If getting pregnant is a struggle, or if you suffer from some form of infertility or another, or if you are simply planning to get pregnant, you might want to take a closer look at the foods you aren’t eating. More and more, we’re learning how the foods we eat affect us, and the powers they have to heal.
In some cases, the scientific evidence that supports these foods as beneficial to infertility is either lacking or inconclusive, but holistic nutritionists and naturopathic doctors alike recommend these foods for optimal fertility. And, hey, if you’re like me, what have you got to lose by trying?
Check out 16 fertility superfoods that could better your fertility odds.
Broccoli is a great source of folic acid, which most of us already know is essential to a healthy pregnancy. Folic acid has also been proven to prevent such disorders as Spina Bifida. Broccoli is also high in vitamin C, which is used by the ovaries to mature eggs and ensure ovulation.
Cabbage contains a phytonutrient called Di-Indole Methane (DIM). DIM helps with estrogen metabolism and prevents fibroids, which are a potential cause of infertility. DIM has also been shown to reduce the chances of developing endometriosis.
Yams could help improve female fertility by providing the nutritional support necessary for healthy ovulation. It’s possible that yams fool the brain into thinking that there isn’t enough estrogen, so you produce more, which is key to healthy fertility.
Avocados are a rich source of vitamin E, which is necessary for the motility of sperm. Vitamin E also helps reduce DNA defects of sperm, defects which can contribute to miscarriages. Higher levels of vitamin E have shown to make sperm more fertile.
5. Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are especially rich in choline (bet you never ever heard of that, huh?). Choline helps protect against neural tube defects, like Spina Bifida and anencephaly yet most women don’t get enough choline. So grab those eggs and get crackin’.
Abundant in essential fatty acids (also known as omega-3s), salmon is a great fish for fertility, as long as it comes from a good source. Women who have already had a child tend to be deficient in omega-3s because the previous child depleted most of their supply. Wild-caught salmon is best, and unlike other fish like tuna and swordfish salmon doesn’t pose the risk of containing toxic levels of mercury.
7. Olive Oil
Replacing “bad” saturated fats with good oils, such as olive oil, is an important step toward healthy fertility. Healthy unsaturated fats, like olive oil and sesame oil, are better than trans fats, and women who consume more of these good fats and less of the trans fats are less likely to experience infertility related to ovulation problems.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a fabulous source of zinc, which helps assist in healthy sperm and egg development. Proper levels of zinc is essential at the time of conception, because it plays a role in normal cell division at the embryonic stage. Other foods that are high in zinc are almonds, rye, peas, and oats.
9. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are high in both folic acid and iron. The benefits of folic acid are well known, and include preventing certain birth defects and promoting sperm health and egg development. Iron helps build a strong endometrial lining, which helps the zygote successfully attach itself to the uterus and hang on for the next nine months.
Sprouts help create a more alkaline environment in your body, which is especially good for the cervical mucus because it needs to be alkaline (as apposed to acidic) for sperm to survive there.
11. Full-Fat, Natural Yogurt
Like olive oil, full-fat yogurt is rich in the good saturated fat particularly needed for fertility. And it’s also a great source of beneficial bacteria, which is good for you and for a developing fetus.
12. Cod Liver Oil
I know, it sounds gross. But cod liver oil is loaded with essential omega-3s that help regulate hormones, increase good cervical fluid, and even protect sperm from damaging free radicals. It’s naturally occurring and liquid forms are best, but it also comes in capsule form.
13. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are great for balancing hormones and boosting fertility. They contain lignans, which are associated with reduced fibroids and increased fertility.
Who doesn’t love seaweed salad? And if you don’t, here’s reason to: Seaweed is high in iodine, which can decrease the risk of infertility and miscarriage. And iodine affects brain development of the fetus.
Garlic’s not just for keeping vampires away. It contains an abundance of fertility-boosting nutrients, including selenium, which is an antioxidant that supports healthy conception and protects the embryo from early miscarriage.
The thought of it might gross you out, but liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet! It’s loaded with vitamins vital for healthy fertility, including iron for the prevention of miscarriage and anemia of the mother, and B12 for the healthy formation of red blood cells and DNA. Happy eating!