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/egg 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 or eating certain foods to eat for fertility 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 fertility foods that may help you along, with some helpful insights from embryologist and fertility expert, Navya Muralidhar.
In this article: 📝
- What should I eat to get pregnant fast?
- What should I eat for fertility?
- What foods increase female fertility?
- What foods increase male fertility?
- What foods are bad for fertility?
- How can I make myself more fertile?
What should I eat to get pregnant fast?
Let’s start with the cornerstones of fertility boosters: food.
We like to think of them as the “6 Fs of Fertility Foods” ‒ Fish, Folates, Fruit, Fats, Fortified cereals, and Foodless sources.
And go for fatty options like salmon. Why?
They come packed with Omega-3. And why is this important?
Well, these little helpers improve blood flow to the ovaries ‒ one of the favorite fertility foods for many of our mamas on Peanut.
Not keen on fish, or opting for a plant-based diet?
There are lots of other great foods for fertility that are also sources of Omega-3, like flax seeds, chia seeds, soybeans, and walnuts ‒ plus, you can always try supplements.
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 Brussels sprouts to your diet.
Many of these vegetables also contain a marvelous little antioxidant called glutathione, which has been proven to help by improving the quality of the eggs.
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.
Not a fan of leafy greens? Well, they are the best fertility foods to get your folates fix, but you can also find folates in many fertility supplements.
Fruit provides all sorts of useful nutrients for your fertility foods grocery list. 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.
We’ve got more on fruits as fertility foods ‒ keep reading!
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.
In fact, switching from low-fat to full-fat dairy can be beneficial as fertility foods.
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.
So fortified cereals are a perfect addition to your fertility foods shopping list.
6. Foodless sources
The demands of contemporary lifestyles can be extreme.
Sometimes, the idea of getting all your nutrients from fertility foods alone is simply impossible.
When you’re thinking about expanding your family, consider taking fertility supplements so that you can get all the folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamins you need.
What should I eat for fertility?
So what are the best fertility foods to eat when trying to get pregnant?
It’s all about keeping those 6 Fs of fertility foods in mind.
Plus, if you’re focusing on improving your egg quality, your most effective fertility foods may be a little different for those keen to boost their sperm quality.
Which fruit is best for fertility?
Most fruits, in general, are great fertility foods, although it’s worth keeping in mind their high sugar content.
As with any other fertility foods, it’s all about moderation and a balanced diet.
Here are some of the best fruits for fertility:
A word of warning: grapefruit can interact with certain medications, so it’s best to check in with your doctor if you’re on any medications before adding it to your list of foods for fertility.
Just as grapefruit are great foods to eat for fertility for their vitamin C, so are oranges.
Even drinking a glass of fresh orange juice can work wonders for your TTC journey.
Another historical symbol of fertility, pomegranates are also top contenders on our fertility foods list.
The seeds of a pomegranate contain high levels of vitamin C, folates, antioxidants, vitamin K, and lots more.
Sprinkle your pomegranate seeds on top of Greek yogurt, salads, or tagines and couscous, or enjoy fresh pomegranate juice for a quick fix.
Pineapple for fertility is surrounded by lots of myths and legends, but the truth is that it’s a great source of vitamin C, which can help improve your iron absorption.
One thing to be aware of is the high sugar content in pineapple, so it’s best to limit your intake to just one serving per day if you’re trying to conceive.
Another of our fertility foods with a high folate content, watermelons are also a great source of ‒ you guessed it ‒ water.
Plus, a healthy dose of vitamins A and C means they can have further benefits to your fertility.
Another of our fruity foods for fertility, guava contains high levels of vitamin C.
Plus, guava leaves are great sources of folates, which we know are fantastic for fertility.
The vitamin B6 and potassium mean that bananas can help regulate your menstrual cycle and ovulation ‒ a quick, easy addition to your fertility foods grocery list.
