By: Jada Linton, RDN, LD
Did you know diet can influence your baby’s growth and birth outcome? Many women focus on nutritious meals to incorporate during pregnancy, and we know food choice is very important! Let’s see how peanuts fit.
Peanuts and Fertility
One serving of peanuts has 7 grams of protein plus 30 vitamins and nutrients, which is great for overall nutrition, when you're planning for a baby, and when you're expecting! For both women and men, peanuts are a great addition to meals when it comes to fertility.
Thoughts from the Expert
According to Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CPT, author of The Stress-Free IVF Nutrition Guide & The Fertility Foods Cookbook, and Communications Consultant at ShawSimpleSwaps.com, “Foods are an excellent way to help fuel your fertility! Though there is not one single superfood that will magically get you pregnant, there are many nourishing foods that can help increase your chances of conception, and in reality, live a healthy life too! Plant-forward eating, meaning lots of produce, whole grains, and good fats help fuel the basis of a fertility fueling diet.  A quick fertility fueling meal can be something as simple as a quinoa bowl topped with mixed greens, avocado, lentils, and spicy peanut sauce!”
Shaw further advises that the most important nutritional step for couples struggling with fertility is “to find the time to meal plan together to make the long days (and nights) that much more bearable. For instance, a couple may work long days only to end them with a nightly stop at their fertility clinic to get their blood drawn or a ‘quick’ ultrasound scan. After the stress of such a long day, it can be challenging to have the energy to go home and cook a nourishing meal. Reminding couples that their nutrition is something they are completely in control of in a situation that may feel so out of their control is a gentle reminder that they can regain power of their health and nourish their bodies to the fullest.”
The Latest Guidelines on Peanuts During Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Infancy
Eating peanuts shouldn’t stop once a couple gets pregnant. The latest guidelines (p.23) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) say that maternal diet during pregnancy or breastfeeding should not be restricted as a strategy for preventing the development of food allergy. This exciting news means peanuts can still be included in a balanced diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding! Make sure to discuss any dietary changes with your Physician and Registered Dietitian.
Emerging Research: a recent 2019 cohort study in over 2,200 mothers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in Spain. Researchers observed a nut-rich maternal diet during the first trimester of pregnancy resulting in better outcomes after birth in cognitive function, attention capacity and long-term working memory. Limitations of this study include this being the first study. Researchers must treat the findings with caution and work on reproducing them in the future with more cohort studies as well as randomized controlled trials [the gold standard].” 
In addition to creating new guidelines for intake of peanuts during pregnancy, the NIAID also has new guidelines in regards to early introduction of peanut foods to infants, which suggest introducing peanut foods as early as 4-6 months to help prevent a potential peanut allergy. Visit PreventPeanutAllergies.org for more information and check out these delicious recipes to help introduce peanuts foods early!
The Bottom Line
While there is not one specific food that will enhance your fertility journey, peanuts are a great plant-forward option to add to your upcoming fertility-fueling meals. With the new guidelines, we know mothers should not restrict their diet during pregnancy or when breastfeeding as a way to prevent food allergy from developing in their children.
One of the best ways to increase chances of conception include beginning a fertility fueling plant-forward approach which will help you lead a healthier life. Consult with your registered dietitian and physician to learn better ways to incorporate more plant-forward foods into all of your meals!  Check out all of the wonderful recipes we have that are delicious additions to your plant-forward lifestyle.
- USDA. Guidelines. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-5/
- Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). (2019, May 7). Maternal nut consumption during pregnancy linked to improvements in neurodevelopment in children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 13, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190507080134.htm