Let’s get 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, taking control of your nutrition can be empowering. The tenets of The Fertility Diet are gathered from a large, scientific study done at Harvard on diet and fertility, which is based on the work of Drs. Jorge Chavarro and Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health.
Instead of having to sort through all these studies, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Below are five takeaways to help you understand The Fertility Diet. The best part about these tips? They make for a healthful diet regardless of whether you are trying to conceive. In fact, this diet was ranked #8 best diet overall by US News & World Report, even for those not trying to conceive.
Whole grains for the win
When it comes to carbohydrates, it’s about quality over quantity. This means less focus on how many carbs you're eating, and more on the quality of the carbs. Quality carbs are unprocessed, full of fiber and digested slowly (think: whole grains). Ditch the refined, processed carbohydrates (think white bread, pastas, cookies, sugared sodas), which are full of sugar and lacking fiber.
Choose these complex carbs: brown rice, oats, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta as well as fruits, vegetables and legumes.
Stick to the good fats
Avoid trans fats (mostly hidden in fried foods, baked goods, margarines) at all cost. But don't fear all fats! Your diet should include foods high in unsaturated fats – every. single. day.
Filled with good, unsaturated fats: olive oil, nuts, salmon, avocados, nut butters, and flax seeds.
According to Harvard's Nurses Health Study, 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. Try to include more plant-based protein in your diet.
Fill up on these plant-based proteins: lentils, quinoa, nuts, seeds, beans, nut butters, and chickpeas.
Yogurt and Cheese and Ice Cream, Oh My!
Yes, we are suggesting the occasional bowl of ice cream! According to Harvard's Nurses Health Study, 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.
Opt for these full fat dairy treats (in moderation!): 4% yogurt, whole milk, and ice cream.
Being both underweight or overweight can affect your ability to conceive. If you are trying to conceive, aim for a weight that falls within the ‘sweet spot,’ or a BMI between 20 and 24. Don’t fear if you aren’t in this zone. Even small changes in the right direction can have a significant impact.
By FertileGirl Advisor, Sarah M. Rueven, MS, RDN, CDN