If you're of the belief that your 20s are for fun and your 30s are for the real adult stuff, like settling down and having kids, it's important to know that the earlier that you think about your fertility health, the better. If you know that you may want kids in the future, you can start ensuring the health of your eggs years before you actually want to start trying.
Depending on your overall health, you're at your fertility peak in your 20s, says Dr. Shahin Ghadir, scientific director of the Southern California Reproductive Center. Dr.Ghadir shares that a healthy lifestyle during your 20s will promote healthy fertility and ensure the best start when trying for a baby. But did you expect anything less? Of course being healthy is the best thing for your body — reproductive system and all. But what exactly should we be doing in our 20s to maintain optimal fertility later on in life?
Dr. Ghadir recommends women in their 20s should:
- Maintain a normal, healthy weight. Being underweight has just as much of an effect on your fertility as being overweight. That's why it's important to eat healthy most of the time and exercise often. Not only will you love the physical and mental results, but your fertility will be better for it.
- Eat a lot of antioxidant-rich foods. Think berries, beans, nuts, tomatoes, carrots, and even dark chocolate. The golden rule is: the more color on your plate, the better.
- Limit alcohol intake. Not only will alcohol stop you from reaching your weight-loss goals, but according to the National Health and Medical Research Council, "Heavy drinking can definitely affect fertility, increasing the length of time it takes to get pregnant."
And you most definitely shouldn't:
- Smoke. It's no secret this is the worst thing you can do for your health, let alone your eggs.
- Take drugs. Recreational drugs can affect fertility for both women and men, while long-term use can lead to permanent reproductive problems.
According to Dr. Ghadir, it's never too late to change your lifestyle and make healthier choices to promote good health and well-being. "Unfortunately, much of the damage that occurs to a female's egg is irreversible, but stopping a bad habit for a healthier one is always encouraged," says Dr. Ghadir.