Researchers say that fertility issues affect about 15% of couples. The road to parenthood is never easy, as you may encounter unforeseen challenges or obstacles along the way. Please understand that if you are experiencing fertility issues, you are not alone. Many couples face similar issues, and the good news is that there are natural ways to help increase fertility. One of the easiest places to start is by eating the right foods.
You don’t want to wait until you are nearing pregnancy to start eating the right foods. The minute you think about having a child, you want to add certain foods to your diet. Focus on specific nutrients like folate, calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Although many foods contain those aforementioned nutrients, you should eat the following foods to help make the body more fertile.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber works to help improve digestion and keep you full between meals. It also aids the body with the elimination of excess hormones and helps to regulate blood sugar. One study linked soluble fiber from avocados, sweet potatoes, oats, and fruits to lower levels of estrogen and progesterone. If you have high estrogen and progesterone levels, it can be more difficult to get pregnant. Eating high fiber foods like whole grains, vegetables, and beans can help lower concentrations of these hormones. In fact, health experts say that women trying to increase fertility should increase their fiber intake by five grams per day.
Carbs are beneficial when you eat the right ones. You can learn more about the difference between simple and complex carbs by clicking here. Complex carbs are whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits, all of which help to keep blood levels stable. Simple or refined carbs tend to increase insulin levels, which can negatively affect reproductive hormones and the menstrual cycle. This is not a good scenario if you are trying to conceive. When you eat complex carbs, you can avoid insulin spikes and promote regular ovulation.
Think red, blue, pink, and beyond! Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries contain high concentrations of antioxidants, which work to protect cells from damage and aging. That includes the cells in your reproductive system, i.e your eggs. Antioxidants like folate and zinc work to improve fertility in both men and women. In one study, women who consumed more folate experienced higher rates of clinical pregnancy, live birth, and implantation.
A recent 2019 study found that heme iron (from animal sources) had no effect on fertility, whereas non-heme iron had mild benefits for women with iron deficiency. Consuming iron from plant-based foods may reduce the risk of ovulatory infertility. More studies are necessary in order to confirm whether or not iron supplements can help women increase fertility. Make a doctor’s appointment to check if your iron levels are solid if you want to conceive. Great non-heme iron sources are harder for the body to absorb, so consume these foods with vitamin C to increase bioavailability. Click here for great sources of plant-based iron.
Vitamin B9, also known as folate, is one of the most nutrients to consume before and during pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that women consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily at least one month before getting pregnant. Folic acid is the synthesized version of folate, which you can get from consuming leafy green vegetables, including kale, bok choy, Swiss chard, broccoli, spinach, and more. Strawberries and oranges are also great sources of folate.