These tiny dried fruits are also fantastic fertility foods.
They may be small, but they have a decent amount of iron and antioxidants, which can increase the chances of getting pregnant.
9. Kiwi fruit
Another fertility food fruit with lots of folates, nibbling on kiwi fruits as part of your regular diet can boost your chances of pregnancy.
What foods increase female fertility?
So what are the best fertility foods for women to add to your grocery list? Let’s take a look.
10. Beans and lentils
Fiber, protein, folates, potassium… beans and lentils have them all!
If you’re keen to boost your chances of getting pregnant by eating more fertility foods, how about switching some of your protein from meat to beans, legumes, lentils, and pulses?
According to this study, switching from meat-based protein to plant-based protein could result in a “50% lower risk of ovulatory infertility”.
11. Sunflower Seeds
A sprinkling of sunflower seeds every now and then can go a long way.
Rich in vitamin E, folates, omega-3, omega-6, zinc, and selenium (all of which are fertility boosters), it doesn’t take much to benefit from these little beauties.
Not sure how to eat more sunflower seeds? Add a small handful to your salads, snack on some roasted sunflower seeds, or even indulge in some sunflower seed butter. Yup, that’s a thing.
Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries… whichever is your favorite!
Once again, folates and zinc are key contenders for making berries one of our top foods for fertility.
Fresh fruit is best, but you can still get lots of benefits from frozen.
Ohh yes, you can definitely add avocados to your list of fertility foods!
Turns out, they’re full of healthy fats, folates, and vitamin E, which can improve the lining of your uterus, increasing your chances of implantation.
So avocado toast (on whole-grain bread), guacamole, and avocado smoothies are easy additions to your fertility foods plan.
Another fantastic source of meat-free protein is quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).
Quinoa is also a great source of zinc and folates ‒ one of the fertility foods favored by our mamas on Peanut that’s also beneficial to both mama and baby in pregnancy.
15. Greek yogurt
As we mentioned before, going full-fat with your dairy is a must with fertility foods when trying to conceive.
The best part? Greek yogurt contains a host of fertility-boosting elements, like protein, calcium, probiotics, and vitamin D, which are all brilliant at regulating your menstrual cycle.
Sure, it’s stinky, but it’s good for you ‒ and so tasty!
Adding a little garlic to your meals can mean you’ll benefit from the selenium and allicin in this fertility superfood, which can maintain the health of your reproductive organs.
One of our Peanut mamas’ favorite fertility superfoods, salmon is one of the best sources of Omega-3.
One thing to be aware of is where your salmon comes from ‒ some salmon can have higher levels of mercury, which can be detrimental to your fertility.
But, for the most part, salmon has trace amounts of mercury in it, making it a top fertility food for those trying to conceive.
Did you know that asparagus is one of the best sources of folates in all our fertility foods on this list?
Not only that, but inside this veggie stick, you’ll also find vitamins A, B, C, and K, along with zinc, selenium, and thiamin.
Not bad for a single veggie!
19. Honey and bee pollen
Honey has been used as a fertility food for centuries ‒ natural honey, that is.
The best honey to eat as a fertility food? Manuka honey. It’s got more antioxidants and vitamins than ‘regular’ honey.
Bee pollen and royal jelly, while a little harder to find, have been shown to boost fertility, even with just a little added to your foods to eat for fertility list.
Another meat-free source of protein, ideal for those following a vegetarian or pescatarian lifestyle, eggs are one of our top fertility foods to eat any time of day.
Breakfast? Scrambled eggs on whole-grain toast.
Lunch? Salad with a sliced-up boiled egg.
Dinner? Egg-fried brown rice with veggies.
Don’t forget to eat the yolk, too! Egg yolks are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals: Omega-3, vitamin B, folates, iron, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc… the list goes on!
21. Chia seeds
These teeny-tiny seeds are big players in foods for fertility.
