Unexplained infertility is fast becoming one of the most frequent diagnoses for couples failing to conceive. Experts now believe that nutrition and lifestyle are two of the most important factors for successful conception but many women are unaware of what constitutes an ideal diet to get pregnant. Research at Harvard University found that women who made positive dietary changes improved their chances of conception by almost 80%. The food and lifestyle choices that you and your partner make now can have a big impact on improving fertility. Below are some of the best fertility foods for women.
Almonds are a great source of healthy fats, which play a crucial role in hormone balance, fertility and the development of a healthy baby. They provide valuable protein and are also a great source of magnesium, calcium and zinc, minerals important for a healthy conception and pregnancy.
Oats are a great source of zinc, selenium and magnesium, deficiencies of which can impair fertility in females. Oats are also high in other fertility-enhancing nutrients including folate and vitamin B6, which is essential for hormone balance and fertility.
When trying to conceive, eat foods high in antioxidants since oxidative stress can hinder both eggs and sperm. Foods should be chosen that are high in antioxidants; I hate to say it, but this is especially true in older women to counter the effects of aging on the eggs. Fruits and vegetables are probably the best sources of antioxidants – make juices or smoothies to get maximum nutrition and number of daily servings. Raspberries are a great source of antioxidants.
Cold water fish such as wild salmon is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats reduce inflammation and promote fertility. Under no circumstances would I suggest farm-raised fish which are fed grains and other nasty unhealthy things; and be watchful of high-mercury fish such as tuna.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are full of nutrients such as the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C, which are thought to help prevent free radical damage to the DNA of the egg and sperm. They also contain B-vitamins and good levels of folate, which helps prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida that occur early in pregnancy. They also provide many beneficial minerals and help alkalize your body, which enhances fertility. Good reasons to include an abundance of green leafy vegetables into your daily diet.
If you want to conceive, pack your diet with fruits and vegetables. These foods supply you with antioxidants, which protect against the effects of free radicals. These chemically unstable atoms can damage the body’s cells and have been linked to a number of health problems, including premature aging which affects fertility. Broccoli is high in the antioxidant vitamin C, which can help to trigger ovulation and along with vitamin E, may help to keep you fertile longer and improve the quality of your eggs. Broccoli also contains good levels of folic acids as well as useful amounts of other important fertility nutrients such as selenium, zinc, and calcium.
Sweet potatoes are packed with the antioxidant beta-carotene as well as immune boosting vitamin C, which are thought to help prevent free radical damage to the DNA of the egg and sperm. Fruit and vegetables have an alkalizing effect on your whole body which enhances fertility. The more acidic your body, the more acidic your cervical mucus is, which lowers the amount of time sperm can stay functional. Good reasons to include an abundance of colorful vegetables in your diet as part of your 5+ fruit and veg a day.
Along with being a good source of healthy fats and vitamin B6, which play a vital role in hormone balance and fertility. Eggs also support fertility by providing nutrients such as vitamins E, which plays a beneficial role in egg production, folate, selenium and zinc.
Vitamin B Complex
It is now known that folic acid can prevent spina bifida in your baby, and it is essential that you get plenty both before and during pregnancy. And that’s not all: folic acid is undoubtedly important, but it is just part of the very important B-complex family of vitamins that are necessary to produce the genetic materials DNA and RNA, not only of the egg but also the sperm. Together with vitamin B12, folic acid works to ensure that your baby’s genetic codes are intact. Remember: it’s not enough to take folic acid alone when you are trying to become pregnant. All of the B vitamins are essential during the preconceptual period. Research has shown that giving B6 to women who have trouble conceiving increases fertility and vitamin B12 has been found to improve low sperm counts.
Zinc is the most widely studied nutrient in terms of fertility for both men and women. It is an essential component of genetic material and a zinc deficiency can cause chromosome changes in either you or our partner, leading to reduced fertility and an increased risk of miscarriage. Zinc is necessary for your body to ‘attract and hold’ (utilise efficiently) the reproductive hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. And it’s equally important for your partner: zinc is found in high concentrations in the sperm. Zinc is needed to make the outer layer and tail of the sperm and is, therefore, essential for your partner’s sperm health and, subsequently, your baby. Interestingly, several studies have also shown that reducing zinc in a man’s diet will also reduce his sperm count.
This may sound like a “duh”, but having a really high-quality prenatal is so important. There are plenty of cheap supplements and prenatals on the market, but they’re not likely to use the highest quality ingredients, nor the vitamins and minerals that will be best absorbed by the body. Better prenatals will have their minerals in citrate or glycinate form, (such as calcium citrate, magnesium citrate or glycinate), not aspartate forms. Chelated minerals are well-absorbed and easy on the body – chelated iron, for example, is less likely to cause constipation than other forms of iron.
This is the herb of choice for helping to restore hormone imbalance and increasing fertility. In one study 48 women diagnosed with infertility took agnus castus daily for three months, 7 of them became pregnant during that time and 25 of them regained normal progesterone levels. Agnus castus is particularly helpful for those women who have a luteal phase defect (shortened second half of the cycle) or those with high prolactin levels, because it stimulates the proper functioning of the pituitary gland which controls the hormones. Agnus castus works to restore hormonal balance and can be used where there are hormone deficits as well as excesses.
CAUTION: You should not supplement if you are taking, The Pill, Fertility drugs, HRT or any other hormonal treatment or other medication unless they are recommended by a registered, experienced practitioner.