Have you ever heard that your diet can affect your fertility?
Today, you will discover the best fertility foods that you should include in your diet, and what foods should you avoid to boost your chances of getting pregnant.
Infertility is the distasteful recipe for stress and emotional distress, and this is especially true for couples who have been struggling to conceive.
However, you and your partner can beat infertility by watching what you eat.
It might seem unbelievable, but the foods you consume can actually determine your fertility outcome. But don’t get it twisted — these foods, also known as fertility foods, won’t magically “pop out babies” for you, but they can contribute positively to the baby-making process.
A lot of bodily functions are involved in the reproductive process; these include hormonal balance, egg and sperm production, and blood circulation to mention but a few.
And like with all body systems, the foods you consume can either make or mar these functions. With this in mind, you might want to start taking fertility foods seriously.
And just like it takes two to tango, it also takes two to make a baby. So, both men and women (trying to conceive) need to start eating right, and there is no better time than now to learn how!
Table Of Contents
- 1 Best Foods to Increase Female Fertility
- 2 Best Foods to Increase Male Fertility
- 3 Can Foods Affect My Fertility?
Best Foods to Increase Female Fertility
Almost everyone and every article say the same thing — eat right, keep fit, maintain a healthy weight, cut back on alcohol, and boom — there’ll be a “bun in your oven.”
But have you by any chance heard of “foods to increase female fertility” ? No? Well, you are about to be enlightened.
To start with, female fertility foods are select foods that enhance your reproductive processes, a.k.a. ovulation, implantation and egg production/quality. With these foods, your reproductive system will have no choice than to perform optimally. Amazing huh? So, let’s dig into these fertility foods.
Food for Ovulation Stimulation
There is no way on earth you are getting pregnant without the revered “ovulation.” That being said, you need to get on its good side.
And how do you this?
By nourishing your body with ovulation stimulating foods alongside the usual fertility treatments! Here are some foods you can incorporate into your diet to encourage ovulation.
It will appear that cinnamon has other beneficial uses aside being a mouth-watering spice.
It is common knowledge that PCOS is one of the key culprits of infertility in women, causing unwanted cystic growths in the ovaries and menstrual irregularities.
In a preliminary clinical trial, 45 women were placed on cinnamon supplements for 6 months to determine its effect on PCOS. From results obtained, the group taking cinnamon reported increased menstrual and ovulation regularity compared to those who took a placebo.
If you suffer from ovulatory disorder, consider stocking up on these supplements. And there is scientific evidence to back this up.
A study put multivitamins to the test with 18,555 married pre-menopausal women, and the results were astounding. A good percentage of the women who consumed these pills religiously became less prone to ovulatory disorder and infertility.
The topic of vitamins and fertility is very large and it is not sufficient to mention all of it here. If you are interested in this topic, there is a full guide recently written about the best vitamins for fertility.
3. Vegetable proteins
Giving up juicy meats may seem like punishment, but if you really want to increase your chances of getting pregnant, you will do it without a second thought.
Ditch meat for vegetable proteins like meat and lentils and watch your ovaries thank you. Beans and lentils are a good source of iron, Fiber and folate, all of which contribute significantly to healthy ovulation.
Add a burst of color and toothsomeness to your fertility diet by incorporating lots of colorful fruits. These fruits are rich in vitamins, flavonoids and antioxidants that enhance fertility.
Antioxidants, in particular, are great at eliminating free radicals (toxic elements) that damage the reproductive cells. Some of these fruits include:
- Blackberry: it is a goldmine of antioxidants
- Grapes: They are a healthy cocktail of flavonoids, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, riboflavin, thiamine, and potassium
- Cherries: they are chock-full of Vitamin C, flavonoids and copper
- Apricots: they house a large amount of carotene which is an immunity booster
Foods to Help Implantation
While ovulation jump-starts fertility, implantation is the gateway to conception.
Implantation is associated with immunity, and one of its principal requirements is a reduction in inflammatory response. In simpler terms, you need to prep your uterus for the baby that is about to reside there.
Let’s check out some of these implantation friendly foods.
Pineapple has got to be the most prized and talked about food in the fertility world. It is hard to say if this is just old wives’ tale, but it is claimed that eating pineapple core for five days post – ovulation or embryo transfer (in the case of IVF) can enhance implantation.
While there is no concrete scientific evidence to support this, pineapple is actually a good anti-inflammatory and anticoagulation (blood-thinning) agent, all thanks to its bromelain content. Bromelain is a naturally occurring enzyme that incites the immune system against inflammation.
2. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice is an age-long touted remedy for infertility that originated from ancient Persia. Although there is no scientific verification for its acclaimed fertility benefits, it is worth a try.
Pomegranates are packed with antioxidants and nutrients like folate, vitamin C and Vitamin K. To fully milk… errrr.. Juice its implantation aiding benefits, a cup of pure pomegranate juice is recommended to be taken daily all through your time of the month — for increased blood flow.
