This diet will help you get pregnant, scientists say
Just getting pregnant is kind of lucky, when you look at the stats. Even if you’re a healthy pair of breeders at the peak of your fertility with everything functioning at optimum levels, the chance of a couple conceiving in any given cycle is about 20 percent. And anyone in the baby-making part of life would have heard the figure that at least one in six couples will take more than a year of trying to get pregnant.
However, according to Australian scientists, you can improve your odds based on what you eat. We're not just talking about the usual "eat healthy, drink lots of water" type of advice either.
Here’s the topline: It may be possible to increase fertility (and also live longer) by manipulating diet at different stages of our lives, according to this world-first research from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.
The scientists are so convinced about their findings that they have strong hopes that making some changes to a woman’s diet could eventually replace the need for invasive and expensive fertility techniques such as IVF, except in the most severe cases of infertility.
“With further studies, it’s possible that instead of women with subfertility resorting immediately to invasive IVF techniques, an alternative strategy may be developed to change the ratio of dietary macronutrients to improve female fertility,” said Dr Samantha Solon-Biet from the Charles Perkins Centre, who co-led the ground-breaking research.
How do we manipulate our diet to make babies?
That’s the big question that every TTC (trying to conceive) pair is asking now. OK, now’s the time to point out that this research was conducted in mice, but it’s also important to clarify that most of the studies that end up changing the way we live start in experiments on rodents.
The research shows for the first time that in mammals there is an ideal balance of macronutrients — proteins, carbohydrates and fats — for reproduction, and a separate combination for increasing how long we live.
The Charles Perkins Centre’s experiments found that a higher protein, low-carbohydrate diet optimised reproductive output and a lower protein, high-carbohydrate diet optimised late life health and life span.
“The logical conclusion is that perhaps earlier in life a higher protein diet might be better for reproduction and as you’re getting older you might want to swap over to a lower protein/high carbohydrate diet,”Professor David Le Couteur, also from the Charles Perkins Centre, said.
High protein + less carbs = fertile mummy
Prof Le Couteur said different diets were needed for different stages in life and it was the ratio of macronutrients that was the key issue, not the total amount.
So, if you’re currently trying to boost your chances of getting pregnant, increase the protein in your diet – high protein foods include meat, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds – and cut back on the pasta, potatoes and sugars right now. Of course, once your bub is born, and you want to increase your chances of enjoying a healthy grandparenthood, the pasta can be back on the menu.
This article was written by Fiona Baker for Kidspot.com.au and has been adapted for Kidpsot.co.nz