Young woman holding a bag full of vegetablesCouples who are in fertility treatments typically are doing everything they can to promote reproductive health and facilitate success for their assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment. One of many things to consider when you are trying to conceive is what foods you should eat and which foods to avoid.

With that end in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the foods you should eat and which ones to avoid at all costs:

What You Should Eat

Fruits and vegetables: When it comes to nutrient-dense foods, there simply isn’t a better option than fruits and vegetables. There is no vegetable or fruit that you should avoid, with the possible exception of soybeans (because of the natural estrogen disrupters present in them). From kiwis to berries, from yams to leafy kale, fruits and vegetables have every nutrient you can think of that your body needs for a healthy reproductive system.

Yogurt: Low-fat or fat-free yogurt is high in calcium, protein and potassium. In addition, it helps restore a balance of healthy bacteria in your digestive system. Some studies have indicated that occasional consumption of full-fat yogurt is also beneficial to women who are trying to conceive. Opt for varieties that are low in sugar.

Eggs: Containing 12 vitamins and minerals, eggs are an economical and protein-packed food. Eggs are particularly good for those patients who need to drop a little extra weight to achieve a healthy BMI for conception. They fill you up for longer, keeping you away from empty-calorie snacks that destroy your weight-loss efforts.

Lean sources of protein: Protein is important to your overall health, but it needn’t wreck your diet by consisting of fat and calorie-filled sources like red meat and pork. Look to leaner white meats like chicken and turkey, beans and salmon and other cold-water fish (avoiding those fish high in mercury content).

Nuts: Another excellent source of protein is nuts. Some nuts have the added benefit of supplying zinc, a critical part of male and female fertility health. Walnuts in particular have been shown to have direct benefits to male fertility health.

What You Shouldn’t Eat

Processed foods: Sure, processed foods are easier, more convenient and in many cases inexpensive. The price to your fertility health that you pay for the additives, salt, fat and sugars, however, is not worth it.

Trans fats: Another reason to avoid processed foods is trans fats. They are a byproduct of hydrogenated oil (something food manufacturers add to foods to make them taste better and last longer on shelves). Trans fats are bad for everyone, but even worse for women who are trying to conceive as they have been shown to affect ovulation.

Caffeine: While there are few among us who don’t love their coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages, they are not great for you when you are trying to conceive. One of the side effects of too much caffeine is that it restricts blood flow to the uterus, which can have negative effects on implantation of the embryo into the endometrial lining.

If you are trying to conceive, what you eat (and what you avoid) is critical to your reproductive health. Fertility is a complicated entity, and for those struggling with infertility, it can be difficult to know what you can do to help. One thing you can absolutely do that will help your doctor is to adopt a fertility diet rich in nutrients your body needs to help you make your dreams of family a reality.

Sources:

“6 Fertility Superfoods and 5 Foods to Avoid.” www.cbs.news.com. Web. 3 November 2014. < http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/082708_fert.pdf>

“List of 10 Superfood for Your Diet.” www.webmd.com. Web. 3 November 2014. < http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10-everyday-super-foods?page=2>