Despite our best efforts, there are few things you can actually control when trying to conceive a baby. After all, you can do “everything right” such as time ovulation, find the perfect reproductive endocrinologist, research ancient baby making techniques, find the perfect fertility diet, do yoga for stress reduction, and still not achieve a pregnancy.
It’s the “out of control” part of baby-making that is often so triggering to our emotions. And if we get to the point that we have consulted a fertility specialist and even started high tech baby making techniques such as IVF, we often feel like there is very little we can do except follow the directions given to us and wait.
I have found in my years as a fertility advocate and Founder of the American Fertility Association that there are meaningful and supportive ways to address the conception process that will help put some of the control back in our hands. One of the biggest things we can do to support conception and take back control is pay attention to what we put on our plates by eating with a fertility diet in mind.
5 Tips to Improve Your Fertility Diet
- Maybe it’s a good thing that in NYC you can no longer purchase soft drinks in containers larger than 16oz, at least when it comes to male fertility. In a recent Danish Study Tina Kold Jensen, et al. published Caffeine Intake and Semen Quality in a Population of 2,554 Young Danish Men. The American Journal of Epidemiology reported that men who drink at least a quart of cola daily have low-to-normal sperm counts almost 30 percent lower than men who drink no cola when they underwent semen analysis. This study points strongly to caffeine as a factor that lowers sperm counts. So watch the coffee too!
- Watch the sugar and soy products! Many fertility nutritionists believe that high-fructose corn syrup, which can be found in so many different products, can lead to insulin resistance which disrupts fertility. We all know about eating green and organic, but when it comes to fertility, we really want to pay attention. Some studies have found that large quantities of soy protein can inhibit fertility. If you like munching on a few edamame now and then, that’s OK, but if you are experiencing infertility problems, it may help to drop the soy milk, tofu, and tempeh from your diet.
- According to a Harvard-affiliated study, J.E. Chavarro, et al. A Prospective Study of Dairy Foods Intake and Anovulatory Infertility, dairy may taste great and be a wonderful source of protein, but women who enjoy low-fat dairy products on a daily basis face an 85 percent higher risk of ovulatory infertility than women who stay away or don’t eat any low-fat dairy products.
- French Fries may go great with your burger, but if you are a man wanting to take control over his sperm count, you might want to skip the fries. High levels of trans-fatty acids – the kind found in french fries, doughnuts, chips and fried Chicken can also reduce sperm count as well as make your heart very unhappy!
- Eat fresh, not canned! Men who are exposed to large quantities of bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in the manufacture of canned foods, have sperm counts about 23 percent lower than men with no BPA exposure. The Food and Drug Administration is currently supporting the shift to alternatives, and some canned products are labeling that they are BPA free! So check it out before you eat that canned soup!
When you are trying to conceive a baby, you can’t control everything. But you can take control of your plate. Talk to your doctor or seek the guidance of a nutritionist regarding changes you can make to your diet. This might not only help the baby-making process, it might even make you feel better!