When you’re trying to get pregnant you are always looking for ways to boost fertility and increase your chances of conceiving each month. About 13% of women face fertility issues. It’s not always an easy path for couples when they’re trying to get pregnant, but there are ways to help naturally increase fertility.
When I was trying to conceive I read time and again about how a well-balanced diet can support your reproductive health. There are certain foods that can optimize your chances of conceiving. Why not take advantage of that?
Foods That Help Increase Fertility
While good nutrition is always beneficial, it’s especially important when trying to conceive. Eating a healthy diet packed with the nutrients needed to support your reproductive system can help boost your fertility and set you up for a healthy pregnancy.
So, what foods should you eat when trying to get pregnant?
- Full-fat yogurt
- Whole milk
- Sour cream
- Cream cheese
High-fat dairy foods have been linked to a decreased risk of ovulatory fertility issues. Research suggests full-fat dairy foods have a fat-soluble substance that could improve ovarian function.
Calcium is also important for reproductive health, so things like full-fat yogurt, whole milk, sour cream, and cream cheese are great options. You can even count a bowl of ice cream every once in a while as a step towards boosting your fertility! Just be careful not to overdo it, as eating more full-fat dairy means your calorie intake will probably go up.
Nuts and seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sesame seeds
Nuts and seeds provide lots of protein, essential fatty acids, zinc, and vitamin E – all of which support healthy fertility. According to Natural Fertility Info, protein is good for repairing and building body tissues while omega-3 essential fatty acids increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, helping to regulate hormones, improve the quality of the uterus, and promote ovulation. In addition, zinc can help with hormonal balance, prevention of chromosomal defects, and prevention of recurrent miscarriage, and Vitamin E supports healthy nerve cells, red blood cells, liver, and immune system.
Fruits are always an important part of a well-balanced diet, and they become even more important when you’re trying to conceive. Berries are great sources of antioxidants, which can reduce the negative affect of oxidative stress on fertility.
- Navy beans
- Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
Beans are a good source of plant-based protein. They’re also high in fiber which can help regulate hormones.
- Whole grains
- Brown rice
Complex carbs digest more slowly and have more nutrients than simple carbs. They tend to be high in fiber and give you a steady source of energy without causing a spike in blood sugar like simple carbs do. The spike in blood sugar causes more insulin to be released which is thought to hinder ovulation.
Specifically, the egg yolk is full of fertility-boosting nutrients. Not only do eggs contain lots of protein, but they are good sources of vitamin D and B-12 as well. Choline, another nutrient found in egg yolks, can play a role in fetal brain development. So, be sure to include eggs in your fertility-boosting diet!
- Lean Beef
Lean meats that are rich in iron are thought to be healthy choices for women trying to become pregnant.
- Bok Choy
Dark, leafy greens are full of calcium, folate, and iron – all of which are good for reproductive health. Folate, in particular, helps prevent birth defects, so adding this to your diet is important when trying to conceive.
Foods to Avoid When Trying to Conceive
While there are healthy foods to eat when trying to get pregnant, there are also foods and drinks that can have a negative affect on your fertility.
It’s known that alcohol causes birth defects if consumed during pregnancy, but it’s also recommended that women avoid drinking alcohol while trying to conceive. The main reason is there is no safe level of fetal alcohol consumption and most women don’t know they are pregnant until at least week 4 of pregnancy. In addition, heavy drinking is associated with ovulation disorders.
Eating lots of sugar causes your blood sugar level to rise, which, in turn, causes the pancreas to release insulin in order to control the level of glucose in your blood. High levels of insulin being released can cause hormonal imbalances, preventing ovulation and impairing the ability for an egg to implant.
Eating trans fats has been linked to higher risk of infertility. So, it’s best to avoid things like fried foods, baked goods, and ready-to-eat frozen foods as much as possible.
High levels of soy can interfere with the reproductive system and affect ovarian health. Soy foods contain a plant estrogen that is similar to human estrogen. High levels of soy can increase the length of your menstrual cycle and decrease FSH hormone levels (which stimulate egg growth), so it’s recommended to eat soy food in moderation.
It’s suggested not to drink more than one or two 6 to 8 ounce cups of coffee per day while trying to conceive. Anything over that could negatively affect fertility.
When trying to conceive it’s important to make healthy eating choices. Paying attention to what you eat can have a big effect on your health and fertility. Even though there’s probably no magic food that will make you pregnant, eating a well-balanced diet full of the nutrients needed to support your reproductive health can put you on the right path to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.
Good luck on your TTC journey!