The ultimate guide to fertility foods: the good, the bad, and the ugly
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you’ll want to cover all your bases – including, of course, your diet. What fertility foods should you consume more of, and what should you avoid? This Harvard study, which followed 18,000 women trying to get pregnant over the course of 8 years, gives us all the answers.
Fertility Foods: The Good
#1: Beans and other plant protein
What’s the difference between animal protein and plant protein? According to the Harvard study, women who took in more animal protein than plant protein had a whopping 39% higher chance of infertility. Those are some pretty bad odds – so swap out your beef and poultry for beans, tofu, or nuts instead.
According to co-author of the Harvard study, Jorge Chavarro, full-fat milk is the “most potent” fertility food, followed by ice cream. Participants in the study who consumed a serving of full-fat dairy product a day significantly decreased their chances of experiencing ovulatory infertility, and found it easier to conceive.
Fertility Foods: The Bad
#1: Non-complex carbs
It’s not the amount of carbs you consume – as evidenced by the finding that both groups of women who consumed carbs excessively and minimally were equally likely to be at risk of infertility.
Instead, the defining factor lies in how complex these carbs are. Women in the study who consumed the most easily digestible, non-complex carbs such as bread and cereal were 92% more likely to experience ovulatory infertility, as opposed to women who consumed the least of these non-complex carbs.
Fertility Foods: The Ugly
#1: Fast food
In the same study, it was found that the trans fats from fast food and processed food increase insulin resistance. When this happens, you get a surge of insulin in your bloodstream, which will interfere with your metabolism and likewise, your ovulation.
If that seems like a rather tenuous link, here are some numbers to put it into context: a mere 2% increase in the consumption of trans fats was correlated with a 73% increase in risk for ovulatory infertility. Time to cut McDonald’s out completely!
Maintaining an appropriate diet is critical for women who are trying to conceive; however, for a more holistic and thorough approach, other factors such as sleeping patterns, stress levels, and exercise regimes should also be taken into consideration.
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