While there is no specific food or fertility diet that will magically boost your chances of conception, a nutritious and well-balanced diet can certainly help support overall health, including reproductive health, in both men and women.
It’s important to note that food choices cannot fix or help serious diseases or physical conditions that cause infertility in women and men. If, for example, your fallopian tubes are blocked, preventing sperm from reaching an egg, dietary changes won’t remove the blockage and open the tubes. In such cases, you will require medication, surgery or some other form of medical care.
Listed below are some of the best foods that can enhance and boost fertility.
Roasted, unsalted sunflower seed kernels are rich in vitamin E, an essential nutrient shown to boost sperm count and motility in some people. In addition, sunflower seeds are jam-packed with folate and selenium, which are important for both male and female fertility. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of omega-6 fatty acids and contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Pomegranates, particularly their many seeds, have long been associated traditionally with fertility and birth. While not a scientific reason to indulge in pomegranates, it’s certainly an interesting one. As for science, pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants which may improve sperm quality. In a 2014 study, 70 adult men who didn’t have healthy enough sperm to donate to a sperm bank, took tablets containing pomegranate fruit extract and powder of Galanga Root. After three months of treatment, sperm motility increased by an impressive 62%.
Tomatoes are high in the nutrient lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which can help strengthen your fertility. Lycopene has been extensively studied for its potential role in improving male fertility in particular. Lycopene supplementation has even been shown in many studies to be a possible treatment for male infertility. One study found that supplementation of 4mg to 8mg of lycopene per day for 8 to 12 months led to improved semen health and increased pregnancy rates.
Asparagus is a nutrient-packed superfood. It’s low in calories, will fill you up, and gives you a boost of vital fertility nutrients. In 1 cup serving, you’ll get your full daily value of vitamin K, 60% of your daily value of folate, and over 20% of other essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and the B vitamin thiamin. Always rinse asparagus under running water to clean it before using.
Pastured dairy is a great choice for fertility and pregnancy, for those who don’t suffer from lactose intolerance. Dairy is rich in saturated fat, which is especially beneficial for fertility. It’s also a good source of the fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, E, D, K, and K2.,p>
A Harvard study found that women who ate full-fat dairy products were less likely to experience ovulation problems compared to women who ate primarily low-fat dairy products. In this study, low-fat dairy products included skim or low-fat milk, sherbet, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Full-fat products included whole milk, ice cream, cream cheese, and other cheeses.
For those who can tolerate it- Liver, particularly cow’s liver, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It’s loaded with fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A. Besides being the ultimate source of natural vitamin A, liver is also packed with highly absorbable iron, which helps prevent miscarriage and maternal anemia, and vitamin B12, which is required for the proper formation of red blood cells and DNA. Liver is also a rich source of choline, omega-3 fatty acids, and folate.
Wild-caught salmon is on just about every superfood list—fertility related or not. And for good reason. Salmon is rich in essential fatty acids and omega-3s, which have been shown to be beneficial for enhanced fertility in men and women.
It is also an excellent source of selenium and vitamin D. Selenium is a vitamin essential for healthy sperm, and low vitamin D levels appear to be associated with poor fertility in men and women. Believe it or not, salmon is one of the best places to get your daily recommended value of vitamin D. Just 3 ounces of smoked salmon will give you a whopping 97% of the daily recommended value for vitamin D.
If you and your partner/spouse have been experiencing difficulty conceiving, try not to panic. The aforementioned foods and many others may significantly help increase your chances of achieving and keeping a pregnancy.
Always check with your doctor to make sure any dietary change will be safe for you.
If you have made lifestyle/dietary changes and are still not succeeding with conception, then it’s time to go see a specialist who can administer special fertility tests to determine the root cause of the problem. From there, he/she will suggest possible medicinal and/or surgical solutions that will hopefully improve your fertility.