Can Legumes Help Me Get Pregnant?

Are you trying to conceive? Most of us know how important eating well during pregnancy is, but did you know what you eat before conception can impact your chances of conceiving and influence your baby’s future health?

There’s growing evidence to suggest following a Mediterranean style diet, based on plant based proteins, seafood, wholegrains, fruit and vegetables leads to better fertility in both men and women¹. 

Let’s look at one change you could make today

Could you add more plant based proteins in your diet to improve your health and your chances of getting pregnant? Plant based proteins are found in nuts, seeds, legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and red kidney beans, tofu and wholegrains.  

A study by Harvard University Researchers found that swapping 25g of animal based protein with 25g of plant based protein each day improved the fertility of the subjects by 50%². And, no, this doesn’t mean you have to give up all animal based protein foods. These foods include; fish, eggs, meat and dairy, are packed with nutrients which are great for fertility.

Start by adding in some legumes

Legumes, also known as pulses aren’t just for vegetarians. They’re packed with nutrients. They are high in fibre, have a low glycaemic index, and contain B-group vitamins, iron, calcium, zinc and folate all of which are helpful when trying to conceive. 

Examples of legumes include chickpeas, kidney beans, baked beans (navy beans), four bean mix, soybeans and lentils. They can be dry (which need to be soaked before cooking) or canned.

In my dietetic practice clients often tell me they like legumes but don’t know what to do with them. They might eat baked beans and hummus, add kidney beans to minestrone soup or a Mexican chilli meal but need help with more ideas. 

Top tips to eat more legumes

  • Reduce the meat in casserole dishes and add beans or lentils
  • Add lentils or beans to your soups
  • Use four bean mix, lentils or chickpeas in salads
  • Have baked beans for breakfast on wholegrain toast
  • Make soybean, chickpea or lentil patties
  • Snack on oven roasted chickpeas
  • Replace some of the meat in Mexican tacos or burritos with red kidney beans
  • Spread hummus on a sandwich or wrap instead of mayonnaise
  • Snack on hummus with vegetable sticks or grainy crackers
  • Add chickpeas or lentils to Indian curries


In Summary….

Following a healthy diet can improve your chances of falling pregnant. Swapping some animal based protein for plant based protein is one healthy change you can make today. An easy way to do this is to add more legumes into your diet. 

If you’re trying to conceive or are already pregnant and would like help I’d love to hear from you. I can work with you to optimise your diet to improve your chances of having a healthy baby. 

Take the first step and contact Nicole at Best Food Forward.

Nicole Moroney APD AN
Specialising in – Fertility and Pregnancy
Between exhaustion, nausea, hunger and confusion from information overload, pregnancy can be a challenging time to eat well. Nicole specialises in helping mums-to-be eat well during pregnancy. Having over 10 years’ experience as a dietitian and being a mum herself Nicole excels in providing practical information to help you find the enjoyment in eating during pregnancy again. Nicole has a keen interest in nutrition for fertility and takes pride in helping couples who are trying to conceive optimise their diet

1. Panth N, Gavarkovs A, Tamez M, Mattei J. The Influence of Diet on Fertility and the Implications for Public Health Nutrition in the United States. Front Public Health 2018;6:211
2. Chavarro J, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner BA, Willett WC. Protein intake and ovulatory infertility. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Feb:198(2).e1-7