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We’re trying to conceive; what should we be eating?
Q: What kinds of foods should my husband and I choose and avoid as we are trying to get pregnant?
Alana Dallas, TX
A: Dear Alana,

I’m so glad you and your husband are thinking ahead. Many physicians recommend a preconception visit for the purpose of discussing your lifestyle and diet before trying to conceive.
Your diet should allow you and your husband to be as healthy as possible. You should aim to be close to your ideal weight; being underweight can inhibit ovulation and being overweight can make pregnancy more difficult. If you have no underlying health problems, your diet should be well balanced, including whole grains and cereals, dairy or other calcium sources, fresh fruits and vegetables, and protein sources such as fish, chicken, or eggs. Your food should be minimally processed and low in fats and sugars. Avoid alcohol, drugs (including cigarettes) and excessive caffeine.

Although there are no particular foods that have been proven to increase your chances of conceiving, several studies suggest that a zinc deficiency may decrease fertility for men and women. Eating at least 15 mg of zinc daily should be sufficient to keep you in good health. Other important nutrients are: calcium (you should get at least 1000 mg a day), vitamin C, and folic acid (at least 400 mg a day), which lowers the rate of birth defects.