Before we get started, know this: fertility is all kinds of complicated. While including certain fertility foods in your diet is one of many possible factors that may increase your chances of baby-making, it’s by no means the be-all and end-all.
Unfortunately, it’s just not as simple as: 1. Eat fertility superfoods. 2. Get pregnant. We wish it was.
Another thing to note is that it takes sperm and ova to make babies—and struggling to conceive could be a result of either. From genetic conditions to anomalies to illness, there are many reasons why conceiving can be less than straightforward.
Sadly, fertility issues are more common than we talk about. According to the CDC, about 12% of women up to the age of 44 struggle to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term. If you’re currently going through this journey, take care of yourself, and don’t forget to reach out for support from other women on Peanut.
So can a fertility diet help? The answer is: yes, it can help as one of the many factors that go into providing the optimal conditions for pregnancy. Here are some of the foods that may help you along.
Foods that increase fertility
What foods affect fertility?
So what are the foods to eat to increase fertility? Let’s take a look.
Think the 6 Fs of Fertility Foods. They are: Fish, Folates, Fruit, Fats, Fortified cereals, Foodless sources.
And go for fatty options like salmon. Why? They come packed with Omega-3s. And why is this important? Well, these little helpers improve blood flow to the ovaries.
You may know folates as Vitamin B9. So how does this wonder of fertility foods work? In all sorts of ways, from increasing sperm count to helping out with cell division necessary for a baby to grow. You can up your intake by adding sources such as leafy greens, broccoli, and brussel sprouts to your diet. Many of these vegetables also contain a marvelous little antioxidant called glutathione, and this has been proven to help out in the ova department.
Not a bad idea to pack your plate with veggies at any time, but when you’re en route to babydom, it’s even more important. Think coloring half your plate green.
Fruit provides all sorts of useful nutrients for your fertility diet. The highlights? Figs are a great iron source, berries are packed with antioxidants and may even increase libido, and citrus fruit has shown potential in keeping both eggs and sperm in tip-top shape.
This is the time to be eating full-fat yogurt and other sources of good fats. (Avocado toast obsession? Go wild.) It’s important when it comes to keeping your eggs and your blood transportation systems healthy.
5. Fortified cereals:
Sufficient iron intake is always important but even more so now. Choosing fortified cereals can help you reach your iron intake goals. (All fortified means is that vitamins and minerals not naturally found in the cereal type have been added for extra health zing.)
6. Foodless sources:
Embrace supplements. The demands of contemporary lifestyles can be extreme. Sometimes, the idea of getting all your nutrients from food alone is simply impossible. When you’re thinking about expanding your family, consider taking prenatal supplements so that you can get all the folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamins you need.
And here’s you quick cheatsheet:
And then, on the other side of the coin:
What foods should I avoid for fertility?
Rather than thinking of avoiding (because who wants to do that), think of exchanging. Here are our top three fertility nutrition swap outs.
- Natural sweets (like fruits) in exchange for sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners.
- Good fats for bad fats. Opt for monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids over trans and saturated fats.
- Exchange the animal proteins for vegetable proteins, where possible.
Lastly, trying to conceive can be a challenging time. While fertility foods may be able to do their part, remember that they’re just one piece of the puzzle. Be gentle with yourself.