Here’s how your food habits can impact your fertility


By Dr. Kalyani Shrimali, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility shared about how important food habits are when it comes to fertility. She also listed out foods to include and avoid.

Diet has always gained our attention and been an important topic when it comes to fertility. There seems to be a diet for everything in this day and age. For couples who are trying to conceive, getting the nutrition right seems like the logical first step. Many of us enjoy burgers, french-fries and coke especially throughout our younger years. Though we know that consuming junk food isn’t good for us, many don’t know to what extent. Regular intake of saturated and trans-fats, salt and sugar, is the biggest enemy in anybody’s diet. 

They not only increase the risk of non-communicable diseases but also slow down the process of conceiving. Yes, you read it right. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is key when you’re trying to conceive. Being on the higher end of the weight spectrum can cause irregular periods and interfere with ovulation. According to a study in Commonwealth countries and their dietary habits, 5598 women participated in it and their one month diet before conception information was recollected at the 14th to 16th week of their pregnancies along with the usual demographic information. 

The results showed that the majority of women in the study got pregnant within a couple of months of beginning to try, and the difference in time to conception between those consuming no fast food and those consuming the highest amount was actually 2 to 4 weeks. Fast food consumers were at a slightly higher risk of having fertility problems, and the women took longer than 12 months to conceive. In any case, it’s not possible to remove the influence of the many other personal, health and lifestyle factors that may contribute to fertility problems.

A balanced diet 
Fertility experts across the globe also suggest that a balanced diet boosts the conceiving process. But that doesn’t mean an individual needs to go on a special diet if she is trying for a baby. Ensuring eating a balanced diet, with at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day can make a huge difference. Binging on junk food increases the body’s weight. Problems with your weight can lead to fertility problems. Also, eating lots of junk food at once can lead to your blood sugar spiking. Since there is a theory that insulin and fertility are connected, this is probably not good for your fertility health. 

Having a well-balanced diet with a variety of vitamins and nutrients helps to improve the oocyte or egg quality as well as sperm integrity. Nutrients like Omega-3 and antioxidants like vitamin C can help to protect eggs from damage due to increase stress levels or lifestyle changes. Folic acid is an integral vitamin which when in adequate quantity in the bloodstream helps to prevent fetal abnormalities.

Male fertility is equally at stake 
Sperm quality also matters when it comes to conceiving because sperm is responsible for making half of the child. There are certain nutritional deficiencies and chemicals that could damage the DNA. A healthy, nutrient-rich diet will help to prevent sperm damage and promote sperm health. Zinc, Vitamin C, selenium, and many other nutrients can help to increase sperm mobility, motility, and health. 

Foods to avoid
Processed meats:
Eating the wrong kind of meat can affect your fertility. Studies show that men who consume a lot of processed meat, such as hamburgers, bacon, salami, and hot dogs, will have twenty-three percent less sperm than those who eat smaller amounts.

High mercury fish: Both men and women can be affected by few fishes, which are rich in mercury. This substance will damage the omega-3 in the body and lower fertility. Some of the fish with the highest mercury content include king mackerel, swordfish, shark, tuna steak, and tilefish. You should avoid these and have seafood such as shellfish that are rich in zinc, and salmon that are rich in omega-3.

Aerated drinks: A study has shown that regular drinking of sugar-sweetened drinks or beverages—a little more than one serving each day—is connected to poorer sperm motility. If you are drinking sugary beverages, including soda, sweet tea or sports drinks, your insulin resistance can increase and this will in turn result in oxidative stress. 

Overall, infertility is as much a man’s problem as a woman’s. For this reason, you need to eat healthy foods to increase your chances of conceiving. Eating right is great for your overall health and your reproductive health as well. By achieving a healthy weight, avoiding unhealthy diets, and making sure you get the right nutrients, you can increase your chances of getting pregnant faster.

By Dr. Kalyani Shrimali, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility.

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