Fertility issues affect up to 15% of couples.
When it comes to fertility factors outside your control like your age and genetics, it’s always best to consult your doctor.
If your attempts to conceive yield no results, you don’t necessarily have to reach out for expensive medicine and high-tech procedures.
There are natural ways to boost fertility that can help you maintain good reproductive health and prepare your body for pregnancy.
You can increase your chances of getting pregnant by paying attention to factors in your control such as your lifestyle, stress levels, and your diet.
With this in mind, we’ll take a look at the 20+ foods that you can include in your diet to boost your fertility.
Let’s dive in!
20+ Fertility Boosting Foods
Salmon is a good source of healthy fats, omega-3, and vitamin D - all of which are essential components for good reproductive health in both men and women.
In fact, low vitamin D is directly related to a decrease in fertility. So, if you don’t get enough sun on a daily basis and you want to boost your vitamin D levels, include salmon in your diet.
Only 3 ounces of salmon will supply you with about 97% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin D. Salmon also contains selenium which increases semen quality and count.
When you buy salmon always look for wild-caught salmon which has lower levels of mercury compared to farm-raised salmon. Mercury can be harmful to your pregnancy especially if it’s consumed often. To be safe, eat salmon not more than 1-2 times a week.
Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food beneficial for both male and female reproductive health.
Only a cup of asparagus will provide you with 60% of your daily value of folic acid, the full daily value of vitamin K, and about 20% of the vitamins A, B, and C. Asparagus also contains glutathione which improves egg quality.
Men should also include this veggie in their diet because asparagus contains zinc and selenium which improve sperm quality and motility.
Try to get fresh or frozen asparagus because canned asparagus contains higher levels of sodium.
#3. Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are a great source of fiber and folate.
Fiber helps your body to achieve hormone balance while folate (the natural version of folic acid) is an essential vitamin that aids conception and supports the early development of an embryo.
Beans and lentils also provide a plant-based source of protein. Getting at least part of your protein from non-animal sources can improve your menstrual cycle regularity.
This way, you decrease the chance of infertility due to anovulation by 50%.
Legumes also benefit male fertility because they contain polyamine spermidine. This compound helps sperm fertilize the egg.
You can substitute 1 or 2 of your weekly meals with beans or lentils, or you can just mix them up in your salad instead of chicken.
If you’re buying canned legumes, however, choose a product that’s free of BPA since this chemical might negatively affect your estrogen levels.
#4. Egg Yolks
You might have heard that some people avoid eating egg yolk because they want to cut back on calories. However, if you’re trying to conceive, egg yolks can help you get there.
They’re nutrient-packed with folate, vitamin A, B12, D, E, K2, iron, calcium, and zinc. Eggs from pasture-raised chickens are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Another benefit of eating eggs is getting a good amount of lean protein from the egg white - another good fertility booster for both men and women.
To make sure you include eggs in your diet, just incorporate them into your everyday breakfast routine.
Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are delicious and easily-accessible antioxidant fruits. Their antioxidant properties eliminate free radicals that might be damaging egg and sperm cells.
This can improve your partner’s fertility and yours. Berries are also rich in vitamin C and folic acid which are essential for healthy conception and pregnancy.
You can eat berries as part of your afternoon snack or you can include them in your yogurt or oatmeal breakfast.
Whenever you buy berries, make sure they’re organic since others might contain harmful pesticides.
Avocados also offer a good amount of vitamin K and potassium. Vitamin K helps absorb other vitamins and nutrients while potassium benefits your blood pressure.
To include avocado in your diet, you can make some guacamole, put it in your smoothie, or use it as a spread.
Walnuts contain healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as vitamin B, magnesium, and protein. They are one of the few plant-based sources of omega-3 (if you’re not a fan of seafood and fish).
Walnuts also improve semen quality. Men who eat walnuts on a daily basis have increased sperm motility, count, and morphology.
You can snack on walnuts between meals, or toss them in your salad, oatmeal, or even ice cream for a nutritious and tasty crunch.
#8. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a source of vitamin E which improves both sperm quantity and motility. They’re also packed with fertility-boosting nutrients like selenium, zinc, folic acid, and omega-6 fatty acids.
You can eat roasted, unsalted sunflower kernels as an afternoon snack or sprinkle them on top of your meals. Or you can try substituting peanut butter with sunflower seed butter for a change.
Quinoa, a source of fiber and protein, makes a great substitute for unhealthy high-carb foods like pasta, white rice, and white bread.
That’s because quinoa is a source of complex carbs that take longer to break down which in turn keeps you full for a longer time.
This way, you keep your insulin levels within a normal range. As a result, you have a better hormone balance and optimal weight which are important factors when it comes to fertility.
Quinoa is also a source of zinc and folic acid which are vital for a healthy reproductive system. Additionally, quinoa provides you with all the essential amino acids you usually get from meat. Meat often contains harmful additives, making quinoa the healthier option.
You can substitute 1 or 2 of your weekly meals with quinoa or add it to your salads.
#10. Full-Fat Dairy
Always choose full-fat dairy products over low-fat ones. A serving of Greek yogurt or a glass of whole milk is more nutrient-rich than their low-fat alternatives.
Full-fat dairy products will provide you with probiotics, vitamins A, E, D, K, and calcium.
To avoid additive sugar, aim for plain (unsweetened) full-fat yogurt. To make it more interesting you can always add some berries, walnuts, or muesli to it.
#11. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like grapefruits and oranges are rich sources of vitamin C.
You can either have citrus fruits as a snack or mix them into a smoothie.
Caution: Grapefruit juice may negatively react with some medications. If you’re taking any sort of medication, consult your doctor first and make sure it’s safe to include grapefruit in your diet.
