While some couples conceive without a problem, others try for years before getting pregnant.
There are a lot of myths around what both men and women should and shouldn’t do if they want to increase their chances of conception, but a study has found just how much what you eat can have an effect.
Harvard University researchers conducted the review, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, by assessing existing data linking nutrition and fertility.
They concluded that for the highest chance of getting pregnant, both men and women should eat a diet rich in fish, poultry, whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Doing so, they say, boosts women’s fertility and improves the quality of men’s semen.
The results, however, can be broken down more specifically between men and women.
Women should eat:
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Fruits and vegetables
Men should eat:
- Dark chocolate
- Citrus fruits
- Whole grains
And with regard to what not to eat, both men and women should try and limit their intake of trans fatty acids, which are found in processed foods like cake, biscuits and margarine.
Dairy, soy, alcohol and caffeine, however, were found neither to help or hinder fertility.
For men, it’s important to keep their antioxidant levels up, which is why berries, citrus fruits and dark chocolate are all good foods to eat.
When it comes to red meat and fish, the researchers say that if it has been exposed to “high levels of environmental contamination” it “may be cause for concern,” but more research needs to be done in the area.
However the study authors accept that the results shouldn’t be taken as gospel as more research needs to be done before a definitive list of foods to eat and avoid can be written.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to go.
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