You know that you’re ready. You’ve looked at your finances, your calendar and your home. You’ve talked to your significant other and/or doctor. It’s the right time in your life to get pregnant.
With all of this planning, there are certain kinds of foods that doctors and researchers claim will help boost or hurt your fertility. It should be noted that there still are a lot of uncertain answers when it comes to diet and fertility, and much more research that needs done. Let’s take a look at some of these fertile food claims.
“The Fertility Diet,” a book published by researchers at Harvard Medical School, states that fertility is increased by eating foods high in iron — from fruits, vegetables, beans or supplements, not red meat — and low in trans fats. Some examples: dark, leafy greens; lentils; chickpeas; and artichokes. Women taking multivitamins that contain folic acid also are more likely to conceive, the book claims.
Co-author Jorge Chavarro said he thinks diet affects fertility because of the relationship between the hormone insulin and ovary function. Women with normal insulin have regular ovulation cycles. Likewise, a diet with trans fats could also throw off insulin and therefore a regular ovulation cycle.
Research by the Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine released at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ annual clinical meeting this past spring stated that fertility was increased in women who maintained a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet while undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatment.
Stimulants, such as coffee, and alcohol intake also could affect fertility. Conception drops to 60% if a woman has one to five alcoholic drinks per week. Women should drink no more than three cups of coffee per day too.
Ingesting the right vitamins may also help increase fertility. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can help regulate hormones, increasing cervical fluid and promoting ovulation, while vitamin D aids estrogen production. Vitamin A also increases cervical fluid, while vitamin E normalizes hormones.
Maintaining a healthy weight will boost chances of easier conception. Women with a body mass index of 25 to 39 — classified as overweight or obese — may take twice as long to conceive than those in the normal BMI range.