About one in ten American women ages 15 to 44 have trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many factors that you can control are linked to infertility, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, poor stress coping, obesity and poor eating habits.
What to do: “If you’re trying to create another life, you need to eat what we’re made of—protein, fat, and nutrient-rich veggies and fruit—not processed, packaged foods,” says Aimee Raupp, LAc, author of Yes, You Can Get Pregnant (Demos Health, 2014) and owner of Aimee Raupp Wellness Centers in New York.
Research bears this out. In a recent observational study of around 6,000 women, those who ate no fast food had a 41 percent lower risk of infertility compared with women who ate fast food four or more times per week.
“It’s also important that women take a prenatal vitamin supplement that contains methylfolate [the active form of this B vitamin] rather than folic acid, plus a high-quality omega-3 fish oil supplement and likely vitamin D [which is a hormone precursor], based on blood testing,” Raupp says. “Women also should be evaluated for an underactive thyroid gland and gluten sensitivity, which can impact fertility.”
What to eat: Raupp recommends eating non–genetically modified and organic foods free of artificial ingredients, including at least five servings of vegetables a day; fruit instead of sweetened foods; high-quality meat, poultry, eggs and bone broth from pastured, grass-fed animals; low-mercury, wild-caught fish such as salmon; and fermented foods, such as full-fat yogurt and sauerkraut.