3. Red Raspberry leaf
The leaves of “Rubus idaeus” also called the raspberry tree, is home to a variety of healthy nutrients. These include carotenoids, vitamins A and B, tannins, citric acid and a host of others.
I previously wrote an detailed article about red raspberry leaf for fertility, because its benefits are not enough to be mentioned here in one paragraph.
It is particularly beneficial to uterine health owing to its fragrine content, which is an alkaloid that strengthens and tones the pelvic and uterine muscles — This helps to attach the embryo to the uterine wall.
It can be consumed in a hot cup of tea or as an infusion in water. But here is a strict warning; do not attempt to take this tea the moment you are confirmed pregnant. Doing otherwise can cause uterine contractions and with it, baggage of utter “regret.”
Foods to Improve Female Egg Quality
What’s conception without eggs? Absolutely nothing!
Your eggs get the final say on how regular or irregular your menstrual cycle will be, your fertility levels and your conception abilities. On the whole, they run this fertility game.
So, you had better treat them right – and you can start by eating some of these foods:
Here comes the “superfood” that is widely famous for a ton of health benefits including fertility enhancement.
A vital nutrient for fertility is fat, and avocados have this in abundance. They are packed full of monosaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which are implicated in improving egg quality.
Studies have found that women who consume lots of MUFAs have 3.5 × higher chances of conceiving via in vitro fertilization.
You can relish the tasty and healthy goodness of avocados in sauces, baked foods, frozen treats, salads, sandwiches and even dips — simply take your tastebuds and ovaries on an adventure!
2. Nuts and dry fruits
Chowing down on nuts and dry fruits could be the fertility breakthrough you’ve been wishing for.
Nuts, especially Brazil nuts are good for your eggs. Brazil nuts are jam-packed with selenium which is a mineral and a pseudo – antioxidant that functions to protect your egg and embryo from the devastating clutches of oxidation and DNA damage.
You can enjoy these nuts in your smoothie, with salad, or with other nuts.
Foods To increase Cervical Mucus
The cervical mucus is to sperm as water is to fishes! It creates a buoyant environment for the sperm, helping them to swim fluidly towards their prime destination — the uterus.
It is important to have the right quantity of cervical mucus so those “swimmers” can reach the uterus unhindered. But here is the thing.
Mucus production differs with every woman, it could be high in some and low in some others. But don’t be alarmed, no matter how little your cervical mucus is, eating these foods will stimulate its production in spades.
Want a brimming cervical mucus?
Load up on carrots! While there are several foods that are pro-cervical mucus, carrots sit on top of this list. It is sufficiently rich in beta-carotene, which is one of the prerequisites for the production of vitamin A in the human body. And vitamin A is that nutrient that promotes the production of the cervical mucus.
Water is a necessity for cervical mucus. Inadequate hydration means bad news for the mucus; it promotes viscosity and limits its mobility.
When the mucus assumes this “lethargic and sticky” state, it becomes difficult for the sperm to target the egg. So, make sure to stay hydrated always.
Best Foods to Increase Male Fertility
Women are often in the “spotlight” for infertility issues, but it is a male problem too.
According to the office on women’s health, about one-third of infertility cases are female associated while men account for another third of the cases.
What about the last third?
The remaining third is usually a combination of both male and female issues or the cause may be unknown.
Generally, male infertility revolves around sperm production and quality, which can manifest as problems with either of the following:
- Sperm count
- Sperm volume
- Sperm motility
- Sperm morphology
Which Foods Increase Sperm Count
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a normal sperm count ranges between 15 million per milliliter (ml) to 39 million with each ejaculation. A sperm count beneath this prescribed volume is considered low and unhealthy.
But the big question is? How do you up your sperm count?
It is quite simple – your best bet to attaining a healthy sperm count is to leverage on wholesome foods that increase sperm concentration. These foods should be high in vitamin C, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fats.
Here are three foods that may raise the numbers for you.
Oranges are the bedrock of vitamin C, and numerous studies have given this delightful citrus fruit credit for improved sperm motility, count and morphology.
You can also try other vitamin C containing foods like cabbage, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli. Remember, an orange a day will add more figures to your sperm count!
2. Salmon + Sardines
Salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardine and some other kinds of seafood are the custodians of omega 3 fatty acids.
Salmon is rich in omega 3s and essential fatty acids which research has shown to aid fertility in men and women. It is also rich in selenium and vitamin D. So, the next time you go grocery shopping, spend some time in the seafood aisle.
I recently wrote an in-depth article about the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids for fertility male and woman, hope you take a look at it.
3. Goji berries
Goji berries are small red fruits from the soils of India. They are loaded with antioxidants and robust medicinal properties.
These fruits help to regulate the temperature of the scrotal sac, which is crucial to sperm production. While there is no scientific research to verify its effectiveness, the anecdotal evidence so far is quite convincing.
Foods to Increase Sperm Volume
1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate does wonders for sperm volume. In fact, it can be said to be the best food for increasing sperm volume. why?
This is largely attributed to the cacao beans that make up the chocolate. These beans are rich in antioxidants. It is also packed with L- Arginine, a compound known for increasing sperm volume. You can replace “dessert” with dark chocolate.
