy.
As a nutritionist, what are your favourite and recommended super foods you like to include in your diet?
Fish. I particularly love salmon. I think it’s a great superfood so I try to have salmon a few times a week. I’m a really big fan of brown rice. Not only is it yummy and easy to prepare but I know that I’m getting so much more nutrition from eating brown rice than eating white rice. Yoghurt, I think it’s a good superfood. The fact that it’s so good for your gut micro bio health and is low in GI which makes it a great afternoon snack. Nuts are good to have as a snack so if you do get hungry you don’t indulge in something bad for you. They’re also a great source of protein.
What food predictions or trends do you think will be big in the next year?
Yes! The really hot chili called sriracha. It’s just starting to appear more in supermarkets now and I believe that it is going to be the next huge thing that everyone is going to be eating.
Why is that?
People are now so aware of sugar, artificial flavours and salt [in their diets]. Sriracha is something that adds a lot of flavour to food but is actually good for you. I went to a presentation at the dietitian’s conference earlier this year where they look at what all the food manufacturers are bringing in and sriracha seems to be a big trend for 2017.
- Melanie has also released a book called The Pregnancy Weight Plan which gives you some easy to make and nutritionally beneficial meals for you and your baby that will help you remain healthy during your pregnancy.
You can visit Melanie’s website here.