The internet is a wonderful place; it is also a place for lots of not-so-helpful fertility myths! This blog post will look at some of the most common fertility diet myths and I look forward to busting them for you!
Myth one: Pineapples can aid implantation
We often see claims that certain foods can correct infertility, and a popular one is the pineapple! A pineapple is certainly a healthy food. It is low in calories so useful for weight control, yet still boasts an impressive nutrient profile containing nutrients such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B6, known for their role in fertility management, but the same can be said for other fruit and vegetables too.
Where the supposed extra benefit from the pineapple lies is the presence of an enzyme called bromelain which is found in the core of the pineapple. Because bromelain is known to have blood-thinning and anti-inflammatory effects, people have suggested this may help with implantation. However, there is no research to back this up. So, in summary, you do not have to avoid pineapple but don’t expect any miracles from this one fruit.
Myth two: You can get all the nutrients you need from your diet to promote fertility
Whilst we will commonly hear this as dietary advice to the general public, when trying to conceive, supplementation can play an important role in enhancing fertility for men and women. Women trying to conceive should take 400mcg folic acid supplement in addition to dietary folate found in green, leafy vegetables, peas, chickpeas, broccoli, sprouts and fortified breakfast cereals.
Also, even though getting all nutrients through your diet can be done “on paper”, it doesn’t mean it is that easy in reality, so a pre-natal supplement is often a good idea when trying to conceive.
There are several other supplements for women and men that can be taken to boost fertility which will be the topic of another blog post so keep your eye out for that one!
Myth three: Royal jelly can improve fertility in humans
Royal jelly is a substance produced by honey bees to feed queen bees. It was thought that royal jelly helped to promote the fertility of the queen bee and promote longevity. For many years it has been used as an alternative medicine with several attached health claims, one of which is very common in fertility circles. A queen bee is able to lay up to 2000 eggs per day and therefore the association between royal jelly and fertility begun due to its oestrogen content.
Although there has been some promise in increased oestrogen levels in animal studies, there have been no human studies so we cannot claim that royal jelly promotes fertility in humans. Remember that royal jelly can also have allergenic effects, especially to those who are allergic to bee stings.
Myth four: You have to be a healthy weight to conceive
Guidelines state that women should try to keep their BMI between 19 and 30kg/m2 to maximise chances of fertility. The group for whom this recommendation is most important is for those that suffer from anovulation (when ovulation doesn’t occur), as achieving a healthy weight helps to return ovulation back to normal which is required for conception.
For those that do not fall within this category, although weight management is still a consideration, weight isn’t as important. Research suggests that the quality of your diet and lifestyle changes can be more important in fertility management than weight itself. By making healthy dietary choices that are protective towards fertility, excess weight may fall naturally. And it should be noted that those who strictly diet tend to have less favourable fertility outcomes.
For those who are overweight, it is likely that it will take you longer to conceive but it is still possible to do at a higher weight. If the thought and process of weight loss causes you a lot of stress, focus on the other diet and lifestyle modifications that you can make as these changes can have significant positive effects.
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