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What to Eat (and What to Avoid!) When Trying to Conceive

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find a magic combination of foods that would reverse infertility? As long as we are wishing, it would also be nice if those foods were delicious, low in calories, and easy to prepare. Ahhhh, if only wishing made it so!

Despite any myths you may have come across online, there are no magical food combinations that will instantly lead to pregnancy. There are, however, foods that can help aid your fertility, as well as foods that can inhibit it. Here’s an overview of the foods you should eat – and the ones you should avoid – when trying to conceive:

The Right Kinds of Protein.

Research has found that the optimum diet for increasing fertility (egg quality, embryo quality, pregnancy rates, birth rates) was 30% protein and less than 40% carbohydrates1. For most women, this means increasing the amount of protein they eat. But not all protein is created equal when you are trying to get pregnant: avoid deep-sea fish, such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish, as these can contain mercury2.

Stay Away from Fast Food.

Fast foods and processed food increase your exposure to trans fats and environmental toxins, both of which should be avoided when trying to get pregnant2.

Go Organic.

When possible, it is good to choose foods with less pesticide exposure, such as organic fruits, vegetable, fish, and meat products2,3. The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) has lists to make it easier to avoid foods that are particularly high in pesticides.

Take a multi-vitamin. 

If you are trying to conceive, it’s a good idea to start taking a daily multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid4.

 

References

 

  1. Russell, JB et al. “Does Changing a Patient’s Dietary Consumption of Proteins and Carbohydrates Impact Blastocyst Development and Clinical Pregnancy Rates from One Cycle to the Next?” Fertility and Sterility3 (2012): S47. October 23, 2012. Web. Accessed January 10, 2017. Available at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282%2812%2900901-6/fulltext.
  2. “Will Toxins in the Environment Affect My Ability to Have Children?” American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2014. Accessed January 10, 2017. Available at: https://www.asrm.org/FACTSHEET_Will_toxins_in_the_environment_affect_my_ability_to_have_children.
  3. “EWG’s Healthy Home Tips: Tip 15 – Healthy Pregnancy.” Environmental Working Group. Accessed January 10, 2017. Available at: http://www.ewg.org/research/healthy-home-tips/healthy-pregnancy.
  4. Czeizel AE et al. “The Effect of Preconceptional Multivitamin Supplementation on Fertility.” J. Vit. Nutr. Res. 66: 55-58. June 6, 1995. Accessed January 10, 2017. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andrew_Czeizel/
    publication/14502863_The_effect_of_preconceptional_multivitamin_supplementation_on_fertility
    /links/55f0144a08ae199d47c04897.pdf
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