Can plant-based diets help?
A plant-based diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and plant proteins. There are no meat or animal products, including honey and dairy. Thanks to ethical and health benefits, the plant-based movement has flourished in the last decade. Processed meats, fried foods, and refined carbs make up today’s typical diet. These foods have also contributed to many lifestyle diseases, including infertility. There are a few ways ditching the meat can help with fertility and, ultimately, IVF.
Cut the weight
Obesity has been closely linked with infertility. The additional weight can cause issues that impact hormones and reproductive function. Research shows that overweight and obese women have lower IVF success levels than women with average weight. Plant-based diets are high in fiber and increase metabolism, essential factors in weight loss. As little as 10% weight loss may improve the chances of pregnancy.
Impacting your hormones
Irregular hormones can influence pregnancy. Women with hormone imbalances may have thinner uterine linings, fibroids, or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women. Statistics show that obesity has one of the highest impacts on the success of IVF for women with PCOS. Plant-based diets contain antioxidants and vitamins that can help with hormone production.
Men can benefit too
Male-factor infertility is as common as female infertility. Poor sperm count and quality all impact the chances of pregnancy. These issues can also impact the long-term success of IVF. Today’s diets contain high amounts of trans fats, dairy, and processed meats, which can reduce sperm count. The production process of some foods includes pesticides and Bisphenol-A, potential threats to male fertility. An organic, plant-based diet helps men manage weight and may improve sperm production. These foods also reduce the hormonal imbalances that can impact sperm health.
Eat more plants
The health and fertility benefits of a plant-based diet are undeniable. For couples on the IVF journey, every bit counts. Plant-based diets are great for weight management and providing much-needed nutrients. Starting a plant-based diet at least 3 months leading up to IVF could be a game-changer. Switch out processed foods and meats for leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, and plant protein sources. When in doubt, consult a dietician who can provide additional information and guidance.