Five Foods to Eat to Help Promote Fertility and Pregnancy
Wondering if there are certain foods you should eat when trying to get pregnant? Nutrition expert Dr. Nicole Avena explores five foods women should eat to promote pregnancy.
There are tons of new research studies linking ingredients in certain foods to infertility. For example, did you know that seemingly harmless food additives like artificial sweeteners can decrease oocyte (a fancy term for an immature egg cell) quality in women, and preclinical studies suggest monosodium glutamate (MSG) may negatively impact sperm counts in men? Artificial sweeteners are everywhere — in diet sodas, flavored waters, and low-calorie or low-sugar foods, and we put them into our tea and coffee when we are trying to be “healthy” and avoid sugar.
You are probably familiar with MSG, the flavor enhancer that is typically found in Chinese food, but is also often found in processed meats and some canned veggies and soups. It gives food a savory, salty flavor, often referred to as “umami.” Although both are generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is an abundance of research to show that perhaps this is not necessarily the case if you are trying to get pregnant.
And it isn’t just food additives that we need to be concerned about. Even some foods that are considered healthy can be detrimental to fertility or pregnancy. For example, everyone loves the superfood flax, right? While it has powerful antioxidant properties and other health benefits, flaxseed oil can alter progesterone/estrogen ratios, which can be bad for trying to make a baby. Also, it isn’t just the things we eat, but also the things that come in contact with our food, like plastic bags and the packaging around food products, that can impact fertility. One chemical in particular, known as Surfynol, which is found in plastic, has recently been named a “reprotoxic” chemical for its ability to interfere with fertility, especially in men.
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