As you can read all over my blog, there are at least two diet styles that are scientifically proven to increase fertility in women. These are the Mediterranean diet with its many fertility benefits published over the last years and the Harvard Fertility-diet, which works particularly well in women with ovulatory disorders.
But many women have realized that there are huge overlaps between the two eating styles, as well as discovering that two more diets can help to improve fertility naturally: Low-carb and the Paleo-diet.
Paleo – what can I eat?
The Paleo kitchen particularly does not compromise on carbohydrates. This means: no sugar, no flour, and nothing that derives from sugar or flour. No fast food and basically nothing that comes in a can or a box. No synthetic additives. As the matter of fact, many physicians with with an evolutionary approach to health recommend that, if packaged food contains anything you can’t read or can’t visualize, you should not eat it.
But will this maximize egg quality faster than the approaches which are scientifically and clinically proven to bring benefits to couples who are trying to conceive?
Honestly, I don’t know.
While I totally understand those who wish to go one step further and eat low-carb or even paleo during the time they are trying to conceive, I very much look forward to any systematic studies which would back up such decisions.
In any case, I would recommend thinking twice before driving your carbohydrate intake too low. In my opinion, complete reduction of just about anything is neither necessary nor desirable during the time you are trying to conceive (here is how you can contact me if you need my opinion on your particular situation).
While reducing simple sugars is favorable for all kinds of reasons, a radical approach in just about anything related to carbohydrates is likely to do more harm than good, especially if the goal is strengthening fertility in otherwise healthy women.
Current research suggests that many hunter-gatherer groups (they are important in terms of shedding light on what humans are best adapted to eat) had very irregular patterns of carbohydrate consumption.
People living in deserts and tropical grasslands consumee carbohydrates (up to one-third of their total energy intake!), this mostly in the form of ripe, fresh fruits. In contrast, hunter-gatherers living in colder northern areas ate completely different diets, which contained a carbohydrate content of <15% or less.
So we can easily drop the dogma on the particular percentage of carbohydrates that supposedly best support our health, including reproductive health.
Nevertheless, we must acknowledge that even the highest carbohydrate-consuming people during human history still had a much lower amount of energy coming from carbohydrates than the amount we eat today – something we certainly have to consider when planning our meals. In that sense, adding a low-carb component to any diet is definitely desirable.
So what did our ancestors eat? How can we employ Paleo nutrition to maximize our fertility and general health?
Well, we can hypothesize, but in reality we don’t have enough archeological evidence to tell us what our diet plan should exactly look like. Because of this, both Low-carb and Paleo nutrition remain more of a mental approach than an actual set of dietary recommendations. You can keep that at the back of your mind or (as I did during the time I was trying to get pregnant), add some aspects of Paleo and Low-carb to your Mediterranean (or Fertility-) diet for best results.
What to eat and what to avoid to achieve maximal fertility: