News Flash > Women's Health


Fertility Diet

Reported January 20, 2009

IRVINE, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- We all know diet is key to good health, but there's been little evidence of its role in fertility until now. Research on women in the Nurses' Health Study shows the right foods can increase pregnancy odds. You might be surprised at what's on the menu.

The Aguilar's are newlyweds on a mission. It began hours after tying the knot.

"As soon as we went on the honeymoon, I started thinking about it, and it seemed like every baby was staring at me from that point on," Elisa Aguilar told Ivanhoe.

Anxious to start a family, Elisa and her husband took their doctor's advice and signed on to the fertility diet. In a Harvard study involving almost 18,000 women, it increased pregnancy odds by six-fold.

The diet focuses more on type of food than amount. It turns out fat improves fertility, but only the right kind of fat. Whole dairy products like milk and ice cream are good. Trans fats, as little as four grams a day, are bad.



"That would represent, maybe, two tablespoons of margarine [or] a medium-size French fries at a fast food restaurant, or one donut on a daily basis," the Aguilar's doctor, Koren Barrett, N.D., a naturopathic doctor at the University of California, Irvine, told Ivanhoe.

Slow carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits and brown rice increase fertility. Fast carbohydrates like white rice, white bread and white sugar decrease it.

"Higher insulin levels and higher glucose levels, or sugar levels, in our blood disrupt our hormones," Dr. Barrett said.

Good protein like that found in nuts, beans and tofu increase pregnancy odds. Red meat decreases them.

The fertility research didn't include men, but husband Alex is on the diet. As 50 percent of the equation, he's not taking any chances.

"What we're really looking forward to is having a healthy baby," Alex told Ivanhoe.

Elisa knows there's no guarantee she'll soon be eating for two, but just following this diet has made her feel better than ever.

UPDATE: Shortly after our interview, Elisa found out she was pregnant after just three months on the fertility diet.


Koren Barrett, N.D.
University of California, Irvine/Serenity Wellness Center
Irvine, CA