Do yogurt lovers have more babies and get pregnant faster? Maybe!
Research from MIT found that fertility and reproductive health in both male and female mice improved when their diets included yogurt. Not a mouse? Researchers next door at Harvard University say that similar fertility-friendly effects can be seen in humans.
In the study, researchers divided mice into three groups: mice fed standard "chow" only, mice given yogurt in addition to chow, and mice fed a steady diet of processed junk food. As Scientific American reports, "First, scientists noticed that the yogurt-eating mice were incredibly shiny ... The testicles of the male yogurt-eaters were about 5 percent heavier than those of mice fed typical diets alone and around 15 percent heavier than those of junk food-eating males. In mating experiments, yogurt-eating males inseminated their partners faster and produced more offspring than control mice." Female mice on yogurt diets gave birth to larger litters and weaned those pups with greater success.
Researchers believe that probiotic microbes in yogurt help animals—including humans—become leaner and healthier, which indirectly improves sexual function. "So far our preliminary findings are consistent with what they see in the mice," explains Harvard University scientist Jose Chavarro about the effect of yogurt intake on semen quality. Another study at Harvard found that women who consume full-fat yogurt and other full-fat dairy (as opposed to low-fat or no-fat dairy) have fewer fertility problems related to ovulation.
As part of a healthy preconception diet, it's easy to give your baby-making efforts a food-based boost by making this fertility smoothie: In a blender, mix 1 cup of yogurt, 1/2 cup of antioxidant-rich strawberries, and 1 tablespoon of flax seed. Flax is high in both omega 3 essential fatty acids and other compounds thought to help balance hormones and promote normal ovulation.