Oysters are a potent source for zinc, an essential mineral for both female and male fertility. In female fertility it promotes proper cell division, a process critical to the earliest stages of conception and fetal development. In men, zinc appears to be a necessary ingredient for adequate testosterone levels and sperm counts. Oysters also provide copper, another mineral known to play a role in sperm production.
Stick with whole milk, rather than skim. Cow's milk contains both male and female hormones. When milk is skimmed, estrogens are removed along with the fat, leaving behind only male hormones. As a study of over 18,000 women found, consumption of low-fat and skim-milk products resulted in decreased fertility in women, while consumption of full-fat dairy products resulted in increased fertility.
Chicken is a rich source of niacin (vitamin B3), a nutrient that plays an important role in the synthesis of sex hormones. Niacin deficiencies have been linked with fertility problems in both women and men, but with 10.6 mg of niacin per 3-ounce serving, chicken can provide your diet with approximately 75 percent of the daily recommended intake for B3.
Brazil nuts are chock full of selenium, an antioxidant mineral that helps prevent chromosomal damage in eggs and sperm, a common cause of early pregnancy miscarriage (and birth defects). In men, selenium serves as yet another nutrient needed for healthy sperm formation; studies have found that low selenium levels may be linked with low sperm counts.
Almonds are rich source of vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin sometimes called the "fertility vitamin" because of the vital role it plays in reproductive health. In women, vitamin E helps the body absorb other fat-soluble vitamins needed for hormone production. In men with infertility, treatment with vitamin E has shown effective in boosting low sperm counts.
A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that switching from soda or coffee to tea could give your pregnancy odds a boost. One of the links between tea and fertility appears to be a biochemical compound called hypoxanthine. Tea contains it, but so does follicular fluid, the liquid surrounding the egg that helps foster egg maturity before ovulation.
Eggs really are incredible when it comes to providing your diet with fertility-boosting nutrients. Just one egg provides a whopping 10 percent of the recommended daily intake for both iron and zinc, plus ample amounts of B vitamins and 16 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin that assists in the formation of reproductive hormones.
Popcorn naturally contains beneficial amounts of L-arginine, an amino acid needed for healthy sperm production. As research shows, increased consumption of L-arginine appears to improve sperm count and quality in men with slightly impaired fertility. Plus, air-popped popcorn contains no sodium or sugar, is naturally high in fiber and low in calories and fat, making it a sound snack option for anyone.
Picking a bell pepper for your next meal can give you folate (important for sperm production and preventing early pregnancy birth defects), fertility-boosting B vitamins, beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), and vitamin C, another antioxidant vitamin that may help prevent DNA damage in reproductive cells. Some research shows that vitamin C intake could help clomiphene fertility drugs work more efficiently.
Clams are naturally rich in iron, an important mineral for maintaining healthy fertility in women (some studies indicate that women with low iron reserves are less likely to conceive). Adult women need 18 mg of iron a day. This amount jumps to 27 mg a day. A single 3-ounce serving of clams provides 24 mg of iron.
When you eat white breads, white rice, and other refined carbs, the rapid rise in blood sugar that often results forces your body to compensate with a surge in insulin. Over time, stepped up insulin production may throw other hormones levels off balance, including reproductive hormones. Whole wheat bread, brown rice, and other whole-grain foods break down and enter the blood stream at much slower rates.
Studies have shown that eating too many trans fats, those unhealthy "bad fats" found in hydrogenated oils, may put women at greater risk for ovulatory fertility disorders. The best way to avoid the trans-fat trap? Switch to olive oil. Free of trans fats, olive oil is a rich source for monounsaturated fatty acids, which are not only good for your heart and cholesterol levels, but also help you maintain a balanced and healthy endocrine system.
Studies have found that eating protein from plant sources, like beans and peanuts, is associated with increased fertility in women, as opposed to women who get their protein solely from meat sources. Plus, beans are also high in iron and B vitamins, other nutrients that are helpful for fertility.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, essential fats we need for good health. Omega-3s give fertility a boost by helping to regulate reproductive hormone production and increasing blood flow to reproductive organs.
Crunch your way to conception success! Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables—cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts—contain Indole-3 carbinol (I3C), a natural compound that some holistic practitioners believe helps to balance the body's estrogen levels and improve fertility.
Could Popeye’s favorite be your fertility superfood? Rich in antioxidants, iron, vitamin E, folic acid, and other B vitamins, just one serving a spinach provides your body with so many of the key nutrients you need for a healthy reproductive system. So what are you waiting for? Layer spinach leaves in sandwiches, eat it steamed, or blend a handful of spinach in with your next smoothie.