Foods that Boost Fertility
In an ideal world, we’d all be making the healthiest eating choices every single day. Ice cream and french fries would actually be healthy choices and gaining 10 (or more) unwanted pounds wouldn’t be possible. But, this is reality. So when you find yourself starting or expanding your family, here’s how to maximize your fertility, helping you get pregnant ASAP!
Not only is it ideal to be a healthy weight when trying to conceive, but consuming a healthy fertility-driven diet has the potential to improve reproductive function, maintain hormonal balance, and build important nutrient stores for pregnancy.
Most of us know it’s important to include macronutrients in our everyday diet like healthy fats, complex carbohydrates (that break down slowly in the body), protein and fiber. But when you’re trying to conceive, there are a few extra, powerhouse nutrients you should incorporate in your diet too.
Essential Nutrients when TTC
When focused on improving fertility, some of the most important nutrients to include in your diet are iron, folate, essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins B, C, D, and zinc, plus essential fatty acids (omega-3s). And good news, all of these nutrients are also great for improving male fertility, so get your partner on board with your healthy eating routine too!
Multivitamin – Before incorporating the following fertility boosting foods in your diet, add a good multi- or pre-natal vitamin (a vitamin with at least 400 mg of folic acid) to your routine. This helps cover any nutrients you may miss from day to day, though nothing replaces good, healthy food.
Iron – Women with adequate iron stores are more likely to ovulate regularly, plus iron can improve the overall health of your eggs! Iron is also incredibly important when pregnant. Did you know you’ll gain 4 pounds of blood while pregnant? That’s a lot of iron! Foods rich in iron include leafy greens, lentils, beans and seeds like raw pumpkin and sesame (red meat is also high in iron, but more lean sources of protein are recommended when trying to conceive so consider limiting beef).
Folic acid – Folic acid is one of the most important nutrients to consume when trying to conceive. Folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects and other abnormalities in a developing fetus. It also decreases your chances of delivering preterm and can ensure a healthy birth weight. Folic acid can be found in foods like lentils, beans, leafy greens, and asparagus.
Vitamin B6 and B12 – Vitamins B6 and B12 are included in pre-natal vitamins and for good reason! B vitamins help regulate hormones, boost endometrium lining in egg fertilization (decreasing the possibility of miscarriage), and may even help stave off pesky morning sickness! Vitamin B is abundant in lots of foods, but some great examples include cold water fish and shellfish like tuna, salmon, cod, clams, and oysters—to name a few. Plus eggs, cheese, leafy greens, broccoli, and asparagus.
Vitamins D and C – Vitamins D and C both improve hormone levels and increase fertility. Vitamin D can be found in eggs, dairy, and fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna. Vitamin C can be found in foods like oranges, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, pineapples, and mangos.
Zinc – Zinc works with more than 300 enzymes in the body to help our cells divide properly, balancing estrogen and progesterone levels—both critical in ovulation, maintaining pregnancy, and decreasing the chance of miscarriage. Foods high in zinc include yogurt, peas, seeds, turkey, and beef.
Essential fatty acids – Essential fatty acids include what’s most commonly known as omega-3s. Omega 3s have tons of fertility benefits like improving cervical mucous, promoting ovulation, and increasing blood flow to your reproductive organs. Key essential fatty acids can be found in loads of healthy fats like olive oil, walnuts, and fish like mackerel and salmon, plus leafy greens.
So, what is your first fertility boosting meal? As you plan your menu, work to include various nutrients and create healthy, balanced meals. Then chow down and look forward to pregnancy with peace of mind, knowing you’re doing the best you can to support your fertility by including lots of extra good baby-making nutrients.
Meet the Author
Hi, I’m Michele! I’m a NASM and pre- and post-natal corrective exercise certified personal trainer, running my own in-home personal training business in CT and blogging for fun. After years of infertility struggles, my husband and I are the proud parents of two daughters (born 15 months apart!), two dogs, and four ducks. Life gets a little crazy in our home! To read more about the chaos, plus learn about fitness and food, check out my blog Fitness Bites.