We all know that it is important to eat healthy when we’re trying to conceive. But just what does that mean? A salad is healthy, no matter where it comes from. Right?
Well that’s not always true. When you order a salad at McDonald’s with grilled chicken (because we all know grilled is healthier than the deep fried crispy option) you are getting a piece of chicken cooked on the same grill as the hamburger patties and bacon slices. If you’re lucky, the grill operator has even managed to scrape all the visible grease from the other meat products off that part of the grill before putting the chicken on. But why does it matter?
Women who eat less fruit and more fast food are less likely to conceive within a year and more likely to experience infertility, according to an article in Human Reproduction.
Research has shown that women who eat fast food are more likely to take longer to conceive than those who don’t. The research, published May 4,2018 in the journal Human Reproduction, included nearly 5,600 women, ages 18 to 43, from Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and Ireland, all of whom were in the early stages of their first pregnancy. Midwives looking after these women were instructed to interview them about their diet in the month before they conceived and to record how long it took the women to get pregnant once they started trying.
“The major finding is that the risk of infertility — that is, taking longer than 12 months to conceive — went from 8 percent for all the women in the cohort to 12 percent … in women with the lowest fruit intake,” said lead study author Claire Roberts, a senior research fellow at Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide in Australia. (That jump, from 8 percent to 12 percent, represents a 50 percent increase in the risk of infertility, Roberts added.)
“There was also an increase from 8 to 16 percent in the risk of infertility in women who ate four or more servings of fast food each week,” Roberts told Live Science.
Food intake was also tied to the amount of time it took women to become pregnant. Women who ate fruit three or more times a day, for example, became pregnant half a month sooner than women who ate fruit only a few times in a month. Similarly, women who consumed fast food such as burgers, pizza, fried chicken and chips four or more times a week became pregnant, on average, a month after women who never ate fast food.
Intake of other foods, including green leafy vegetables and fish, weren’t linked to risk of infertility or the amount of time it took women to get pregnant. However, the researchers were surprised that these healthy foods didn’t appear to have an effect, Roberts said.
“A recent review on male diet and fertility markers indicated that higher intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with increased sperm motility whereas a higher intake of fat-rich foods and sweets may decrease semen quality,” Jessica Grieger, a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Adelaide, and her co-authors wrote.
For more information on fertility diets, be sure to check out the following articles:
- Fertility Diet With Sample Meals
- Berries: How And Why You Should Incorporate Them In Your Diet
- Magnesium and Vitamin D
- Fertility and Dieting
- Does Caffeine REALLY Affect Fertility?
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