Harvard Health Publication: Following the Fertility Diet

I am not sure that there is much new here for those following my blog for awhile, however it reaffirms the dietary changes other experts have suggested to improve fertility and regulate ovulation. The only thing I would add is to emphasize that meat and dairy should both be organic, and fruit/veggies as much as possible (especially the Dirty Dozen).

Follow The Fertility Diet?

Adapted from The Fertility Diet: Groundbreaking Research Reveals Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant
(McGraw-Hill) by Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Walter C. Willett, M.D.,
and Patrick J. Skerrett.

If you have been having trouble getting pregnant—or getting pregnant
again—forget about the so-called fertility foods like oysters and champagne,
garlic, ginseng, kelp, and yams. The true fertility foods are whole grains,
healthy fats, excellent protein packages, and even the occasional bowl of ice
cream. This isn’t just wishful thinking. Instead, it comes from the first
comprehensive examination of diet and fertility, an eight-year study of more
than 18,000 women that uncovered ten evidence-based suggestions for improving
fertility. This work, from the landmark Nurses’ Health Study, fills a critical
information gap on diet and fertility.

The recommendations that follow are aimed at preventing and reversing
ovulatory infertility, which accounts for one quarter or more of all cases of
infertility. They won’t work for infertility due to physical impediments like
blocked fallopian tubes. And they aren’t meant to replace a conversation with a
clinician about whether an infertility work-up is needed. The strategies
described below don’t guarantee a pregnancy any more than do in vitro
fertilization or other forms of assisted reproduction. But it’s virtually free,
available to everyone, has no side effects, sets the stage for a healthy
pregnancy, and forms the foundation of a healthy eating strategy for motherhood
and beyond. That’s a winning combination no matter how you look at it.

Avoid trans fats. These artery-clogging fats threaten
fertility as well harm the heart and blood vessels. Go trans free.

Use more unsaturated vegetable oils. Monounsaturated and
polyunsaturated fats help improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and cool
inflammation, two trends that are good for fertility. Add in more vegetable
oils, nuts, seeds, and cold water fish such as salmon and sardines. Cut back on
saturated fat.

Turn to vegetable protein. Replacing a serving of meat each
day with beans, peas, soybeans or tofu, or nuts can improve fertility.

Choose slow carbs, not no carbs. Choosing slowly digested
carbohydrates that are rich in fiber, like whole grains, vegetables, whole
fruits, and beans, instead of rapidly digested carbs can improve fertility by
controlling blood sugar and insulin levels.

Make it whole milk. Skim milk appears to promote
infertility. If you drink milk, choose whole milk while trying to get pregnant,
or have a small dish of ice cream or full-fat yogurt every day.

Take a multi-vitamin. Getting extra folic acid (400
micrograms a day) before you get pregnant could actually help you start eating
for two.

Get plenty of iron from plants. Extra iron from plants,
including whole-grain cereals, spinach, beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, and beets,
appears to promote fertility.

Drink to your health. The best beverage for keeping your
body hydrated is water. Coffee, tea, and alcohol are okay in moderation. But
skip sugared sodas—they appear to promote ovulatory infertility.

Head toward the fertility zone for weight. Weighing too much
or too little can interrupt normal menstrual cycles, throw off ovulation or stop
it altogether. The best range for fertility is a body-mass index (BMI) of 20 to
24. Working to move your BMI in that direction by gaining or losing some weight
is almost as good.

Move to the fertility zone for activity. If you don’t get
much physical activity and are above the fertility zone for weight, daily
exercise can help improve fertility. But don’t overdo it: too much exercise,
especially if you are quite lean, can interfere with ovulation.

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