Trying to get pregnant? Try the fertility diet

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Women trying to get pregnant could boost their chances by adopting a “fertility diet” high in nuts and avocados while cutting down on coffee and alcohol, according to U.S researchers.

File photo shows a customer grabbing a handful of pistachios at a specialty nuts shop in Tehran, March 17, 2000. Women trying to get pregnant could boost their chances by adopting a "fertility diet" high in nuts, according to U.S researchers. REUTERS/Str Old

Boston-based researchers found the majority of cases of infertility due to ovulation disorders in otherwise healthy women could be prevented through diet and lifestyle changes.

“The dietary and lifestyle choices women make as they try to get pregnant can impact profoundly their fertility,” Dr. Jorge E. Chavarro of Harvard School of Public Health, who worked on the study, told Reuters Health.

The fertility diet is characterized by higher consumption of monounsaturated fat rather than trans fats which is found in natural foods like nuts and avocados, and olive oil.

Women should also opt for vegetable protein rather than animal protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates like whole grains, moderate consumption of high-fat dairy, multivitamins, and iron from plants and supplements, Chavarro’s team reports.

Other changes women can make to their lifestyle promote fertility include cutting back on coffee and alcohol, increased physically activity, and staying away from cigarettes.

The research was based on 8 years of Chavarro and colleagues tracking the diet and lifestyle patterns of 17,544 women as they tried to get pregnant or became pregnant. None of them had a history of infertility.

According to the team, greater adherence to the fertility diet pattern was associated with a lower risk of infertility due to ovulation disturbances and, to a lesser extent, of infertility due to other causes.

Women with the highest fertility diet score, compared with those with the lowest, had a 66-percent lower risk of infertility due to ovulation problems and a 27-percent lower risk of infertility due to other causes, Chavarro and colleagues report in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The combination of five or more low-risk lifestyle factors, including weight control, physical activity and diet, was associated with a 69-percent lower risk of ovulation-related infertility.

The researchers also found, consistent with earlier reports, that increased body weight raises the risk of infertility due to ovulation disorders.

“Women trying to become pregnant could consider following these lifestyle practices because they are consistent with an overall healthy lifestyle and may also help them become pregnant,” the researchers said.