11 Foods to Avoid When TTC

Every couple’s journey to parenthood is unique. For some, the path to conception is a swift one, while for others, it’s a winding road filled with twists and turns. One element that significantly influences this journey is your diet. We’ve delved deep into the science, including groundbreaking studies published in renowned medical journals, to provide a brief guide on foods you should sidestep when you’re trying to conceive (TTC). By equipping yourself with knowledge and making mindful dietary choices, you can optimize your fertility and inch closer to your dream of starting a family.

1. Processed and Junk Foods

It might be tempting to reach out for that bag of chips or that candy bar, but studies suggest that processed foods, teeming with unhealthy fats, sugars, and preservatives, are a no-go when TTC. Such foods can lead to an unsteady weight gain trajectory, potentially hampering ovulation and overall fertility1. Opt for whole, natural foods instead of those coming out of a packet.

2. High-Mercury Fish

Oceans offer a treasure trove of nutritional benefits, but certain fish swimming in their depths come with a caution tag. Consuming high-mercury fish like shark, swordfish, and some types of tuna might be detrimental for fertility. Excessive mercury levels can not only hinder fertility but also pose risks to the developing fetus2. Instead, indulge in low-mercury fish options like salmon and sardines.

3. Excess Caffeine

The morning cup of coffee is almost a ritual for many. However, while a moderate amount is usually safe, an excess caffeine intake has been associated with a prolonged time to conceive2. It’s crucial to keep tabs on your caffeine consumption, even from sources like teas or sodas.

4. Alcohol

Enjoying an occasional glass of wine or beer might seem harmless, but habitual heavy drinking can cast a shadow on fertility for both women and men. If you’re charting a course towards parenthood, it’s wise to reduce or completely omit alcohol from your diet.

5. Soy Products (in excess)

Soy, the plant-based protein hero, comes with a caveat when TTC. Containing phytoestrogens, soy can mimic estrogen and possibly affect hormone balance when consumed in large amounts2. Including soy in moderation, however, can still allow you to enjoy its benefits without the potential fertility pitfalls.

6. Unpasteurized Dairy and Soft Cheeses

The dreamy soft cheese might be a gourmet’s delight, but it carries the risk of listeria. Listeria can be harmful during the early stages of conception and pregnancy, making it essential to consume only pasteurized dairy products during this crucial period.

7. Raw or Undercooked Meats

Besides the risk of foodborne illnesses, raw or undercooked meats might expose one to toxoplasmosis or salmonella, conditions that can create hurdles in your fertility journey1. When you’re TTC, it’s best to ensure your meats are cooked well.

8. Trans Fats

Hidden in many baked goods, fried foods, and even certain margarines, trans fats are notorious for their potential to lead to ovulatory infertility. Prioritize foods with unsaturated fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil over those laden with trans fats1.

9. Refined Sugars and Carbs

A diet high in refined sugars and carbohydrates can result in insulin resistance, a condition with links to decreased fertility1. Incorporate complex carbohydrates and whole grains into your meals for a balanced and fertility-friendly diet.

10. Excess Red Meat Consumption

While proteins are a vital part of our diet, over-reliance on red meats might not be the best idea when TTC. Balance is the key. Diversify your protein sources by including lean meats, fish, and plant-based proteins in your diet.

11. Certain Herbal Teas and Supplements

While herbal teas can be soothing, not all herbs are created equal when it comes to fertility. Some might interfere with fertility or early pregnancy. If you’re including any herbs or supplements in your routine, ensure they are fertility-friendly.

With the vast realm of nutrition science, understanding the dietary maze while TTC can feel overwhelming. The importance of making informed choices cannot be overstated. You’re not just feeding yourself but preparing your body to nurture another life.

At Natural Fertility Prescription, our team of seasoned fertility coaches has been the guiding light for countless couples and individuals around the globe. Whether you’re trying to conceive naturally, through IVF, or ART, our tailored 16-week fertility program has witnessed numerous success stories. We merge traditional wisdom with modern science, offering comprehensive guidance at every step of your fertility journey.


Your fertility narrative is deeply personal, and we understand that each step is monumental. By making enlightened choices about the foods you consume, you’re not just catering to your health but fashioning an optimal environment for conception. Every wholesome choice you make draws you closer to the joy of parenthood.

Your questions, experiences, and stories matter to us. Feel free to drop your comments below or reach out at info@fertility-coach.com. If you’re keen on a deep dive into fertility enhancement, don’t forget to download our free “Improve Your Fertility” report. And if you wish for a personalized chat, our fertility coaches are just a call away. Let’s embark on this transformative journey together.


  1. NCBI – Dietary patterns, foods and nutrients in male fertility parameters and fecundability 2 3 4
  2. NCBI – Diet and Fertility: A Review 2 3
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About the Author: NFP Editorial Team

The NFP Team is composed of seasoned professionals in the field of natural health and reproductive wellness. With diverse qualifications ranging from Naturopathy and Reproductive Medicine to Evidence-Based Medicine and Integrative Health, the team brings together a wealth of knowledge and experience. Collectively, they have decades of hands-on experience in treating a myriad of health conditions with a focus on fertility and reproductive issues. Their scientifically grounded approach combines modern medicine with traditional practices, ensuring a holistic healthcare model. The team’s articles, videos, guides, and reports are meticulously researched and designed to provide actionable insights for couples on their path to parenthood. Rest assured, the information presented is rooted in science and honed by the practical, real-world experience of the NFP team members.