I was asked about what foods to eat to strengthen and build the uterine lining so that the embryo is ensured a cushy home in which to bury itself during implantation. The short answer is that if youâ€™re following a fertility diet with an emphasis on no sugar, no overly-processed foods, no (or few) refined carbohydrates, plenty of whole foods and grains, veggies and fruits, then you are in great shape for encouraging your lining to reach the thickness needed to support implantationâ€”barring any underlining medical issue.
Still, itâ€™s worth exploring this topic further.Â
Normally, the uterine lining grows 1 to 2 mm every other day in response to estrogen. After ovulation, a lining of between 8 and 13 mm is considered normal.
If the lining doesnâ€™t develop to this thickness, it is harder for the embryo to implant. A few reasons this may happen include infection, scarring from D&Cs, low estrogen levels, poor uterine blood supply and sometimes endometrial antibodies. The fertility drug, Clomid, can also cause thin lining (endometrian).
Particularly when the causes are low estrogen levels and poor uterine blood supply, what you eat can make a particular difference.
Estrogen is what causes our lining to grow.Â As we age, estrogen levels can decrease (esp. in our late 30â€™s and 40â€™s), affecting our lining.Â Our ovaries are just not putting out as much estrogen as they used to.
Sugar, especially, can throw off the delicate balance of our hormones, so that definitely has to get cut from the diet. Outside of cutting sugar and eating a healthy, mostly whole foods diet, Lyn Vaccaro, a holistic health practioner, recommends eating foods that contain phytoestrogens, adding them in on a gradual basis.
For a list of these foods, see her article. However, donâ€™t eat peas, as theyâ€™re a natural contraceptive, and eat soy with caution! You should stick only to the fermented variety, such as tempeh, tamari and miso, and otherwise limit consumption to about three servings per week.Â See my blog on soy for more information.
Another thing you can do is bring more blood to your uterus, and reproductive system in general. Acupuncture/Chinese Medicine works well to improve circulation and bring blood to the uterus.
Eating blood nourishing and iron rich foods help. For this reason, protein is important. Remember to eat meat lean and organic only. Besides animal protein, other good blood builders include: rice and oats, lentils and other types of beans and legumes, green leafy vegetables, cabbage, celery, mushrooms and nuts and seeds.
For a more complete list of foods and to learn more, also see this article.