Can Diet Play a Role in My Fertility?

Can Diet Play a Role in My Fertility?

It’s hard to find an area of your health that isn’t directly or indirectly influenced by your diet and this includes your ability to get pregnant. Here’s a look at how improvements in your diet can promote fertility.

Whether you’re among the one in five women in the United States who hasn’t conceived after a year of trying or you simply want to do what you can to boost your chances, paying attention to your diet can help.

Although many things can affect fertility, the team of women’s health providers here at Bay Area Physicians for Women’s Health wants to take a closer look at the role your diet plays in your ability to build the family of your dreams.

Eating for conception

The benefits of a healthy diet are almost without limit and can improve nearly every area of your health, which includes your fertility health.

To give you an idea, we’re going to focus on a recent study out of Harvard University that studied the effects of diet among women who were trying to conceive naturally. What they found is quite interesting.

To start, the researchers found that certain substances that many assumed affected fertility, negatively or positively, in fact, had no effect. These include:

  • Caffeine
  • Antioxidants
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy products
  • Soy

The study did find evidence that an unhealthy diet full of trans fat (a meat-and-potatoes diet) negatively impacts fertility.

Now, let’s turn our attention to what works to improve fertility, which includes:

  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin B12
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

The study found that women who favored a Mediterranean diet, which focuses on fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and lean proteins, were able to positively influence their fertility. This diet also naturally contains the vitamins and nutrients we list above.

A great way to think about the Mediterranean diet is to view it as the opposite of processed foods. So, instead of eating out of cans and boxes, head to the produce section and then over to the fish and chicken counter and purchase foods that are as close to their natural forms as possible.

A word about weight

We can’t talk about diet without bringing up how carrying extra weight can affect your fertility. More than 42% of US women are obese, and this condition can be problematic when it comes to conception and pregnancy.

The risk of infertility among women who have obesity is three times higher than among women who are of average weight. Obesity can interfere with fertility in many ways, including:

  • Increased risk for endometriosis
  • Ovary dysfunction
  • Increased risk for polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Irregular menstrual cycles

The effect that obesity can have on your ability to conceive is varied, but there’s little doubt that the excess weight can interfere with your fertility.

If you have more questions about how your diet can influence your fertility or you’re struggling with fertility and would like to see one of our specialists, please contact our staff in Mobile, Alabama, to set up an appointment.