Although everyone’s fertility journey is slightly different, almost all of us share two things: the desire to have a child and the need to be healthy. Starting today, with the help of the right foods, you might just accomplish both – and enjoy doing it.
But how, do you ask? How can you achieve two crucial goals at once? Rest assured, choosing the best foods to support your fertility is not about eating perfectly or being perfect. Instead, it’s about teaching yourself to make food choices that help you both conceive a new life and protect your own.
But will you need to hire a dietician or invest in an expensive supplement regimen? Not at all. Instead, you’ll be eating foods that can be found in your kitchen or right around the corner. See for yourself:
8 Foods to Enhance Your Fertility
First on our list is a food that’s probably waiting at the front of your local grocery store, if not in your fridge right now. Raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are high in folic acid and vitamin C, which promote healthy fetal growth.
These foods contain antioxidants and inflammatory phytonutrients, which protect your cells from damaging chemicals we ingest, known as free radicals. And as it turns out, this protection can have a legitimate effect on fertility. In one study, women with a higher fruit intake drastically reduced their chance of infertility.
What’s more, berries are one of the easiest fruits to eat. Sprinkle them in your oatmeal, on a dinner salad, or in your blender for a smoothie.
By now, you’ve no doubt heard the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids for a host of things from heart health to child brain development. Salmon is an excellent source of them.
Additionally, if you add this fish to your diet, you’ll also enjoy a nearly full day’s dose of vitamin D in just three cooked ounces. That’s important because low vitamin D levels have been shown to raise the risk of infertility in studies. It’s also known to decrease inflammation in the body.
Still, if there’s a concern about fish like salmon, it’s the levels of mercury. To lower your risk of ingesting this harmful chemical, be sure to choose fresh caught Salmon instead of that which is harvested in farms.
3. Green Leafy Vegetables
Sure, your parents probably told you to eat your vegetables. But, little did they know that doing so could, one day, help you become a parent. That’s because, in particular, leafy greens like spinach are a good source of fiber, folate, protein, and iron.
Folate, in particular, is thought to support brain, heart, and neural tube development in fetuses, and iron is ever-important to prevent anemia. In addition, fiber can aid your body’s hormone regulation, and plant-based protein, in one study, reduced the risk of ovulatory infertility by 50%. Some sources other than spinach include broccoli, bok choy, and kale.
But wait. What if you’re not excited about eating a similar diet to that of your pet bunny? Keep in mind that you can use various dressings and sauces to dress your leafy greens up or use them in place of things like tortillas.
No longer reserved for dishes at fine restaurants, asparagus is in your local produce department, waiting to nourish you. In just one cup, it offers a full daily dose of vitamin K, 60% of your daily folate dose, and 20% of your daily recommended doses of vitamins A and C and thiamin.
Take note, deficiencies in vitamin K have been associated with infertility and complications like hemorrhaging during birth. On the other hand, vitamin A supports healthy fetal growth, and vitamin C strengthens the immune system and is a powerful antioxidant. Finally, deficiencies in thiamin, aka vitamin B-1, have been linked to infertility and miscarriage.
5. Full Fat Dairy
Thanks to lower-fat substitutes, many of us don’t even consider whole milk these days. However, in the case of fertility, remember that when you’re feeding your body, you could potentially also be feeding a baby.
An excellent source of fat soluble vitamins like A, E, D, and K, full-fat dairy delivers to your body the good stuff. And again, think of vitamin A as important for fetal growth and K and D as supporting fertility.
Not a fan of milk? Consider eating more full-fat yogurt or ice cream (Yes please! But in moderation). Don’t worry. You can thank your child years later when they’re begging you for a double-scoop chocolate cone.
Some of us love them, some of us hate them. Either way, oysters offer you a legitimate, low-cal mega dose of prenatal nutrients.
Sound like an exaggeration? Just six oysters offer you over 400% of your daily recommended B12, 180% of your daily zinc, 187% of your daily recommended selenium, and 43% of your iron. While we already touched on most of these nutrients, zinc regulates hormone function and supports ovulation. And selenium is thought to help fortify egg production.
How’s that for an undersea treasure? Although eating them baked is ok, raw oysters will deliver you the most nutrients.
7. Lentils and Beans
And here’s yet another superfood that could be in your cupboard. Both lentils and beans are good sources of fiber and folate, which help with hormonal balance and protein that promotes healthier ovulation. Vegetable-based protein has even been correlated with lower incidences of anovulation or the absence of ovulation.
Lentils, in particular, also offer a nutrient called polyamine spermidine which may help the sperm fertilize the egg.
So to bring lentils into your diet, consider replacing one or two meals with lentil soup. As for beans, you may want to substitute them into your next salad in the place of cheese or meat.
8. Citrus Fruit
Again, stopping back at the front of your local grocery store, oranges and grapefruit contain the nutrients polyamine spermidine and, of course, vitamin C.
As a reminder, polyamine spermidine is believed to support egg and semen health, and vitamin C offers its immune and antioxidant benefits. One caveat with grapefruit, however, is that it can interact with some prescription medicines. Therefore, be sure to check your medication’s prescribing information and ask your doctor before beginning a serious grapefruit regimen.
Like many foods listed here, citrus fruits aren’t hard to find. That said, we sometimes only think of them as snacks and forget they can dress up and add flavor to your next salad or smoothie.
Fertility Foods – It’s Not About Eating More
By now, hopefully, you feel motivated to add more of these fertility-boosting foods to your grocery list. And with limited real estate in our bellies, these foods can take the place of other, less-healthy foods you may have eaten otherwise. So it’s like getting a double benefit!
And although no food can guarantee your success in conceiving, there’s even more good news: these fertility foods aren’t hard to find. Like we’ve said, some might be only a few feet away on your refrigerator shelf or waiting for you at your local grocer. Therefore, it’s easy to get started with them. Also, check out our post on the best supplements to take when trying to conceive!
No matter which fertility-enhancing foods you choose, always remember that every couple’s journey is a bit different. But you needn’t make the voyage alone. Dr. Sanaz Ghazal, Dr. Joel Batzofin, and their team at RISE Fertility are here to assist you with a variety of treatments and expert advice. To set up your free fertility consultation, contact their Newport Beach or Mission Viejo offices today.