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The list of foods to avoid for the sake of fertility has grown longer.


A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that eating fruit that has many pesticides on it ‘may be associated with adverse reproductive consequences’.


The study followed 325 women who were experiencing infertility treatment with assisted reproductive technology. It is part of an ongoing project called Environment and Reproductive Health (EARTH) Study, which seeks to pinpoint the determinants of fertility.


As a part of the process, the women filled out thorough questionnaires about their dietary habits. They were also asked about other relevant factors, like their age and reproductive history, which affect IVF success.


The study concluded that eating ‘high-pesticide residue fruits and vegetables’ correlated with a lower likelihood of live birth in these women undergoing IVF. Meanwhile, eating fruit and veg with fewer pesticides on them was not linked to that result.



Compared with women who ate less than one serving of high-pesticide residue fruit and veg a day, women who ate 2.3 or more servings of high-pesticide fruit and veg daily were 18 percent less likely to become clinically pregnant.


The women in the latter category also had 26 percent lower probability of live birth.


Bear in mind that these results are related to the success of infertility treatment with assisted reproductive technology, not reproductive health in general.


So what about the fruit and veg in our own backyard? How likely is it that we are consuming high-pesticide residue foods?



A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report from 2015 showed that 97.2% of fruit and veg samples fell within EU legal limits of pesticide residue.


The biggest offender was broccoli, with 3.4 percent of samples exceeding the legal limits, and table grapes, of which 1.7 percent had too much residue.


However, the pesticide level metric used for the EFSA differs from that used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with the latter measure being utilized in the EARTH study.


So get your five a day – but maybe wash them first!



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