Romance, sexual health and couple time are topics we like to tackle regularly on our site. But there’s another side to aphrodisiacs that is of equal importance for many women and couples: fertility. That’s why we’re shifting our focus today to give you our recommendation of five key foods to eat for fertility.
Our resident nutrition expert Delahna Flagg touts citrus as important not only for women’s sexual health but also fertility. (Most of our recommendations for foods to eat for fertility are specifically for women but there are things men can do, too!) And we’ve also touched on the fact that acai, the mysterious superfood of the rain forest, shows promise in supporting fertility. But according to a 2019 Harvard study, there’s a lot more you can do to improve chances of conceiving–starting with your diet. So what are the best foods to eat for fertility?
Eat more cheese and high fat dairy
Here’s the good news about eating for your fertility. You need quality fats in your diet and most experts recommend two servings of high fat dairy as a part of a balanced diet to help support fertility. This means you get to eat more cheese, one of the most interesting aphrodisiacs in or list of love foods.
According to the Nurse’s Health Study, full fat milk products support ovulation and conception while low and non-fat milk products do not. Of course, you’ll need to adjust the rest of your diet to make up for the extra calories from the intake of full fat dairy. And you’ll need to be especially careful if your doctor has recommended a weight loss plan in order to improve fertility. (Studies show that obesity can cause problems with conception.)
Eat more Shiitake mushrooms, less red meat
Here’s the bad news about eating for your fertility if you’re a red meat lover. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, reducing red meat consumption, particularly the consumption of processed meats, can improve fertility. In fact, one Harvard study found that reducing processed meat consumption will improve the quality sperm.
And do you know what other food has the potential to improve sperm quality? Shiitake mushrooms offer this potential as well as several benefits to women. That puts this meaty mushroom second on our list of foods to eat for fertility.
These mushrooms not only provide protein without the saturated fats of red meat, they support circulation and cardiovascular health, (which in turn supports reproductive health). So why not give this Shiitake Noodle Salad recipe a try?
Try quinoa and other whole grains
Delahna has always pushed whole grains over simple carbohydrates but in this instance, it can be key to balancing insulin production. And according to the aforementioned Harvard study, low insulin production is favorable for fertility. In addition, high quality carbohydrates can reduce the risk of ovulatory infertility.
With its nutritional makeup of protein, zinc and folic acid, quinoa is an outstanding carb choice for women looking to conceive. So whip up a side of this Meyer Lemon Quinoa with Turmeric, Black Pepper and Basil or a pot of our Hearty Quinoa Chili–a reader favorite.
If the distinctive texture of quinoa is a turn off to you, there are other whole grains offering many of the same benefits. Try our Barley Risotto with Apples and Parmesan. Or in summer, a Minted Bulghar Salad will offer many of the key nutrients.
Add avocado to your diet
Again, the theme of high fat foods comes into play when we’re talking about eating for fertility. But in addition to fat, avocados offer a lot of nutrients. And that’s why they make the list of foods to eat for fertility.
Did you know that avocado is a source of folate? One nutrient all experts will agree is necessary for supporting conception, folate reduces risk of neural tube defect. This is why women are almost always put on a folic acid supplement when they become pregnant.
But folate also shows potential and helping men with their role in conception. Low folate levels in men is associated with poor spermatozoa DNA. So make yourself our favorite version of Avocado Toast or even whip up a Chocolate Avocado Cake. After all, you’re doing it for your fertility!
Eat a bowl of berries
Like avocados, berries contain folate. This will help support your efforts to conceive as well as potentially support fetal development later. But berries make the list of foods to eat for fertility because of folate. They’re also rich in antioxidants.
According to OBGYN Dr. Fares Diarbakerli, the antioxidants in berries like blueberries help protect your body from cell damage and the aging of your cells–this includes the cells in your reproductive system. In addition, as high fiber, low calorie treats, berries can aid in weight loss and help with maintaining a healthy weight. So go make yourself a batch of Blueberry Quinoa Muffins.
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