The Harvard Nurses' Health Study found that women who ate low-fat dairy products were less likely to get pregnant. The study showed that eating full-fat dairy products, on the other hand, was associated with an increased chance of getting pregnant. This led researchers to recommend that if women are including dairy in their diet they should consume moderate amounts of whole fat rather than low fat dairy products.
However, if you have a Chinese diagnosis of “phlegm damp” or have endometriosis, you should eliminate dairy from your diet completely. Some research has shown that dairy products may increase prostaglandins, which stimulate estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for common endometrial symptoms such as painful menstrual cramps, as well as menorrhagia (heavy menses), diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. In Chinese Medicine, dairy products are thought to create a dampness (mucous) that interferes with the flow of energy through the body, creating stagnation.
Talk to your Chinese medicine practitioner about whether dairy is right for you.
Fertile Diet Recommendations:
Enjoy one serving of whole fat dairy (1/2 cup yogurt, whole milk or 1/2 oz cheese) if that fits your Chinese medicine constitution. Keep in mind that the studies have shown that eating a whole food, mostly plant based diet is the best recipe for fertility. So limit animal proteins including dairy and focus on including a rainbow of fruits and vegetable in your diet every day. You can substitute milk or cream in your coffee, tea, cereal, or baking with unsweetened, fortified, rice, oat, hemp or almond beverages.
Incorporate calcium rich foods into your diet as outlined in The Fertility Food Guide. Take a calcium supplement if you aren’t able to manage getting 1000 mg/day from your diet (i.e. 6 – 8 servings from The Fertility Food Guide). Choose calcium citrate with added magnesium and vitamin D.
However, if you eat a whole food, mostly plant based diet you should be able to absorb enough calcium from your diet.