Are you trying to get pregnant? If so, you may be wondering how you can improve your chances of conceiving. There are many different things that you can do to increase your fertility, including eating a fertility diet. A fertility diet is designed to help optimize your health and increase your chances of getting pregnant. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of a fertility diet and provide some tips for following one.
There is some evidence that suggests a fertility diet can improve your chances of getting pregnant. A study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found that women who followed a fertility diet were more likely to conceive than those who did not follow one. The study showed that the women who followed the fertility diet had a 56% success rate, compared to a 38% success rate for the women who did not follow one.
There are a variety of diets that different fertility experts recommend. “In basic terms, a fertility diet adds more nutrition and more balanced meals and snacks to someone’s lifestyle,” says Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, a registered dietitian, and author of the best-selling book The Better Period Food Solution. While some experts advocate for more specific methods like the ketogenic diet or going gluten-/dairy-free, most fertility diets include similar components: healthy fats, colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans and lentils, lean protein, and whole grains.
“The scientific evidence suggests that a diet like the Mediterranean diet may have a beneficial impact on fertility,” says Dr. Rashmi Kudesia of CCRM Houston, reproductive endocrinologist, an infertility specialist.
“The Harvard researchers who conducted a research in 2007 that looked at the diets of over 17,000 women attempting to conceive coined the phrase ‘fertility diet,’” explains Sarah Rueven, a professional nutritionist and owner of Rooted Wellness. The study discovered that eating a high-quality diet might boost fertility chances.
According to researchers, women who ate more monounsaturated fat (and less trans fat), had more plant-based protein (and less animal-based protein), consumed more complex carbohydrates like whole grains (and less processed carbs), and increased their high-fat dairy diet in place of low-fat dairy had a 66% lower chance of infertility owing to not ovulating, also known as anovulatory infertility.
Is your diet rich in nutrients that boost fertility? According to research from Harvard Medical School, eating certain foods and avoiding others can help improve your ovulatory function. “Eating as if you’re already pregnant may actually assist prepare your body for pregnancy,” says Sarah Krieger, R.D., a nutritionist based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Here are some pointers on how to have a nutritious pregnancy while still eating like there’s no tomorrow.
Consume 1 or 2 servings per day of whole milk or other full-fat dairy items (such as yogurt) while reducing non- and low-fat dairy. “We discovered that the greater the proportion of low-fat dairy products in a woman’s diet, the more difficult it was for her to conceive,” says Walter Willett, M.D., a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard University School of Public Health and one of the study’s authors. Because of this, a high intake of low-fat dairy has been linked to an increased risk of ovulatory infertility, in comparison to high-fat dairy. However, take a moment to consider how you might replace one serving per day sensibly, perhaps by including whole milk instead of skim into your tea instead.
You may want to completely eliminate dairy from your fertility diet if you’re having difficulties conceiving. “We are being exposed at an exponential rate, and we consume a lot more milk,” Vitti explains. “These extra hormones might interfere with the conversation that the brain is attempting to have with the endocrine system, particularly your ovaries.” If you need to stop drinking milk for some reason, be sure to talk to your doctor about how best to replace your calcium intake.
It is also advised that you increase the amount of yogurt in your diet, ideally homemade or Greek style, which is one of the most fertility-friendly foods. Why? The probiotic microorganisms may help your future kid’s health. Female mice who ate yogurt rather than junk food had bigger litters, according to research conducted at MIT. It also improved semen quality in male mice.
To improve egg quality, fill your plate with fruit and vegetables. According to a study published in the Harvard School of Public Health, women who ate more trans fats, sugar from carbohydrates, and animal proteins had a greater risk of ovulatory disorder. The cure? Make sure half of your meal every day is made up of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Watermelon and asparagus, in addition to other uncooked fruits and vegetables, provide a rich glutathione content, which is critical for egg quality. “Kale is another strong vegetable since it includes components required for estrogen metabolism,” says Alisa Vitti, integrative nutritionist.
If you don’t enjoy raw veggies, Vitti advises juicing kale and other greens. “I like recommending patients to make fresh, mostly-vegetable juices with goji berries, which have phytochemicals that are good for conception,” she adds. To prevent nutrient loss, cook vegetables in the oven for a short time without water or microwave them with just enough water.
Reduce protein from red meat and increase it from fish. Chicken, turkey, pork, and beef that have been trimmed of fat are excellent sources of protein, zinc, and iron—all-important building blocks for a healthy pregnancy. Steering clear of flabby parts can help you avoid gaining weight and interfering with estrogen levels by avoiding organochlorine pollutants. According to experts at the National Institutes of Health, avoiding blubbery bits may help you avoid packing on extra pounds that disrupt hormone levels and may also aid in avoiding endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
What about the exceptions to the skinny rule? Canned light tuna, salmon, and sardines are good sources of DHA and omega-3 fatty acids. They also contribute to the development of your baby’s nervous system and reduce your risk of early delivery. Other types, such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel should be avoided because they contain high levels of mercury.
Eggs, like meat, are an excellent source of protein in a fertility diet. “They’re known for having a high cholesterol count, but the yolk has very high levels of protein and choline, a vitamin that aids fetal brain growth,” she adds.
Opt for plant-based protein (beans, nuts, seeds, and tofu) when picking foods to boost fertility. They’re high in essential fatty acids and relatively low in calories, making them useful for weight reduction. According to one study, the risk of ovulatory problems is reduced by half when 5% of your total calorie intake comes from plant proteins. The Harvard Public Health research also revealed that animal protein consumption was linked to a 39 percent higher chance of infertility in women. Beans are an excellent source; so are nuts, seeds, and other legumes such as lentils and chickpeas.
