Are you trying to conceive? Stay primed for pregnancy with these diet suggestions.

News & Views
February 23, 2016

Are you trying to conceive? Stay primed for pregnancy with these suggestions from Jorge Chavarro, MD, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-author of The Fertility Diet ($17, amazon.com).

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Eat plenty of...

Whole grains: Oats, bran cereal, whole-wheat bread, and other carbs with a low glycemic index help regulate blood glucose and insulin levels, which is thought to aid fertility.

Vegetable protein: Dr. Chavarro has found that women with a higher intake of protein from soy and other plants (such as beans and nuts) are less likely to have problems with ovulation.

Leafy greens: They're rich in folate. Dr. Chavarro has discovered that women with the most folate in their diet are the least likely to have cycles in which they don't ovulate.

Beans: In addition to protein, beans and lentils are chock-full of iron, a nutrient that's associated with a reduced risk of ovulatory infertility.

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Cut back on...

Trans fats: Many fried and packaged foods contain trans fat, which can increase your risk of infertility. (Avoid products with "partially hydrogenated oils" in the ingredients list.)

Soda: A 2012 study revealed that women who drank three or more sodas a day had a 52 percent lower likelihood of getting pregnant than those who drank none.

Alcohol: It's smart to start cutting back even before you get pregnant: Danish scientists reported that having as few as five drinks a week can affect fertility.

Meat: Adding just one serving a day of meat—including chicken, turkey, or red meat—is linked to a 32 percent increased risk of infertility, per Dr. Chavarro's research.

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