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Answer: Soybeans and foods made with them (like tempeh and tofu) contain isoflavones, plant compounds that may help regulate reproductive hormone production and make ovulation more consistent.
"But it's the overall quality of your diet that matters most when it comes to fertility," says D. Milton Stokes, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and chief dietitian at St. Barnabas Hospital & Nursing Home in New York City.
Pay special attention to fulfilling your RDA of zinc (11 milligrams) and vitamins B6 (1.3 mg) and E (15 mg); deficiencies can hinder reproductive health. Zinc is found in meat and seafood, vitamin B6 in poultry, and vitamin E is plentiful in nuts and seeds.
"Most important, maintain a healthy weight; being too thin or too heavy can lessen your odds of conceiving," says Stokes. And don't forget: Getting enough folic acid is critical to ensuring the healthy development of a fetus. You need at least 400 micrograms per day; good sources include fortified cereal and orange juice.
Originally published in Fitness magazine, December 2005.