The food you eat when trying to conceive is just as important as what you eat during pregnancy. While certain foods can boost fertility in both men and women, other foods can delay conception or even prevent it altogether. Below are the foods that you should cut out of your diet while trying to conceive.
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Studies show that whole-fat dairy products can improve fertility in women, while low-fat dairy has the opposite effect. The healthy fats in milk help regulate hormone levels, so avoid products such as skim milk and fat-free cheese whenever possible in order to lessen the risk of ovulatory infertility.
Fermented products, such as soy sauce, pickles, yogurt, and aged cheeses are all highly acidic. An acidic diet can harm your chances of conception by making cervical mucus hostile to sperm, which are much more suited to a neutral pH environment. Leafy greens and baby carrots are great alkaline foods that can help counter acidic foods.
Soy beans and other soy-derived products such as vegetable oil, soy sauce, and soy milk contain plant estrogen that can make conception more difficult, especially for women that are already dealing with infertility. A diet high in soy-based products creates hormonal imbalances, and the excessive omega-6 fatty acid levels in vegetable oil can cause inflammation that may affect ovulation.
Not only is soda extremely acidic, but the sugar and caffeine it contains can interfere with conception. The fluctuations in insulin levels caused by sugar can result in hormone imbalances, while high caffeine intake has been linked to increased risk of infertility an miscarriage.
While fish can serve as an excellent source of nutrients before and during pregnancy, certain fish contain potentially dangerous levels of mercury, which takes time for the body to expel. Canned white tuna is the most common high-mercury fish that most people are likely to encounter, but women seeking to conceive should also avoid shark, swordfish, and tilefish.
While trans fats are becoming less and less common, it is still very important to check labels on food you purchase, especially candy, fried foods, and other fast food products. Even small amounts of trans fats can have harmful effects on fertility–research suggests that consuming trans fats can increase the risk of ovulatory infertility by as much as 50%. Trans fats are harmful for men, too: men who consume trans fats regularly have significantly lower sperm counts.
While it is vital to monitor your diet during pregnancy, many people don’t realize how important the foods you eat can be even before conception has occurred. By cutting the above foods from your diet, it is possible to boost fertility and greatly reduce the risk of ovulatory infertility or other complications that could prevent you from becoming pregnant.