Dietary Essentials

Know your food groups and where to derive your best source of nutrients. A good diet comprises carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water. Within these food groups are various vitamins and minerals that are essential for wellbeing.


Carbohydrates should be unrefined with nothing added and nothing taken away. They include starches, sugars and fibres. They provide energy. Contrary to popular belief they are not fattening if they are eaten in the form of complex carbohydrates.

Good Sources

Whole grains, wholemeal flour, millet, wholemeal bread, oats, oatmeal, buckwheat, brown rice, maize meal, fresh vegetables and fruit. Oats are thought to increase fertility.

Poor Sources

Sugars, white flour, white bread, white pasta, sweets. These are all poor in fibre, vitamins and minerals.


Proteins are called building blocks. They are necessary to build or repair tissue, muscles, organs, enzymes and hair.
Proteins are made of amino acids that are broken down in the body to form other amino acids. The potential role of amino acids in preconception health care has only just begun to be understood. Research indicates that the amino acids, spermadine and aspermine, play a major role in the synthesis of semen. Furthermore, the levels of these amino acids have been found to be low in men with low sperm counts. Amino acids are also important in the process of digestion as they form the digestive enzymes necessary to break down food.

Good Sources

Fresh meat, poultry, offal, fish, milk, eggs, cheeses, nuts, pulses and seeds including wholegrains.

Poor Sources

Bought pies, TV dinners, sausages and hamburgers, salamis, pates and other processed meats, and twice-cooked meats.


Provide energy and build cell walls. Both animal (including fish) and vegetable fats are necessary as part of a healthy diet.
Polyunsaturated fats are found in vegetables, nuts, unheated vegetables and fish oils, all of which should be included in the diet. Monounsaturates such as olive oil are more beneficial in balancing cholesterol levels.

For inspiration on how to incorporate these dietary essentials into the foods you eat check out our Fabulous Recipes and our Healthy Eating section that details information on positive eating and therapeutic foods.

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