5 Fertility Boosting Foods
People often ask me “What’s nutrition got to do with fertility?”
Bear in mind, your body uses the nutrients from the food you eat and supplements you take to repair cells, produce hormones and ultimately create healthy eggs and sperm. You have probably heard the term;
"You are what you eat"
Our ova (eggs) and sperm are made up of nutrients such as omega 3 fats, zinc, vitamin C and E. Deficiencies in some nutrients can impair the quality of the sperm and egg and therefore some couples may find it difficult to conceive, it may cause infertility, miscarriage or impact foetal development.
Essentially the health of the parents prior to conception dictates the health of the baby.
So, in many ways your fertility depends on what you put into your mouth. This is why considering a pre-conception plan by addressing your diet and lifestyle is essential prior to conception.
With this in mind I have put together my top 5 fertility boosting foods below:
Whole grains - Carbohydrates are your key energy source and they are also loaded with the energy vitamins, B vitamins and fertility boosting vitamins such as zinc, selenium essential for hormone balancing. They are also packed full of fibre which is vital for fertility helping to release toxins and old hormones. Include lots of wholegrains, rye, corn, millet, wholemeal breads, brown rice, buckwheat, raw vegetables, steamed vegetables, beans and pulses. Steer clear of white flour and other refined grains that have little or no nutritional value
Vitamin C rich foods– Studies have shown that those who include foods rich in vitamin C from fruit and vegetables were 46% less likely to miscarry. Vitamin C has also shown a significant impact on both sperm motility and conception. Include foods like strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit, mangoes, red peppers, green sprouting vegetables like brussels sprouts, watercress and parsley are great additions to your diet.
Green leafy vegetables – leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce, rocket, watercress and broccoli contain many nutrients needed for conception and prevention of miscarriage such as vitamin E and folic acid.
Protein – Important for balancing blood sugar and supplying the body with essential amino acids needed for building and repairing cells, manufacturing hormones and healthy reproductive function. A high quality protein at every meal is essential to ensure a constant supply. Good sources include oily fish, eggs, pulses, beans, nuts and seeds. Limiting beef and poultry may be beneficial as studies have linked it to oestrogen dependant conditions that affect fertility. According to a study, women following a high animal-protein diet were more likely to have problems conceiving and less likely to carry a pregnancy to full term.
Oily Fish – Mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout and herring are great sources of Omega 3. The benefits of which extend way beyond fertility and into pregnancy supporting healthy brain and eye development in the foetus and also for a healthy birth weight. Aiming to consume oily fish up to 2 times per week in conjunction with a good quality fish oil supplement can be very beneficial. You will also find Omega 3 in other foods such as eggs, flaxseed, nuts and seeds.
Water is also critical to fertility as it helps flush out toxins and provides sufficient fluids for conception to occur. There are many components that make a healthy body and just some of the reasons to consider a pre-conception plan for you and your partner. I usually recommend this over a 3 month period (if not longer) mainly because sperm regenerates every 3 months and so too can its quality if we enhance our nutritional choices.
If you’re curious and want to learn more, our podcast “Tips to Getting and Staying Pregnant” is available now.
If your trying or thinking about conceiving “The Broody Foodie” Course is designed to help you prepare yours and your partners body. Available now!
Elysia Doody is a Functional Nutritionist & Exercise Coach specialising in female health and wellness and the founder of The Female Wellness Hub.
She’s embraced Functional Medicine to address her health concerns, and is now helping as many women as possible in a similar position. Taking everything she’s learned through education, her own health, and working with clients, she’s keen to share it all through online programmes.