Ah, veganism...the endless debate.
Is it good for you or is it not? The world loves to discuss this ethical diet and how it can help or hinder your health. With so many contradictory articles out there, it can be distressing and confusing to form an answer.
I’ve experimented with veganism for the past few years, so I understand the speculation around this plant–based diet. If done incorrectly, this ethical lifestyle can really affect your health. Trust me, I’ve been there!
Now, we know that a healthy body is paramount for conception, so if you’re vegan or considering adopting this lifestyle, it’s important you do it safely.
So... how can veganism affect your ability to conceive?
New research has found that vegans and vegetarians tend to have a lower sperm count than meat eaters. This is because of the importance of B12 for a healthy sperm count and a vegan diet, although rich in most vitamins and minerals, is lacking in B12.
However, there is no reason to believe that eating a vegan diet will hinder your chances of conception, as long as you supplement with B12.
Don’t want to pop a pill? Try some of these B12 enriched foods:
- Fortified non-dairy milk
- Vegan spreads
- Nutritional yeast
- Breakfast cereals
- Meat substitutes
The good news is that these are all super easy to incorporate into your diet. But, remember to check the ingredients to see the product is fortified with B12, as not all brands will be.
Need some guidance on what to eat?
Why not check some of our recipes linked below:
As well as lacking in B12, another reason for low sperm count in vegans comes from a general lack of nutrients. I’ve seen this a lot with newbie vegans, who use being ethical as an excuse to pig out on junk food, thinking they're healthy because there’s no meat involved. But you can’t stuff yourself with falafel wraps and fake cheese every night and call yourself healthy...
Junk is junk!
Now, you might be thinking. ‘Ok, so how do I start? How do I know which foods to eat?’
I recommend using a dietary app, such as ‘Cronometer’. This app is free and very simple. You use it like an online food diary by logging everything you eat. The system then calculates the nutritional value of the foods so you can check that your levels are balanced and see which foods are best for what!
Say your doctor tells you, ‘your iron levels are too low, you must increase your intake,’ this app is a great way to check which vegan foods give you iron.
Pssssst...try spinach ;)