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By: Terry Hunter, RN @ Carolina Conceptions 

This is a very common question asked by our patients.  As we all know, our diet is important for our overall health and well-being.  What we eat can also affect whether we ovulate or not each month.  If we do not ovulate, we cannot get pregnant!

Avoid foods that have trans-fats, a partially hydrogenated oil that is used to keep foods on the shelf longer and in deep fryers. This is found in a variety of foods including: baked goods (ready-made frosting), snacks (chips, popcorn), fried food, refrigerator dough, creamer and margarine.  It is important to check the food labels for trans-fat and hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Blood sugar and insulin levels are influenced by the type of carbohydrates that you eat. Fast carbohydrates are easily digested (fast carbs), and include foods such as white bread, potatoes, sugared soda.  Eating these types of foods will increase your blood-sugar, insulin levels, and the chance that you will struggle with ovulatory infertility. Eating carbohydrates that are slowly digested (slow carbs), will not only improve ovulatory function, but will also help prevent gestational diabetes. Slow carbs are high in fiber such as legumes, lentils, beans, vegetables, eggs, fish, meat, nuts, whole grains.

As for protein, it is suggested that you eat more plant based protein and less animal protein.  Most Americans eat a daily serving of meat, chicken or pork, and are less likely to have fish or beans. Beans are an excellent source of protein and should be considered as a main dish rather than a side dish. Plant based proteins include vegetables such as avocado, spinach, kale, sweet potato, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, non-dairy milk and grains. Proteins can also affect blood sugar and sensitivity to insulin which play an important role in ovulation. Adding one serving of beans, kale, tofu, soybeans, or any plant based protein, will help protect you against ovulatory infertility.

There is also some evidence that your diet should include whole milk which includes full fat yogurt, cottage cheese and ice cream to prevent ovulatory infertility.  Skim and low fat milk do not help with ovulatory function because when fat is removed from milk, it changes the balance of hormones and thereby affects ovulation and conception. Now it is important not to over indulge in whole milk and ice cream! Aim for one or two servings of dairy products daily, such as whole milk in your cereal, a slice of cheese, whole milk yogurt and/or one half cup ice cream twice weekly. If you don’t like dairy products or they don’t agree with you, then don’t have them.

Your diet, weight and activity can increase ovulation and your ability to get pregnant. I hope these suggestions will help you with your conception efforts.