Want to boost your fertility? As a holistic nutritionist, I find that one of the best ways for men and women to boost their fertility is to choose the right foods. Diet is so crucial that researchers at Harvard University found that women who made dietary changes reduced their risk of infertility by as much as 80%. Another Spanish study found that men could also boost their sperm counts by eating less processed meats and more fruits and vegetables.
While you’re eating the right foods, be sure to avoid (or at least reduce) these two big fertility-busters: excessive caffeine (especially more than three cups of coffee a day) and alcohol, as heavy drinking can impair fertility in both men and women. Also make sure to watch your weight – as 30% of fertility is due to being overweight or underweight, according to the National Infertility Association.
Luckily, there are many inexpensive foods that can be eaten to help boost the chances of getting pregnant. Be sure to include some of these in your diet:
These are high in essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, all of which can help you promote a healthy reproductive system. Nuts are also high in protein, high in antioxidants, help reduce cholesterol, and can also help you balance your blood sugar levels. This can benefit your heart and help improve circulation – all of which will help transport nutrients to your reproductive organs and are crucial to help you improve your egg and sperm quality.
Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, EPA, vitamin D and B12. These help you regulate hormones, support healthy fetal development and help you enhance your fertility. In a study where Harvard University researchers assessed men who ate a range of foods including processed meat, white and red meat, white fish and tuna or salmon, they discovered that men who ate white fish at least every other day had a much better sperm quality than those who rarely ate it. Note that white fish is rich in zinc, which is believed to boost fertility.
Eggs, particularly the yolk, are rich in nutrients to support fertility. Egg yolks are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, choline and vitamins A and E. Choline, a water-soluble B vitamin, enhances fetal brain and tooth development, and helps promote the healthy nervous system development of your baby during pregnancy. In short, eggs can also provide the nutrients necessary to help improve the health of your own eggs. 🙂 P.S. Eating 1 egg a day while you are pregnant has enough choline that it will provide your baby with “super” memory once your baby is born.
Thanks to the high levels of Vitamin C and antioxidants in fruits, they provide the nutrients to enhance the quality of your egg and sperm. Try to eat the colour of the rainbow when you are eating your fruits (and vegetables too, of course), so that you are ensuring a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants, such as lemon, oranges, blueberries, and mangoes. Just make sure not to eat too many fruits a day, as it can affect your blood sugar and create a sugar overload in your blood.
Vegetables (Particularly Orange, Yellow and Red Vegetables!)
Carrots are fantastic for their sperm-boosting properties. Orange veggies, along with lettuce and spinach, are very high in beta-carotene. Researchers have found that this antioxidant improves sperm’s ability to swim toward an egg, by 6.5% to 8%.
For those who eat tomatoes, this will provide a diet rich in lycopene (which gives tomatoes their red colour) to help with fertility and reduce levels of abnormally shaped sperm.
Be sure to eat more vegetables – because men who eat just one slice of bacon or sausage link a day have 30% fewer normal sperm than men who don’t. Researchers also found that young Danish men who ate the most saturated fats had a 38% lower concentration of sperm, than those who ate the least fat.
Drink Lots of Water
Be sure to also drink lots of water as it also plays a key role in transporting hormone and developing follicles. It also helps thin out cervical mucus, which may make it a little easier for your partner’s swimmers to get to their goal.
– Reduce intake of foods with trans and saturated fats while increasing intake of monounsaturated fats, such as avocados and olive oil
– Lower intake of animal protein and add more vegetable protein to your diet
– Add more fiber to your diet by consuming whole grains, vegetables, and fruit
– Incorporate more vegetarian sources of iron such as legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, and whole grains
– Take a regular women’s multivitamin or pre-natal vitamin to combat nutrient deficiencies. New Chapters has one made from whole foods (as opposed to synthetic ingredients) which will ensure better absorption and higher quality of ingredients.
Men who are looking to have a baby also need to maintain a healthy body weight and consume a balanced diet, because being overweight and obese may affect fertility by altering testosterone and other hormone levels. Approximately 40 percent of infertility issues are attributed to men! (according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine).
In a nutshell, make sure that you and your partner both receive adequate protein from lean meat, essential fats from fish, nuts and seeds, complex carbohydrates and lots fruit and vegetables. Once you have the basics right, then you can then start to add specific superfoods that researchers have found to boost egg and sperm production (such as bee pollen and Vitamin B6).
But be patient: you will both need to stick to a diet plan for at least three months before you will know if it has had any effect.