Is there really a Fertility Diet?

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The number one recommendation for fertility improvement is to cut refined carbohydrates drastically! 

The number one recommendation for fertility improvement is to cut refined carbohydrates drastically! 

Some experts are suggesting that women who are trying to conceive (TTC) should limit carbs to one portion a day and cut out all white breadpasta and breakfast cereal since doing so greatly increases the chance of conceiving.

The recommendation to go low carb is based in part on a small 2013 study from the Delaware Institute for Reproductive Medicine (DIRM)

The authors analyzed the diets of 120 women who were going through IVF. 

They found that women who got at least 25 percent of their diet from protein and no more than 40 percent from carbohydrates were four times more likely to get pregnant as women who had less protein and more carbs before and during IVF.

Nutrition For Fertility

Being underweight or overweight does in fact affect fertility.

In women, being overweight is capable of increasing estrogen levels and insulin resistance in the body and can prevent a monthly menstrual cycle from taking place. ⁠

Additionally, obesity has the ability to reduce the efficiency of fertility treatments such as #IVF. Obesity may even be the result of #PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).⁠

On the other hand, being underweight will have similar results to that of obesity where ovulation becomes irregular. ⁠

In men, obesity can result in lower testosterone levels, which in turn leads to infertility due to low sperm counts. Erectile dysfunction is also an issue among men with obesity. ⁠

Men with low BMIs have demonstrated low sperm counts as well.⁠

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential

Nutrition For Fertility

However, none of these issues should stand in your way of conceiving a child. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential in maintaining fertility. Talk to your doctor about what changes you feel you should make on your journey to conceiving a child. 

Changes to your diet and exercise can make a big difference. Ensure you consume complex carbohydrates and proteins to keep you nourished. And always read those food labels! It’s important to know what you’re putting inside your body. ⁠

If you’re overweight or have a history of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), your body produces more androgen hormones (a.k.a., testosterone), which can lead to irregular periods or anovulation (where you don’t ovulate).

Women with PCOS produce more insulin. When you eat lots of carbs, the body has to produce even more insulin, which increases androgen production. And that decreases ovulation.

Healthy lifestyle changes will not only help you conceive, but they will help you maintain a healthy pregnancy, and give you energy for raising a child, plus ensure that you will have a nice, long life to enjoy your children and grandchildren! 

Make Healthy Changes

I want people to feel empowered to make some healthy changes and plan for your family. 

Carrying a few extra pounds has a large effect on the fertility of both women and men. 

The male and female reproductive systems rely on a delicate balance of hormones to function properly, and when stress is placed on these systems as a result of low or high body weight, their natural chemical rhythms begin to break down.

In particular, women who are overweight have been shown to have a higher rate of infertility and a lower IVF pregnancy rate. Obesity in men has been shown to negatively impact male fertility as it relates to sperm count and sperm motility (the rate at which sperm move).

Change Your Diet

Nutrition For Fertility

Think about your triggers, is it weekends? Late nights? Stress? Social events? and have a plan for when the urge hits. Be prepared ahead of time with an array of super healthy snacks you will actually eat. 

Healthy foods to increase in your fertility diet include:

  • Plant-based foods, including whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, and lake trout.
  • Whole grains.
  • Raw nuts.
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, etc.).
  • Extra virgin olive oil (monounsaturated fat).

What to avoid: 

  • Simple or refined carbohydrates.
  • Trans fats.
  • Highly-processed foods.
  • Alcohol (couples actively trying to get pregnant or undergoing fertility treatment should avoid drinking alcohol).
  • Excessive caffeine intake 

In many women with a BMI that is above normal, diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes have been shown to make a significant difference in a woman’s fertility potential.

About The Author

Is there really a Fertility Diet? 1

Dr. Carol Lynn Curchoe, TS (ABB) is a reproductive physiologist. Her Ph.D. research focused on animal cloning, and her postdoctoral fellowship focused on human embryonic stem cell research. 

Her previous startup experience includes being the founder and CEO of 32ATPs, where she applied her knowledge of biochemistry and biotechnology to the field of renewable energy, creating a patented biological supercapacitor. 

She is the founder of ART Compassa mobile application platform for IVF cycle management. Click here to learn more about ART Compass.

Nutrition For Fertility

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