When you’re trying to conceive, there are a fair amount of unknowns. Likewise, there are certain things you can’t control. But when it comes to your diet, new research is constantly suggesting that the food you eat (or don’t eat) can have major impacts on your fertility. There are now dozens of books on the market, telling you the best foods to eat and which to avoid. There is so much information out there, that it can be tough to know where to begin.
In order to make it simple, we’re breaking down the best and worst fertility foods.
Foods to boost fertility:
1) Organic fruits- It should be no surprise that filling up on colorful fruits, like berries, apples, watermelon, pineapple and more are great for fertility. They are packed with tons of important vitamins and antioxidants your body needs to regulate hormones and stay healthy.
2) Vegetables/leafy greens- Likewise, veggies, especially leafy greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli, are high in folate, an essential vitamin for ovulation. They also nourish your body in all kinds of ways, from keeping you full and satisfied, to reducing weight gain and bloat.
3) Beans, beans, beans- Foods that are rich in iron, like beans and lentils, are known to increase fertility and libido. They are also a far better way to get your iron than red meat, which is known to increase insulin levels and disrupt ovulation.
4) Eggs- Because they are high in protein, vitamins and essential fats, eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. But they also contain choline, which studies have shown has lasting effects on a developing fetus.
5) “Good carbs”- Complex carbohydrates, known as “good carbs” have some benefits. Those that break down slowly, such as whole grains, have gradual effects on blood sugar and insulin, and therefore do not lead to blood sugar spikes. They also keep you full longer.
1) “Bad” carbs- On the contrary, simple carbohydrates that digest quickly (such as white bread, sugary cereal, cookies, and chips) cause the blood-sugar to spike. In order to drive the blood sugar down, insulin is released from the pancreas. Studies have shown that those high levels of insulin can actually inhibit ovulation.
2) Low fat dairy products- Studies have found that the more low-fat dairy products a woman had in her diet, the less likely she was to have difficulty getting pregnant. On the contrary, full fat dairy may actually be good for fertility.
3) Excess caffeine- Moderate caffeine, as in 1-2 cups per day has not been shown to negatively impact fertility. But excess caffeine can have lots of negative impacts on hormone production. Therefore 3 or more cups a day has been shown to lead to fertility problems, as well as increases in miscarriage.
4) Alcohol and refined sugar- Excess sugar can have major impacts on fertility. From issues with blood sugar, to hormone disruption, to suppressing your immune system, the list goes on. While everything is okay in small doses, and depriving yourself completely might cause you to binge later, refined sugar should definitely be limited when you’re trying to conceive. Alcohol, which metabolizes as sugar, should also be consumed in moderation.
5) Trans fats- Trans fats are most commonly found in commercial baked snack foods, have been known to increase insulin resistance. As your body continues to pump out insulin, the levels rise, which cause metabolic disturbances and are likely to affect ovulation and fertility.