In moderation, you may enjoy healthy, plant-based fats. Nuts, avocados, olive oil, and grapeseed oil can reduce inflammation in the body, which can help to promote regular ovulation and general fertility. Some excellent fats may even aid women who are having trouble getting pregnant. “Studies have shown that consuming a specific quantity of monounsaturated fats found in avocados during the IVF cycle increased the success rate by three and a half times compared to women who did not eat good plant-based foods,” Vitti explains.
Avoid all trans fats and eat more healthy unsaturated fats. Trans fats (found in commercial baked and snack foods, animal products, french fries, and some margarine) promote insulin resistance. Insulin is responsible for moving glucose from the circulation to the cells; resistance prevents this from happening. The pancreas continues to release more insulin regardless, causing a greater amount of glucose to be present in the blood. High levels of insulin cause a slew of metabolic problems that can affect ovulation, therefore they should be avoided when attempting to conceive.
Eat more complex carbohydrates (such as whole grains, brown rice, and legumes) and fewer highly processed carbs. Your body processes poor carbs (like cookies, cakes, white bread, and white rice) rapidly, turning them into sugar. The pancreas releases insulin into the circulation in order to reduce the blood-sugar surge—and studies have shown that high insulin levels seem to prevent ovulation.
Carbs with a low glycemic index (those that are high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains) are slowly digested and have a more modest impact on blood sugar levels. Buckwheat is high in fertility-friendly B vitamins, vitamin E, and fiber. “I like buckwheat because it contains d-chiro-inositol, which helps to improve ovulation,” Krieger adds.
Although the jury is still out on whether or not dairy causes cancer, some women have found that cutting gluten out of their diet helps them feel better. “Gluten activates an inflammatory response in the body that increases C-reactive protein and sends signals to the body that it’s not the ideal time to get pregnant,” Vitti adds. “It makes implantation more difficult and has been shown to stop ovulation.”
For the sake of variety, eat a quarter of your plate with more complex carbohydrates like brown rice. It may also be worth experimenting with different grains, such as amaranth, millet, and quinoa. They’ll help you stay fuller for longer while maintaining good blood sugar levels.
Sugary drinks and processed sweeteners: Reduce sugar intake and stick to less-processed sweeteners. High doses of sweets can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, causing problems with insulin and overall hormonal balance. For your fertility diet, omit sweets and other sugary drinks, including fruit juice, energy beverages, and sweet teas. Sugared colas have been linked to menstrual irregularity. That does not, however, indicate that you should replace them with artificially sweetened alternatives. “Artificial sweeteners are stressors on the body; they cause a cortisol response, which stops ovulation,” Vitti explains. Choose less-processed sweeteners with lower glycemic loads, such as agave syrup, honey, maple syrup, and stevia (a natural zero-calorie sweetener), if you want something sugary (and who can blame you?).
Caffeine: In moderation, drink coffee and tea. According to Harvard research, drinking numerous cups of coffee or tea each day had minimal influence on ovulation issues—but it may contribute to dehydration. “Our morning cup of coffee is the most detrimental thing we can do from a dehydration standpoint,” says Angela Chaudhari, M.D., a gynecologic surgeon and assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. The high amount of caffeine in coffee, energy drinks, and teas causes your mucus membranes to dry up, which can alter the consistency of your cervical fluid. To keep your mucus membranes moist, stick to no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day. You may want to increase the amount of decaf tea you drink. According to on some research, herbal tea may be an excellent fertility food.
Soy: Processed soy, in particular powders and energy bars, should be avoided. Soy may have a detrimental influence on fertility, according to some experts. In these items, big quantities of soy protein isolate are said to contain estrogen-mimicking qualities that can throw off your hormonal balance. “You’re getting a lot more phytoestrogens in one serving than you would if you ate an entire bowl of edamame,” Vitti points out. Men, in particular, should avoid eating them since they might lower testosterone levels. Edamame and tempeh are okay in moderation, as are fermented soy products like miso paste or natto. “When we consume soy in its most natural form, such as it is consumed in other countries such as Japan and China, it’s very beneficial to the body,” says Krieger.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol in excess of two to three glasses per day can deplete your body fluids, resulting in dehydration. As a result, some experts advocate restricting alcohol in your fertility diet. Limit alcohol intake to two to three glasses spread out over the course of a week.
A fertility diet is not about increasing female fertility specifically but improving overall health and hormonal balance, which can in turn improve fertility.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as different foods may be more or less beneficial for different men. Some general tips include eating plenty of protein and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables while avoiding processed foods and excessive caffeine intake.
While it is certainly possible to get pregnant even if you eat fast food occasionally, experts generally recommend limiting your consumption of unhealthy foods in order to optimize your overall health—including your fertility. Eating a nutritious diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is always a good idea whether you’re trying to conceive or not.
Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, some general tips include eating plenty of protein and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, while avoiding processed foods and excessive caffeine intake. Additionally, it may be wise to limit your alcohol intake in order to optimize your fertility.
Yes, it is still possible to get pregnant even if you have an irregular period. If you are concerned about your fertility or suspect that you may have a problem with ovulation, it is important to speak with your doctor. They can help assess your situation and recommend any necessary treatment.
Following a fertility-friendly diet is one way to improve your chances of getting pregnant. By avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and unhealthy foods, and eating plenty of protein and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, you can help create a healthy environment for conception. If you have any concerns about your fertility or suspect that you may have a problem with ovulation, it is important to speak with your doctor. They can help assess your situation and recommend any necessary treatment.