If you are frequently forgetting to taking oral contraceptives at the same time every day, you are increasing the chances of becoming pregnant. If you don’t want to switch to another form of birth control are there any foods that might help or hurt your contraceptive chances?
I spoke with our resident expert on all things food-related, Mary Hartley, RD, and this is what she told me. “Foods that are high in isoflavones have been called ‘natural contraceptives.'”
Isoflavones are plant-based estrogen-like compounds that could, in theory, create hormonal imbalances that affect ovulation and interact with birth control. Genistein, the most potent isoflavone, is found in legumes, and so soy foods, peas, peanuts, chick peas, and fava beans have been thought to influence fertility. Wild yams (not to be confused with sweet potato yams) contain the isoflavone, diosgenin, but it has a very weak effect compared to the body’s own reproductive hormones. At this point, the potential health benefits and risks of the various isoflavones are under investigation, but there is no current data to suggest that normal intakes are likely to cause hormonal imbalances.
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