A group of Australian and British scientists concluded that the love of fast food and the exclusion of fruits from the diet can lead to difficulties with conception in women of reproductive age. Their findings published in the journal Human Reproduction, the researchers made on the basis of observation of more than five thousand women who are trying to become pregnant.
A couple is considered infertile if a woman's pregnancy does not occur during a year of regular sexual activity without the use of contraceptives. The inability to conceive a child can be associated not only with absolute infertility, which is caused by incurable changes in the reproductive system. Among the factors influencing the fertility of the couple, alcohol abuse, smoking, drug use, and obesity – both in women and men – are singled out.
Parents who are trying to have a baby are advised to adhere to a healthy lifestyle: to eat right, to give up harmful habits, and also increase physical activity. However, until now no research has been done on the relationship between the eating habits of healthy fertile women and their ability to become pregnant.
The authors of the new study examined the results of a survey of 5,598 women in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, aged 18 to 43 years, for midwives in the early stages (14-16 weeks) of their first pregnancy. Patients talked about how long they tried to get pregnant, and about what was included in their diet a month before conception – some questions of the questionnaire concerned fruits, greens, fish and fast food. These data were compared with the period during which the couple attempted to conceive a child.
Among all the respondents, about 8 percent of couples were infertile, but 12 percent of women could not conceive among those who rarely ate fruits. Of those who ate fast food four times a week or more, 16 percent of women were infertile. On average, lover of burgers and pizza pregnant a month later than those who adhered to a healthy diet. Three to four servings of fruit a day, on the contrary, accelerated conception on average by two weeks. Strangely enough, the amount of greenery and fish in the diet did not affect the timing of pregnancy.
“The results of the study show that a healthy diet, including fruits and a minimum of fast food, has a positive effect on fertility and reduces the time it takes a woman to become pregnant,” says lead author Claire Roberts.
How exactly fast food “postpones” conception, scientists are not yet known. Authors of earlier studies suggested that fatty acids contained in vegetable and animal fats and oils could adversely affect egg cells. In addition, the abundance of sugar, salt and fat can affect metabolism.
In a new study, scientists note the importance of a balanced diet for women who are trying to conceive – even those who are not being treated for infertility. In the future, according to the authors, it is necessary to conduct research and taking into account other food groups.