Wondering how to improve egg quality? We’ve teamed up with a fertility expert and nutritionist to answer all of your questions on fertility and egg quality.
Natalie Coghlan is a nutritionist and fertility expert who helps busy women eat better and realize their dreams of becoming mothers. Get in touch to explore your fertility and nutrition journey.
For some reason, we’re often led to believe that our fertility journey is pre-programmed for us, and that there isn’t anything we can do about the quality of our eggs to support conceiving.
But truthfully, this isn’t the case!
Read on to discover my top nutritional tips to help improve egg quality.
(This article has been medically reviewed by embryologist and fertility expert, Navya Muralidhar.)
In this article: 📝
- What causes poor egg quality?
- How can I increase my egg quality and quantity naturally?
- What changes can I make to improve my egg quality?
- Fertility superfoods to support egg quality
What causes poor egg quality?
Diets that are low in antioxidants (not enough vegetables), high in carbohydrates that increase blood sugar levels (bread, cake, sweets, crisps, chips, rice, pasta), and high in inflammatory processed oils (such as rapeseed oil, vegetable oils and margarine), can all contribute to an internal environment that negatively impacts the quality of our eggs.
As we are born with all the eggs we will ever have, we need a diet and lifestyle that supports the life cycle of our eggs so they can mature and grow in the most ideal environment.
Beginning as immature egg cells, they patiently wait to mature, grow and undergo a major transformation before one is chosen to leave the follicle and have that all-important chance of being fertilized ‒ this can take up to 4 months.
This continuous process gives us the chance to make diet and lifestyle decisions to influence the health of that egg that is maturing, growing, and transforming.
The ideal diet for egg quality is:
- Rich in antioxidants
- Keeping blood sugar low
How can I increase my egg quality and quantity naturally?
While there’s no way of increasing our quantity of eggs ‒ we have as many eggs as we’re born with ‒ there are ways to improve our egg quality.
One of the best ways to improve your egg quality naturally is to switch up your diet and nutrition.
What changes can I make to improve my egg quality?
The single most effective change you can make to your diet is to reduce the number of refined carbohydrates.
After eating something that contains refined carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta, crisps, cereal ‒ all the best things!), your body releases a hormone called insulin to help move sugar out of your blood.
This process happens automatically because having too much sugar in your blood can cause damage to cells, organs, and your egg quality.
If a high intake of carbohydrates continues throughout the day and over multiple days, our cells become resistant to insulin.
This means your blood glucose levels will remain high, and more and more insulin will be released to overcompensate for the sugar in your blood.
What can you do?
You can always have your blood glucose levels checked to determine if they’re within a good range or too high.
If they’re too high, removing carbohydrates to bring down the level of sugar in your blood is a good place to start to ensure your egg quality improves.
Fertility superfoods to support egg quality
So, as a nutritionist, here are my recommended foods to eat if you’re trying to improve your egg quality.
Fertility-boosting food #1: Antioxidant-rich vegetables
My number one fertility-friendly food?
Start replacing your refined carbohydrates at mealtimes with a variety and large portions of vegetables.
Instead of toast or cereal for breakfast, try a two-egg omelet with spinach, tomatoes, and cheese.
Not only are vegetables packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water; the majority of vegetables are a rich source of antioxidants!
Fertility-boosting food #2: Protein
We can’t solely function on vegetables and low-sugar fruit.
We all need protein and fats to be optimally healthy… Especially when it comes to egg quality.
So, by increasing the quantity and quality of protein in your diet, your body will be able to provide the essential nutrients and the building blocks required to support egg quality during the process of maturation and growth that our eggs go through.
The most complete protein sources are meat, fish, and eggs.
- For breakfast, try scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.
- For lunch, tuna, and avocado salad.
- And for dinner, barbequed chicken legs with creamy spinach and broccoli are always a winner.
The most nutritious sources of plant proteins are lentils, black beans, and chickpeas.
- For breakfast, try homemade granola with nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, full-fat yogurt, and raspberries.
- For lunch, give creamy broccoli and cheddar cheese soup a go.
- And for dinner, I love cauliflower rice and mushroom risotto.
Plant sources of protein naturally contain a higher amount of carbohydrates, so keep an eye on the carbohydrate content of your meal.
Fertility-boosting food #3: Healthy fats
My final tip is to increase healthy fats to improve egg quality.
Fat is an essential nutrient in the body especially when TTC, and fat shouldn’t be feared even if you want to lose weight.
Fats provide a source of long-burning energy, so we don’t experience the energy highs and lows we do with carbohydrates.
Our hormones and cell membranes are made of fat so we need fat to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K.
As our eggs begin their life as immature cells, they require essential vitamins, like the fat-soluble ones, to ensure the quality is optimal ready for when it matures to become the ‘chosen one’ to be released at ovulation.
This nourished egg then stands a better chance of maintaining a healthy pregnancy when fertilized with healthy sperm.
- Add avocados, nuts, and seeds to your lunchtime salads
- Cook with olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil instead of rapeseed oil, vegetable oil, or margarine
- Eat oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, at least two times per week
A word on foods to avoid when trying to get pregnant: highly processed polyunsaturated fats where the source is soybeans, corn, sunflower seeds or rapeseed.
This is because they’re inflammatory to the body and compete with the essential anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids.
For fertile health, you want a high omega-3 intake and low omega-6 intake, which again supports the ideal environment for eggs to mature and grow.
There you have it.
The health of our eggs can be influenced before ovulation and the food that we eat can directly influence our egg quality.
Swapping to a fertility-boosting diet will take you one step closer to giving yourself the best chance of pregnancy by improving your egg quality.