Can Your Diet Make You More Fertile?

Experts say while some fad diets may improve fertilty, common sense is best.

ByABC News
March 3, 2008, 2:59 PM

March 4, 2008— -- Kate Moss wants a baby so badly, in fact, that she has switched her diet to that used by actress Gwyneth Paltrow to aid her fertility, according to British media reports.

But can a change in diet actually help increase the odds of getting pregnant? Nutrition and reproductive health experts say yes but add that a healthy diet for fertility may have more to do with common sense than fad regimens.

Dr. Jorge Chavarro, research fellow in the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, is also co-author of The Fertility Diet, a book published last year that reveals some of the links between certain foods and a woman's ability to conceive.

"We know that there are multiple aspects of diet that have been associated with a decreased chance of experiencing a certain decrease in function when it comes to fertility," he says.

Reproduction and nutrition experts agree that a healthy diet can go a long way toward improving fertility in a number of ways.

"Poor nutrition has been associated with fertility issues and ovulation problems," notes fertility specialist Dr. Celia Dominguez, assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University in Atlanta. "Diet plays a critical role, and by improving her diet a woman can also improve her chances of making an egg."

But Chavarro adds that while his research, gleaned from the now-famous Harvard Nurses' Study, suggests certain dietary changes that women can make, most of what he and his colleagues have found is that a fertility-friendly diet has few surprises.

"What we have found does not necessarily point toward any specific miracle food other than an overall, generally good and healthy diet," he says.

"You can certainly identify a few nutrients that have a relation to reproductive status," says Dr. David Katz, associate professor of public health and director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. But he adds that the true picture of diet and fertility is often complicated by the new diets and fertility claims that hit the scene on a regular basis.