Five super foods to boost your fertility
Are you trying to get pregnant? The foods that you eat today impact the health of your eggs and sperm 90 days from now, so it's important to think about how nutrition affects your fertility.
We've rounded up five foods to introduce to your diet on a regular basis, to help boost your egg and sperm quality.
Foods to boost fertility
1. Green leafy vegetables
Veggies such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, watercress, rocket, spinach and chard are packed with essential nutrients including the vitamins A, C, E and K and antioxidants.
Important for conception, these leafy greens are a rich source of the vital B vitamin Folate, which is crucial for DNA duplication in the egg and sperm.
2. Oily fish
Fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and pilchards are all rich sources of omega 3, essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are vital for male and female fertility. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega 3, is integral to the development of sperm and is crucial for your baby’s brain development during pregnancy.
If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, there are plenty of supplement options available. To ensure the correct supplemental ratios and dosages, it's important to consult with a fully qualified and registered nutritional therapist before making changes to your diet.
3. Zinc-rich foods
Zinc is crucial for cell division and therefore a fundamental nutrient for sperm and egg development and conception.
- Shell fish
- Organic grass fed beef and lamb
- Seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, chia, sunflower and flaxseeds
- Nuts such as cashew, pecans, almonds, walnuts and pine nuts
- Beans and lentils
- Grains including oats and quinoa (low sugar releasing)
4. Swap white carbs for complex carbs
Try to choose wholegrain foods such bread, pasta, rice and sweet potatoes instead of their white alternatives. It's also helpful to find alternative wheat based carbs such as non-gluten grains like quinoa and buckwheat.
The reason for this is two-fold: white (refined) carbs have a high glycaemic index (GI) and load (GL) and disrupt blood sugar balance, which in turn disrupts your reproductive hormone balance. The complex carbs don’t have the same disrupting effect on blood sugar and hormones.
Secondly, by the process of refining products (white bread/pasta etc) removes the husk along with the essential nutrients such as vitamin B6. The complex carbs still have their husks intact, preserving their high nutrient content.
Vitamin B6 can help your chances of conceiving, as it generates hormones in your body that help to strengthen the uterine lining. In doing so, this increased your levels of progesterone.
Good sources of vitamin B6 include:
- Grass-fed meats
5. Have good quality protein with every meal
Protein provides the building blocks for male and female reproductive hormones and balances blood sugar levels. It also supports your baby’s developing body, including: bones, hair, teeth, brain, neurotransmitters etc.
Foods packed with protein:
- Organic grass fed meat
Cut out the fertility blockers
Certain foods could harm your chances of conceiving, such as alcohol, too much caffeine and sugary foods. It's also helpful to reduce your exposure to toxins (e.g. chemicals in personal care products, home cleaning products, pollution etc.) and try to go organic wherever possible.
Finally, one of the most important takeaways is to manage your stress levels, perhaps through exercise, meditation or mindfulness, find a practice that works for you.