Looking for another reason to avoid fast food? According to a new study, eating too much of it could make it longer for you to conceive.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute in Australia examined diets from 5,600 women without children who lived in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Ireland. The study was published in Human Reproduction.
They found that women who ate more fast food took longer to conceive. They were also less likely to become pregnant in a year. Also, if you’re not eating a lot of fruit, that could hamper your chances of getting pregnant.
On average, women who ate fast food four or more times a week took almost a month longer to conceive, compared to those who ate on the go less frequently. But those who noshed on three or more servings of fruit a week were likely to get pregnant more quickly; those skimping on fruit took a month and a half longer to get pregnant.
In all, women who ate less fruit boosted their infertility rate from eight to 12 percent. And the fast-food junkies bolstered their infertility risk from eight to 16 percent.
Think you can’t enjoy a burger out of the drive-thru window anymore? Not so, says Stepanie McKircher, RDN, a dietitian from Denver.
“You don’t need to give up fast food completely when you’re trying to conceive,” McKercher said. “Adding fruits and vegetables to your order is one way to increase your chances. Try ordering a fruit smoothie for breakfast, or include a side salad with lunch.”
Consuming more plant-based protein can also aid in fertility, she said. “Next time you’re at Chipotle, try filling your burrito with beans or tofu sofritas instead of meat. I almost always add on the guacamole, too. Avocado is a rich source of monounsaturated fats, which are crucial for fertility,” she said.
As for fruits, there isn’t one that will “magically” help you conceive. Instead, focus on variety.
“Include a few different kinds of fresh or frozen produce throughout the week,” McKercher added.