If you’re looking to up your Omega-3 intake, but aren’t a fan of fish, switch over to chia seeds to get your Omega-3s.
Unless you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, full-fat milk should be a definite addition to your fertility foods list.
A healthy source of saturated fats, vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin B12, and lots more, a glass of milk a day can help bring a baby your way!
Just make sure to opt for pasteurized milk, to avoid potential food poisoning.
Okay, this one can be an acquired taste for fertility foods.
But liver is packed full of vitamin A, folates, iron, and antioxidants, which have been proven to boost your fertility and reduce your chances of ovulatory infertility.
Not just for getting you in the mood, oysters are generally an amazing fertility food, much-loved by our mamas on Peanut.
In oysters, you’ll find a host of fertility-boosting vitamins, including iron, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, folates, and vitamin D.
So next time you’re enjoying oysters on date night, you could also be eating one of the best fertility foods and improving your chances of getting pregnant!
The love of pumpkin spice fans around the world, cinnamon is also a super fertility food.
According to a recent study, a cinnamon supplement could encourage more regular cycles, which can, in turn, improve your chances of pregnancy.
But even adding a touch of cinnamon powder to your coffee, milk, yogurt, or oatmeal, can have the desired effect.
Green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of folates, iron, vitamin A, and calcium, and kale is one of the best.
So kale is a sure-fire addition to your fertility foods grocery list!
Another top leafy green foods for fertility, like kale, spinach is equally as rich in folates and vitamin A, as well as iron and potassium.
Whether you choose to blanch, boil, or serve your spinach fresh is totally up to you.
Following the green theme, next on our list of top fertility foods is broccoli.
Not only another source of folates, calcium, vitamin A, and iron, broccoli also contains a decent amount of vitamin C, to help you absorb that iron!
29. Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a little different than the other fertility foods on our list ‒ they contain something called di-indolylmethane (catchy name), which helps maintain your estrogen levels, further encouraging a regular menstrual and ovulation cycle.
This bright purple root is recommended for those undergoing IVF and other fertility treatments.
This is because of the antioxidants in beets, which can encourage a healthy blood flow to your reproductive organs, making for a nice place for a baby to live for the next 9 months.
31. Sweet potatoes
One of our favorite complex carbs for fertility!
Not only because of their fiber and sheer deliciousness, but also because they contain beta-carotene, which can help boost your progesterone levels, which is the hormone that helps your uterus get ready for a baby.
Like salmon, sardines are also high in Omega-3, which can be beneficial in a fertility food.
So if you’re a friend to fish, definitely snap this one up ‒ hook, line, and sinker.
33. Sea moss
When it comes to sea moss and fertility, there’s still a little more research to be done.
Why is sea moss in our list of top foods to eat for fertility? It’s got high levels of iodine, which may be linked to increased fertility.
How do you eat sea moss? Well, grabbing any old moss next time you’re on the beach isn’t a great idea. Instead, you can find it in most health food stores as a supplement to sprinkle over your food.
34. Lean meats
As we mentioned before, protein is key to boosting your fertility.
If you’re feeling meaty, it’s best to keep things lean.
Turkey, chicken, and beef in their leanest forms are the best additions of animal-based protein to your fertility food plan.
Another source of plant-based protein, fiber, and vitamin E, hazelnuts can also be added to your fertility foods shopping list.
But you may have to limit your consumption of Nutella ‒ while it does have some of the benefits of hazelnuts, it’s also got a pretty high sugar and trans fat content, which might be a hindrance to your baby-making efforts.
One of our favorite pulses on this fertility foods list, chickpeas are chock-full of protein, fiber, potassium, zinc, and even estrogen, which can help boost your chances of conceiving.
Any excuse for more hummus!
While okra water for fertility isn’t yet proven by science, okra themselves can be great additions to your fertility foods list.
Folates, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C… okra has it all, and more!
