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: foods to help fertility. That’s why we’re shifting our focus today to give you our recommendation of five key foods to eat for fertility that may help naturally increase fertility.
What does a “trying to conceive diet” look like?
The best foods for fertility are, of course, all nutrition-dense, natural foods. But some foods are better than others if your goal is to conceive a baby. There’s more to getting your body ready for conception than just healthy eating. And if diet is part of a plan to help you on the path to getting pregnant, you will want to check out these fertility superfoods.
What to eat when trying to get pregnant
We can’t guarantee that a diet to get pregnant will help you conceive faster. But foods rich in the nutrients needed to conceive may help you with your pregnancy goals. And you may be pleasantly surprised to find some of your favorite foods on this fertility booster foods list.
Please keep in mind that in addition to making quality food choices, you should consult with a doctor to rule out any serious medical problems that could be causing infertility.
Our resident nutrition expert Delahna Flagg, PhD in Holistic Health, touts citrus as important not only for women’s sexual health but also as one of the foods to add to any diet for conceiving. (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 rainforest, shows promise as part of a fertility diet. But according to a 2019 Harvard study on foods to eat to conceive, there’s a lot more you can do to improve your chances of conceiving–starting with your diet. So, if you want to create a “trying to conceive diet,” what are the best foods to boost fertility?
Here’s a look at 5 foods that increase fertility and boost fertility chances
1. Cheese and high-fat dairy products are fertility foods
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 our dictionary of aphrodisiac foods.
In addition, for those looking for a diet to get pregnant, according to the Nurse’s Health Study full-fat milk products are foods that boost ovulation and conception. You might be surprised to hear that full-fat dairy and fertility are linked.
But studies show that low and non-fat milk products do not boost fertility, only ones rich in fats. In fact, non-fat dairy may be among the foods to avoid when trying to get pregnant.
The obesity and infertility link
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 like cheese, milk or Greek yogurt. So, although this is on the list of foods to help get pregnant, 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.)
2. Eat more Shiitake mushrooms, less red meat when you’re trying to conceive
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 of sperm.
Food for healthy sperm
And do you know what is a great food for healthy sperm? Shiitake mushrooms offer this potential, so they should be part of your fertility diet for men. But they also have several benefits to women working toward getting pregnant. 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).
3. Put quinoa and other whole grains into your diet to get pregnant
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 for fertility is an outstanding carb choice for women trying to conceive. And that’s why we’ve highlighted this ancient grain on our fertility foods list.
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.
Alternate grains on our fertility foods list
If the distinctive texture of quinoa is a turn-off to you, there are other whole grains you can choose on a fertility diet, like farro, barley and bulghar. Try our Barley Risotto with Apples and Parmesan. Or in summer, a Minted Bulghar Salad will offer many of the key nutrients.
4. Avocado is one of the best foods for conceiving
Again, the theme of high-fat foods comes into play when we’re talking about the best foods for fertility. But in addition to healthy fats, avocados offer a lot of nutrients. And that’s why they make the list of foods to eat to increase fertility.
Did you know that avocado is a source of folate? One nutrient all fertility foods experts will agree is daily recommended for supporting conception, folate taken during pregnancy reduces the 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 the potential to help men with their role in conception. Low folate levels in men are 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!
5. Why berries are among the best foods that increase fertility
Like avocados, berries contain folate. For this reason alone, it’s easy to see why they make the list of foods to boost fertility.
Eating more vitamin-rich berries 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 not just because of folate. They’re also rich in antioxidants.
Blueberries and fertility
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. In fact, berries may be at the top the list of food to eat to get pregnant.
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