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Is Juicing Good for Your Fertility?
a blog by Marta Montenegro, MS, CSCS, SFN, NSCA-CPT, August 5, 2014
Juicing is the new, healthy diet “trend” and for a good reason. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that only 33% of American adults eat enough fruit and only 27% take in the recommended amount of vegetables. So, why not go the easy route and just throw some kale, strawberries, spinach, and banana into your juicer to meet your daily produce quota?
As “healthy” as it sounds, an on-the-go juice/smoothie meal may not be the best way to lose weight in order to increase your fertility outcome. And calories and body weight matter when trying to increase your fertility. In fact, a 2011 systematic review of more than 47,000 treatment cycles in Reproductive Biomedicine Online, found that body mass index (BMI) of greater than 25 is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes in women undergoing IVF/ICSI treatment, including lower live birth rates. This effect is present in both overweight (BMI of 25 to 30) and obese women (30 or higher).
What goes on in your body when you juice? Mainly, the carbohydrates from the fruits–particularly the ones high in starch and fructose–easily breakdown into glucose, which causes a sugar surge, followed by an insulin rush to try to lower the sugar level. And it won’t be long before you’ll be looking for something else to eat because of the rapid glucose release. In other words, you will eat more later on. To lose weight, you must keep the glucose and insulin response under control to maximize your metabolism. Too much insulin keeps fat from breaking down.
Does that mean you should avoid juices/smoothies? Not necessarily. These liquid meals can have a role in improving your diet—and fertility—if you make them the right way by combining the right amounts of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Indeed, Harvard researchers conducted a groundbreaking fertility study that highlighted dietary considerations to increase fertility: eat more vegetable protein, like nuts and beans, and whole grain sources of carbohydrates to slow sugar and insulin responses; switch fat-free dairy for a full-fat food option once a day; and, if overweight, decrease body weight between 5%-10%. Combined, these factors can make a difference in fertility success.
Of course, whole foods should be your first choice, but at times juices/smoothies can be a more-than-adequate replacement. So do not put your Nutribullet juicer on Ebay yet. Here are two fertility-supporting juice smoothies to get you going:
Fertility Pack Breakfast Smoothies
Kiwi Strawberry Banana Smoothie – one serving
1 Cup Milk, full fat + ½ cup ice water
2 Kiwi, skinned
1/2 medium Banana, frozen
1 Cup Strawberries, frozen
1 Tablespoon Sesame seeds
Calories per serving: 390
Creamy Green Berry Smoothie – one serving
1/4 Avocado, small, peeled
1 large handful Spinach, raw
3/4 Cup Blueberries, frozen
1 Cup Strawberries, frozen, sliced
1 Tablespoon Flaxseed, ground
1/2 Cup Almond milk, unsweetened
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, full fat
Calories per serving: 379
Note: If you need to lose weight, swap the full-fat dairy for 2%. You still get the fertility benefits, without the extra calories.