Oysters are one of the most popular fertility enhancing foods. They’re low on calories but contain some of the most essential fertility vitamins and nutrients.
Only 6 raw oysters (139 calories) include:
- Vitamin B12 (408% of recommended daily amount)
- Zinc (188% of recommended daily amount)
- Selenium (187% of recommended daily amount)
- Iron (43% of recommended daily amount)
You’ll reap the most benefits by eating oysters raw. However, if the idea of slippery oysters is not to your taste, you can also enjoy them baked.
Pomegranates are antioxidant-rich and contain fertility-boosting vitamins like folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
Pomegranates may also increase sperm quality in men.
To include pomegranate in your diet, you can sprinkle the seeds on your salad, yogurt, or oatmeal.
Pineapples, rich in vitamin C and bromelain, have an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation in your body can negatively affect fertility while chronic inflammation can also suppress ovulation.
You can have some pineapple as a dessert. Always give preference to fresh pineapples over their canned version. Canned pineapples lose their anti-inflammatory effect due to heat processing.
You can add cinnamon to your yogurt, muesli, tea, or coffee. You can also take cinnamon as a supplement but first consult your doctor before making a decision.
Taken as a supplement cinnamon can drop your blood sugar levels too low or interfere with other medications you’re taking.
Watermelons are beneficial for both male and female fertility. The fruit contains lycopene - an antioxidant that improves sperm motility. It is also a source of the antioxidant glutathione which improves egg quality.
Besides boosting fertility, watermelon also alleviates pregnancy symptoms of morning sickness, heartburn, and swelling. So, it’s useful to keep it in your diet even after you get pregnant.
#17. Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens like kale, swiss chard, and spinach are rich in fiber, folate, calcium, and iron.
Iron is vital for your menstrual cycle because it supports your ovulation and egg development. On the other hand, folate supports the healthy development of the embryo in the first few weeks of pregnancy.
You can include dark leafy greens in your salads or have them steamed or sautéed as a side dish for your meals.
Beetroots improve blood flow to the uterus. Improved blood flow is vital for successful embryo implantation.
Beetroots can help women going through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and even boost fertility if you’re not going through IVF.
You can bake beetroots and have them as a side dish or spread; include them in your salad; or make a tasty smoothie with them.
#19. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene which boosts the production of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone improves your overall fertility health since it helps prepare the uterus for pregnancy.
After ovulation, the ovaries produce progesterone which helps thicken the uterine lining and creates an optimal environment for the embryo.
Beta-carotene can also improve sperm quality and count in men.
You can prepare baked sweet potatoes as a side dish or make a vegetable cream soup with them.
Liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods that you can include in your fertility diet. It contains:
- Folate - Improves your chance of getting pregnant
- Iron - Helps to prevent miscarriage and anemia)
- Vitamin B12 - Helps with the formation of new blood cells and DNA
- Inositol - Improves egg quality in women who are undergoing IVF
- Choline - Benefits the early development of the embryo
If you’re not a fan of foods like liver, you can add it to other meat dishes like meatloaf or meatballs or just take it as a supplement.
#21. Mature Cheeses
Mature cheeses contain polyamines that can improve sperm health. They can also improve overall reproductive health in women over 35.
You can try mature cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, and manchego as a snack or as an addition to your meals.
Try Fertility Boosting Supplements
Making an effort to eat healthy foods is essential for your fertility. But including all these foods on a weekly basis could be challenging. You may have a busy schedule and don’t have much time in the kitchen or for grocery shopping.
For optimal results, you can combine your diet and lifestyle changes with a natural supplement to boost your fertility.
There are many different herbs that can improve your reproductive health and prepare your body for pregnancy.
Here are 4 of the best fertility-enhancing supplements:
#1. Positively Pregnant
Positively Pregnant is a carefully selected collection of 5 fertility boosting herbs: Raspberry leaf, Shatavari root, Red Clover, Tribulus fruit, and Chaste tree fruit.
All these ingredients work towards enhancing your chances of getting pregnant by promoting a healthy and regular ovulation cycle, optimal uterine health, and hormone balance.
This 100% natural supplement will help prepare your body and create the best possible environment for pregnancy.
#2. Positively Pregnant: Dad Edition
Positively Pregnant: Dad Edition can help boost your partner’s fertility. The supplement is a powerful combination of 6 fertility boosting herbs: Tribulus fruit, Pygeum bark, Ashwagandha, Tongkat Ali, Asian ginseng, and Astragalus root.
These natural but potent ingredients improve sperm motility, viability, and count. Additionally, the herbs boost both the testosterone and luteinizing hormone levels which are essential for optimal fertility levels in men.
#3. Organic Maca
Maca is an adaptogenic plant with a positive effect on both male and female reproductive health and fertility.
The adaptogenic properties of Maca improve hormone balance. The Maca extract can also boost your libido, mood, endurance, and energy levels.
Also, Maca is very nutritious and contains high levels of vitamin C, iron, copper, and vitamin B6.
#4. Organic Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is another adaptogenic herb with a beneficial effect on your overall reproductive health.
It has antioxidant properties that improve cell health, including egg and sperm cell quality.
Ashwagandha can also boost testosterone levels in men and act as a stress reducer for both men and women.
Stress is an overlooked factor that can affect your fertility levels. So, if you’re exposed to stress on a daily basis, this supplement can help you achieve a calm state of mind and body.
Trying to conceive without a positive result can overwhelm you. And you might start wondering how you can make things better.
If you suspect having a genetic or age-related issue, consult your doctor.
Otherwise, you can definitely increase your chances of conception by improving your diet and developing some healthy lifestyle habits like getting enough sleep and reducing your stress levels.
Be patient and kind to your body and results will come.
Until then, stay healthy and strong!