2. Calcium and Vitamin D
Bask in that midday or early morning sun so your body can soak up some vitamin D for sperm production.
Alternatively, you can take vitamin D supplements if you are not a fan of the sun. Also, stock up on low-dairy products like skimmed milk for a sufficient dose of calcium.
Garlic is a great source of allicin — which is a chemical compound that is skilled at multiplying sperm cells by maximizing blood circulation.
With allicin, blood flows freely to the sexual organs allowing for optimum function. Add a clove or two for that savory flavor and of course to add more “bulk” to your sperm.
Foods to Increase Sperm Motility
A male fertility food that has kept researchers in awe, tomatoes are one of the best food to increase sperm motility fast. It is replete with the nutrient lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that improves male fertility.
In fact, lycopene supplementation is being looked into as a potential treatment for male infertility. You should note that lycopene is only “biologically available” (active) when tomatoes are cooked.
2. Pumpkin Seeds
A reputed “libido snack”, pumpkin seeds are full of antioxidants, phytosterols, and amino acids which collectively work to promote male fertility.
Research suggests that these incredible seeds can boost sperm motility, count and potency. They are great as food toppings and if you would like to consume them raw, why not!
3. Zinc Rich Foods
Foods that are rich in zinc provide immunity (for the sperm) against free radical damage which is detrimental to sperm quality and function. These foods also stimulate libido.
From fishes to beans, to nuts, to dairy products, to whole wheat grains and cereals; there is no shortage of zinc.
Foods to Improve Sperm Morphology
Vitamin E rich foods are your go-to fertility food where sperm morphology is concerned.
The RDA (recommended daily allowance/intake) for vitamin E is 15 mg (for males that are 14 and older).
If you do the calculations, you will be needing at least 2 to 3 servings of vitamin E containing foods daily. Below are some foods that are rich in vitamin E:
- Peanut butter
- Sunflower seeds
- Red bell peppers
Want to discover more about the benefits of vitamin E for men’s fertility? I recently wrote a detailed article on Vitamin E for Fertility, I am sure this article will definitely benefit you
Can Foods Affect My Fertility?
You’ve read all about the beauty and advantages of fertility foods, and it may be ironic to know that certain foods can do the exact opposite of what they do.
Eating right isn’t all about eating good food, but it also involves not eating the not-so-good foods. These group of foods can dampen fertility chances for both men and women if they are not avoided.
Foods to Avoid When Trying to Get Pregnant
Eating right when trying to get pregnant isn’t exactly easy. It requires discipline and a strict dietary regimen.
While you are focused on all the right fertility foods, there are certain foods you must avoid like the plague, if you want to successfully conceive. These foods are your “enemies”, and you should treat them like one
So stay far away from them!
1. Avoid low-fat dairy products
These foods are the faithful minions of infertility. They tactfully lower your fertility odds by instigating your body to produce androgens (male hormones).
And having excessive androgens in your body can get in the way of your menstrual cycle. They also work in a similar manner like the notorious diet soda, which is infamous for lowering fertility in women.
2. Cut off caffeine
Here is another crafty “disciple” of infertility.
You are probably one of those women that can’t function without a morning cup of coffee, but if your goal is to get pregnant, you need to reduce your daily coffee intake (about one or two 6-8 ounces of coffee in a day) and other caffeinated products.
Research believes caffeine intake above 300 mg per day can be detrimental to female fertility. To be on the safe side, It is probably best to sever your ties with caffeine altogether.
3. Avoid too much alcohol
Those fun drinking games or that Friday binge drinking at the club has to stop!
Sorry but not sorry, alcohol is literally your arch-villain when it comes to getting pregnant. While research is conflicted about the harmful effects of alcohol on female fertility, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) recommends complete abstinence from alcohol for women who want to have babies.
But let’s be honest, ditching alcohol completely might be hard to do. However, cutting back on your usual consumption shouldn’t prove difficult.
Male Fertility Foods to Avoid
We have discussed sperm-friendly foods, but what about those foods that can drive your sperm community into jeopardy?
Take out your note pads and jot down these foods that are nowhere near friendly to sperm quality and quantity.
1. Fried Foods
These irresistible foods such as chips are loaded with trans fats, which aside lowering sperm count and quality are also bad for the heart (when consumed in excess).
These are hard to resist no doubt, but for the sake of achieving sperm virility, you should wage war against your appetite — resolve to always say “no” when offered.
2. Full-fat dairy
While low-fat dairy intake is associated with better sperm concentration and motility, full-fat dairy products (like cheese, butter and cream) on the other hand, can limit sperm health.
One particular study that analyzed 189 men between the ages of 18-22 found that high-fat dairy products are associated with decreased sperm motility and morphology.
3. Processed meats
Delicious but dangerous!
Processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, beef jerky, salami and the like have been linked with low sperm count and mutated sperm motility.
It is not exactly clear how these foods affect sperm quality, but the effects are devastating. Needless to say, the sperm is better off without them.