What to Eat During IVF Treatment: Best & Worst Foods

diet fertility Feb 20, 2020

Diet—including not just food, but also toxic chemicals and heavy metals that are found in our diets—can play an important role in the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF). 

So what are some of the best foods to eat during your treatment?

In this article, we will discuss the ways your diet may influence IVF success, as well as research-based suggestions for the best foods to eat, including tips to reduce your diet's toxic chemicals and heavy metals.

How Does Your Diet Affect IVF Treatment?

Research has shown that diet can influence a woman's chances of a successful IVF outcome. Generally, a Mediterranean diet is best. This diet—centered around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and plant-based proteins, as well as monosaturated fats—has been found to improve IVF success rates.

One study found that a Mediterranean diet was associated with increased chances of a successful embryo implant among infertile women. And a more recent study found that the Mediterranean diet may help increase the chances of a successful pregnancy and delivering a live baby.

Conversely, diet can also have negative impacts on IVF success rates. For example, a higher intake of fast food in the preconception period is associated with a longer time to conception.

What to Eat During IVF Treatment? Best & Worst Foods

Best Foods for IVF Success

If you want to maximize your chances of a healthy pregnancy, try to follow the principles of the Mediterranian diet as closely as possible. Pay particular attention to foods that contain these macronutrients:

  • Zinc (chicken, beef, oatmeal, hemp seeds, lentils)
  • Folic acid (spinach, lentils, asparagus, broccoli)
  • Iron (shellfish, red meat, quinoa, dark chocolate)

And make sure to stay hydrated during the IVF process. Drink plenty of water and avoid dehydrating beverages such as coffee and caffeinated tea.

Foods to Avoid

It is a good idea to limit junk food consumption during your treatment. In particular, avoid consuming foods that contain:

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Refined sugars
  • Trans and saturated fats

Try to limit alcohol and caffeine as much as possible, as both have shown to significantly decrease the chances of successful conception.

If you are taking any herbal remedies, consult with your doctor about their use, as some of them can negatively impact the conception process.

Detox Your Diet

Diet is a major source of toxic exposures. Some toxic chemicals and heavy metals found in our food supply are unavoidable because our environment is so polluted. Others, however, can avoided.

For example, certain food choices can decrease your toxic exposures. Your physicians will most likely advise against certain foods that are high on the food chain, like tuna, which tend to contain high levels of mercury, a neurotoxin. Another opportunity to decrease heavy metal exposure is by learning more about the arsenic in rice. Certain types of rice, like Brown rice, have been found to have higher amounts of arsenic than white rice. So read product labels to avoid unnecessary rice ingredients.

Second, food packaging can contaminate the foods and drinks they contain. The most. important tip to focus on is to avoid unnecessary options that are in plastic containers. Chemicals in plastics can leach into the foods and beverages they hold.

Last, eat and drink more homemade options. This is the best way to ensure a "clean" diet. 

More details can be found in A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures.

How Much Should You Eat During IVF Treatment?

Eat healthy, balanced meals, and make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to conceive safely.

There are some studies that indicate that short-term weight loss may improve pregnancy rates in overweight and obese women who are undertaking IVF treatment. However, if you are at a healthy weight, there is no reason to change the amount of food you eat. 

If you do choose to restrict calories during IVF treatment, pay special attention to your macronutrient and micronutrient intake. Work under the guidance of your medical team.

Final Thoughts

A healthy, balanced diet can help you maximize your chances of IVF success.

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