When couples are having difficulty conceiving, they often feel like there is very little that they can control. After all, they can do “everything right” 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, 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.
Here are my five all-time favorite tips to improve your fertility by dieting healthy:
1. 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.” 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 count. So watch the coffee too!
2. Watch the sugar! Obstetrician Niels Lauersen, co-author of Eat, Love, Get Pregnant: A Couple’s Guide to Boosting Fertility and Having a Healthy Baby, asserts 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. Unfortunately, we still use powerful pesticides in much of American farming. Atrazine has been repeatedly shown to be an endocrine disruptor, and men who work regularly with Atrazine are found to have a lower sperm count.
3. 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.
4. 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!
5. 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!
So take control of your plate while you are trying to conceive. It’s the little things that can not only make us feel better, but also determine our fertility.
|Pamela Madsen was the first Executive Director of RESOLVE NYC and is the Founder of The American Fertility Association. Pamela is an internationally known fertility advocate who has appeared on Oprah and countless other major media outlets. Currently, Pamela is a fertility coach and publisher of The Fertility Advocate. She is also a blogger for Psychology Today and SpermCheck Fertility.