Let’s get’s this out there right off the bat, there is no magic diet that will ensure you get pregnant. However, with so many factors out of your control when trying to conceive, eating the right foods is a non-invasive and natural way to boost your fertility that is 100% within your control. Sounds too good to be true? The tenets of “The Fertility Diet’ are based on eating patterns that are scientifically proven to be effective at increasing fertility. These findings are the result of a large Harvard study that examined the diets of over 17,000 women attempting to conceive.
But instead of having to sort through all these boring studies, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you! Below are five fertility boosting strategies. The best part about these tips? They make for a healthful diet regardless of whether you are trying to conceive!
1. Whole grains for the win
Just like your closet, when it comes to carbohydrates, it’s all about quality over quantity. Focus less on how many carbs you are eating and more on selecting high quality carbohydrates. Quality carbs = unprocessed, full of fiber and digested slowly – like whole grains. Ditch the refined, processed carbohydrates (think white bread, pastas, cookies, sugared sodas), which are full of sugar and lacking fiber.
Fertility foods to eat: brown rice, oats, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta as well as fruits, vegetables and legumes
2. Stick to the good fats
Don’t fear fat! Healthy fat, that is. Include foods high in unsaturated fats every. single. day. Avoid trans fat, which is mostly hidden in fried foods, baked goods and margarines, at all cost.
Fertility foods to eat: olive oil, nuts, salmon, avocados, nut butters, flax seeds
3. Plant power
Women who eat more animal protein are at greater risk for infertility, and the reverse is also true — women who eat more plant-based protein are less likely to struggle with infertility. Include more plant-based protein in your diet and eat lean protein (think chicken, fish, turkey) a few times a week.
Fertility foods to eat: lentils, quinoa, nuts, seeds, beans, nut butters, chickpeas
4. Yogurt and Cheese and Ice Cream, Oh My!
Yep, we are suggesting the occasional bowl of ice cream can increase your chances of getting pregnant. Women who eat more full-fat dairy are less likely to have trouble getting pregnant compared to women who select low-fat dairy products. This may be a result of additives in low-fat milk, which can disrupt our body’s natural hormonal balance.
Fertility foods to eat: 4% yogurt, whole milk, ice cream (in moderation!)
5. Size matters
Being both underweight or overweight can affect your ability to get pregnant. If you are trying to conceive, aim for a weight that falls within the ‘fertility sweet spot,’ or a BMI that falls between 20 and 24. Don’t fear if you aren’t in this zone. Even small changes in the right direction can increase your chances of getting pregnant. For example, a 5-10% loss in total body weight can lower your fasting insulin levels, which will in turn decrease testosterone levels and increase frequency of ovulation.
Articles / Studies Referenced:
Pandey S, Pandey S, Maheshwari A, Bhattacharya S. The impact of female obesity on the outcome of fertility treatment. Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences. 2010;3(2):62-67. doi:10.4103/0974-1208.69332.