Nutrition and infertility: Is there a connection?
Infertility is such a touchy subject. People walking through infertility who desire to have children deal with a wide range of emotions and may be willing to try anything to become pregnant. This strong desire and motivation to have children leads infertile couples and individuals to ask themselves, is there anything I can do to become pregnant?
Does nutrition impact fertility?
In an environment where there are many unsubstantiated claims about nutrition and health, this one is true—your nutrition can and does impact your fertility. The overall nutrient quality of your diet and diet pattern influences fertility in both men and women. Diets heavy in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, plant-based proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy are associated with better fertility than diets high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. This same diet pattern that can promote better fertility also addresses medical conditions that are associated with infertility such as obesity, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.
Not only can overall diet quality improve fertility, but specific nutrients can as well. Both men and women dealing with infertility can benefit from additional folate. Many other nutrients continue to be studied and a dietitian may make specific recommendations based on the latest research.
For those dealing with infertility, use nutrition as leverage to increase the chances of getting pregnant. Here’s how:
- Increase daily fruit and vegetable intake
- Decrease intake of concentrated sweets
- Decrease intake of high fat foods
- Add variety to the diet with legumes, plant-based foods, and color (Think: red, orange, and dark green vegetables, to name a few)
- Make sure to eat dark leafy greens regularly
- Replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains
Although many things contribute to fertility, nutrition is one aspect that can be changed and work to one’s advantage. Don’t let a poor quality diet decrease the chances of becoming pregnant.
If you have more questions about pregnancy and fertility, it’s always a great idea to speak with a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are the only credentialed experts qualified to address your unique health questions.
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