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Infertility Problems? Here are Some Eating Tips to Boost Fertility

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Women who watch their weight and closely follow a Mediterranean-style diet high in vegetables, vegetable oils, fish and beans may increase their chance of becoming pregnant, according to dietitians at Loyola University Health System (LUHS).

“Establishing a healthy eating pattern and weight is a good first step for women who are looking to conceive,” said Brooke Schantz, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, LUHS. “Not only will a healthy diet and lifestyle potentially help with fertility, but it also may influence fetal well-being and reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy."

Thirty percent of infertility is due to either being overweight or underweight, according to the National Infertility Association. Both of these extremes in weight cause shifts in hormones, which can affect ovulation. Reducing weight by even 5 percent can enhance fertility.

Schantz recommends the following additional nutrition tips for women who are looking to conceive:

  • Reduce intake of foods with trans and saturated fats while increasing intake of monounsaturated fats, such as avocados and olive oil
  • Lower intake of animal protein and add more vegetable protein to your diet
  • Add more fiber to your diet by consuming whole grains, vegetables and fruit
  • Incorporate more vegetarian sources of iron such as legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds and whole grains
  • Consume high-fat dairy instead of low-fat dairy
  • Take a regular women’s multivitamin

Approximately 40 percent of infertility issues are attributed to men, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Among them is low sperm count and poor sperm motility, which are common in overweight and obese men.

“Men who are looking to have a baby also have a responsibility to maintain a healthy body weight and consume a balanced diet, because male obesity may affect fertility by altering testosterone and other hormone levels,” Schantz said.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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