Loaded with the healthy monounsaturated fats that support the reproductive system, as well as Vitamin E and other vitamins and minerals, snacking on almonds is a great way to give your fertility a delicious boost!
39. Brazil nuts
Loaded with selenium, which can help thicken the uterine wall, making things nice and comfy-cozy for future baby, Brazil nuts are a great addition to your fertility foods plan.
Even just eating 2 Brazil nuts per day can get you the selenium you need to make your uterus a snuggly place for future baby.
Of course, we had to include our namesake!
Peanuts are nutrient-rich, making them the perfect fertility food (in moderation, of course), full of protein, folates, vitamin E, and a touch of fiber.
What foods increase male fertility?
If you’re trying to conceive with a male partner (not via IVF, surrogacy, or another fertility treatment), there are some fertility foods for men to enjoy to give their sperm quality a boost!
Nuts and seeds
Sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, pecans, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds are all fantastic fertility foods for men.
The combination of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and Omega-3 helps with sperm motility and sperm count ‒ helping them move better and helping the testes produce more sperm.
Another fertility food for men and women, lean meats contain reasonable levels of zinc which can help with sperm quality.
It’s also a great source of protein, which, as we know, is key in a fertility food.
Once again, essential fatty acids and Omega-3 make oily fish another must-have fertility food for men.
Which oily fish to eat for fertility? Sardines, salmon, and mackerel are top of our list.
Does fenugreek make you more fertile?
Well, fenugreek can improve sperm quality and encourage a longer sexual performance ‒ so when it comes to fenugreek, fertility is what it does best!
The figs benefits for sperm are vast.
We’re talking antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber ‒ all sperm count-boosting, motility-encouraging fertility goodness!
Figs are easily one of the best fruits for fertility for men and women.
We bet you didn’t expect to see cheese on this list of fertility foods for men!
Turns out, mature cheeses contain polyamines, which can improve sperm health overall.
So if you’re the type of person who overloads their pasta with parmesan, you could be onto something.
What foods are bad for fertility?
Rather than thinking of avoiding (because who wants to do that), think of exchanging.
Here are our top three fertility foods 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.
How can I make myself more fertile?
So what else can you do, besides eating fertility foods, to make your chances of conceiving even better?
Here are our top tips for boosting your fertility:
- Fertility supplements: Speak with your doctor about adding fertility supplements to support your diet ‒ folic acid, B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, selenium, and zinc are generally included in most fertility supplements. Our Peanut community recommends the Vitabiotics Pregnacare Conception Max as an all-round fertility supplement, it includes zinc which contributes to normal fertility and reproduction, 400µg folic acid, in an advanced form called L-Methylfolate, plus other nutrients including Omega-3, Vitamin D, and Inositol.
- Track your ovulation: Keeping a schedule of your ovulation (usually around day 14 of your cycle) can significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant. So get your calendar out and plan the best days to have sex!
- Exercise: Adding light exercise to your daily routine can also increase your chances of conceiving ‒ so long as you don’t take it to the extreme.
- Stop smoking: You might already know that smoking while pregnant isn’t a good idea, but did you know that smoking while trying to conceive can also lower your chances of getting pregnant? Even cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day can increase your fertility.
- Cut down on the alcohol: Just like smoking, drinking alcohol while pregnant is a no-no. The same goes for trying to conceive ‒ even a few glasses of wine a day can negatively impact your chances of getting pregnant.
- Manage your stress: If you’re feeling stressed, we’re sorry to say that could be affecting your fertility, too. Things like meditating, exercising, and doing more of your hobbies can reduce your stress levels, which can boost your fertility.
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.
💡 You might like:
Ovulation Tests: How They Work & When to Use Them
7 Possible Ovulation Symptoms
6 Essential Oils for Fertility
What is a Reproductive Endocrinologist?
Should You Pee After Sex While Trying to Conceive?
Do Prenatal Vitamins Help You Get Pregnant?
An Intro to Fertility Crystals