If you’re trying to get pregnant, or just plan on getting pregnant within the next few months, the sooner you get your diet on the healthy track, the more your body will be prepared for this major undertaking. Additionally, it will likely be easier to conceive, as food and fertility are linked in both men and women.
Starting with cutting the following twelve foods and beverages out of your diet to get your body pregnancy-ready.
Alcohol. Now is the time for you and your partner to either cut back or eliminate alcohol consumption altogether – birth defects linked to alcohol exposure can happen before you even realize you’re pregnant. Additionally, studies have found that drinking alcohol during the week of conception, for both men and women, increases the risk of miscarriage.
Soda. Research has found that men who drink at least a quart of coca-cola a day have sperm counts that are almost 30 percent lower than men who don’t. The reasoning behind this has not been proven, but some health experts believe that the high fructose corn syrup in these unhealthy beverages may be the culprit. A high level of pesticides used in cornfields across the US have been shown to be endocrine disrupters – male corn farmers who frequently work with the chemical Atrazine, which is commonly used in corn fields, are found to have lower sperm counts.
Both soda and diet soda are known to negatively affect health in a wide variety of ways, so it’s best for both men and women to avoid these unhealthy beverages when trying to conceive.
Caffeine. Studies have found mixed results when it comes to the effects of caffeine and the ability to conceive. It’s best to play it safe and limit yourself to no more than two cups of coffee per day.
Low-fat dairy. While the government recommends that adults consume three or more servings of low-fat dairy products daily, studies have found that women who eat a lot of these foods have an 85 percent higher risk of ovulatory infertility as compared to those who consume little or none. Instead, choose whole fat dairy from healthy sources like plain, organic yogurt or organic whole milk.
Women who consume at least one daily serving of whole milk are more than 50 percent less likely to experience ovulatory infertility.
Soybeans and soy foods. Some studies have found that the consumption of large quantities of soy protein can inhibit fertility in both men and women. Unfermented soy has also been linked to a number of other health issues, so it’s best to stay away.
Canned foods. BPA, or bisphenol-A, commonly used in the lining of canned foods, has been found to affect male fertility. Men who are exposed to large quantities of this chemical have sperm counts that are about 23 percent lower than men who aren’t exposed to BPA, in addition to having a 10 percent increased risk of sperm DNA damage.
Junk food. Trans fats, which are found in many baked goods, processed foods, fried foods and most fast food, should be avoided at all costs. These fats decrease the body’s ability to react to insulin, which makes women more prone to irregular ovulation. They also affect a man’s sperm count. A Harvard-affiliated study confirmed previous rodent studies that suggested trans-fatty acids can affect spermatogenesis profoundly.
Seafood high in mercury. Fish like swordfish, king mackerel and shark are known to contain high levels of mercury, which can accumulate and linger in the body long after its consumed. This can be harmful to you and your baby’s developing nervous system. Stick to varieties of smaller fish like wild-caught salmon or trout.
Microwave popcorn. Women exposed to a large quantity of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), which is a synthetic chemical used in the lining of microwave popcorn bags, have an increased risk of infertility that can range anywhere from 70 to 134 percent higher than women with the least amount of exposure. PFOAs are also found in candy wrappers, fast-food wrappers and pizza boxes – another reason to just say no to junk food.
Raw or undercooked eggs, meats or fish. Eating these foods raw or undercooked can put you at risk for salmonella or other food-borne bacteria like listeria, which can cause serious illness and potentially harm a developing fetus. Be sure your meat, fish and eggs are cooked all the way through.
Sugar. Limit (or better yet, eliminate) your intake of sugar, including white table sugar, white flour as well as other forms of sugar, including anything that ends in “ose,” like sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose, sucrose, etc. Consuming sugar regularly can lead to infertility or worsen issues you already have by disrupting hormones.
While it may be difficult to give up some of the things you love, just imagine the joy you’ll feel when you’re holding your healthy baby boy or girl for the first time – it will all be worth it in the end!
-The Alternative Daily