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Important foods to eat and avoid

Watch Michelle talk about the foods men and women should eat, and avoid to promote reproductive health.

Watch Michelle talk about the foods men and women should eat and avoid to promote reproductive health.

About Harvard Medical School’s ‘Fertility Diet’

Harvard Medical School’s ‘Fertility Diet’ was first published in 2008 and is based on data from the Nurse’s Health Study. It has not been tested further in more rigorous study designs such as randomised controlled trials as this would be difficult to do.

As healthcare professionals, we cannot say that following the ‘Fertility Diet’ will guarantee pregnancy.

On the other hand, aspects of the Fertility Diet may be applied in practice as they are in accord with nutritional recommendations of national healthy eating guidelines.

Do these key messages sound familiar?

  • Avoid trans fats

  • Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats

  • Consume plant-based protein and non-haeme iron

  • Choose low-GI carbohydrates

  • Prenatal supplements are important

  • Maintain hydration by consuming plenty of water

  • Achieve a healthy weight

  • Be physically active

The ‘Fertility Diet’ found that full-fat dairy was associated with improved fertility outcomes. This may sound controversial compared to current recommendation.

Current Australian dietary guidelines recommend low-fat dairy for adults (and those aged > 2 years). Low-fat dairy may assist with weight control in men and women who aim to decrease their overall energy intake and it is still recommended to decrease overall intake of saturated fat.

However, there may be a place for full-fat dairy in an individual’s diet and so assessing dietary intake and lifestyle, medical history, current health goals and current biochemistry, will help you to decide whether this is an appropriate recommendation to make.


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Food as Medicine: Fertility and Pregnancy

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