When it comes to the secrets of fertility, research shows that what foods you choose to eat can have an impact on your ability to become pregnant.
One study followed 17,544 women without a history of infertility for eight years as they tried to become pregnant or became pregnant. For women who ate certain fertility foods, there was a lower risk of ovulatory infertility. The study concluded that following a “fertility diet” pattern may favorably influence fertility in otherwise healthy women.
In another study, women who followed a Mediterranean diet 6 months prior to receiving in vitro fertilization (IVF) showed a “significantly better chance” of pregnancy – a roughly 66% greater chance than women with the lowest adherence to the healthy diet.
Food is powerful!
Let’s explore the best fertility foods to support your reproductive vitality.
The Fertility Diet
Believe it or not, there really is a diet called “The Fertility Diet.”
Researchers of the study mentioned above took an in-depth look at the landmark Nurses’ Health Study. By correlating diet patterns with fertility outcomes, they made some evidence-based dietary suggestions for improving ovulatory fertility.
Here’s a quick “cheat sheet” of some of the diet’s most important food recommendations:
Eat an abundance of healthy fats that support healthy blood sugar and a healthy inflammatory response in the body such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and cold-water fish rich in omega-3s like wild salmon and sardines. Eat minimal amounts of saturated fat and skip trans fats altogether.
Lay off the animal protein and increase the amount of plant protein you get from sources such as beans, lentils, peas, soybeans (or tofu), and nuts. Plant protein is associated with greater fertility.
Slow-Burning Healthy Carbs
Enjoy whole carbohydrates that digest slowly and are rich in fiber such as veggies, whole fruit, and beans. Avoid refined carbs that tend to spike blood sugar as healthy blood sugar levels are important for fertility.
Plants, Plants, Plants
Many micronutrients, including iron, are found in plant sources. Be sure to get plenty of spinach, beans, pumpkin, and tomatoes.
Skim milk is associated with infertility. Enjoy some full-fat yogurt so you get the added probiotics or enjoy organic whole milk.
Stress can affect fertility, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to follow the recommendations perfectly. Adopt an “easy does it” attitude to maintain calm.
Here are several foods especially rich in nutrients shown to support healthy fertility in women. Sprinkle them into your diet in creative ways.
7 Natural Fertility Foods for Women
Beets and beetroot are rich in nitrates, which are a known vasodilator. Vasodilators help to widen blood vessels and improve blood flow. Greater blood flow to the uterus helps with embryo implantation.
As mentioned, folic acid is critical for women attempting to get pregnant and asparagus is loaded with folate! One cup delivers more than half of your daily recommended folic acid intake, plus all the recommended vitamin K, which is important for nutrient absorption.
Asparagus gives you a good dose of vitamin A and a host of minerals too. Additionally, asparagus contains glutathione, an antioxidant believed to improve egg quality.
Avocados are rich in vitamin E, which can help to improve the lining of the uterus. They’re also high in potassium, folate, and vitamin K.
- Dark leafy greens
Nature hid a lot of the most vital nutrients in dark leafy greens. Eat lots of them for fertility. Kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are loaded with essential nutrients for pregnancy like calcium, iron, and folate, as well as dietary fiber.
- Sweet potatoes
The beta-carotene in sweet potatoes may help increase production of the hormone progesterone, which you need healthy levels of for fertility.
- Organic Berries
Enjoy loads of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. They’re rich in antioxidants, which can neutralize free radicals in your body that are potentially damaging to egg cells.
Choose organic to avoid consuming residual pesticides. They make a wonderful naturally sweet dessert that’s good for blood sugar levels.
Not surprisingly, the symbol of fertility is indeed good for fertility! In addition to being an excellent source of protein, eggs are rich in choline, which has been associated with significant positive effects on fetal development in studies.
Egg yolks also have iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12. If you eat eggs from pasture-raised chickens, you’ll also get the fertility-boosting omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and vitamin K2.
Part of the Solution
Diet is one of a host of lifestyle factors that influence fertility, including weight, exercise, stress levels, and environmental and/or occupational exposures, to name a few.
Yet, there are some fertility issues that cannot be solved through lifestyle changes alone.
If you’re planning to get pregnant or already having difficulty getting pregnant, be sure to consult your healthcare provider.
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