Trying to conceive can be a stressful time and you’ll be doing everything you can to improve your chances. Although there is no guaranteed way to get pregnant there are definitely things you can do to improve your chances and one of those things is to make changes to your diet to help increase fertility. In this article we’ll be looking at what minerals and nutrients can help and an easily digestible list of foods you can add to your lifestyle.
6 key nutrients to help make a woman fertile
- 6 key nutrients to help make a woman fertile
- Foods that help with female fertility
Before we look at what foods help boost fertility we need to look at what nutrients and minerals in these foods make them so good for your baby making skills.
1. Folic Acid
Whilst folic acid doesn’t help with fertility directly it is still a crucial part of very early pregnancy and a key nutrient in helping women stay pregnant as soon as the egg has been fertilised. Many women may have been pregnant without even knowing about it as the body may have miscarried due to a defect very early in the pregnancy. Folic acid plays a pivotal role in helping the cells divide and avoid neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Folic acid doesn’t doesn’t cure these ailments it can still help in avoiding them in the first place.
When it comes to pregnancies, you won’t hear of a nutrient more important than folic acid. Folic acid can be found in a wide range of foods such as beef, spinach, peas, asparagus, avocados, spinach…yep ,you guessed it – dark leafy greens! Folic acid is easy to get whether you’re a carnivore, vegetarian, pescatarian or vegan. It can also be attained through supplements.
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- Folic Acid, also known as folate or vitamin B9, is important before & during pregnancy and for men and women of all ages for general wellbeing.
- Folate and vitamin B12 contribute to the normal function of the immune system.
Calcium is most famous for helping us get healthy teeth and bones, you won’t go into a dentist without seeing a poster for it. However, calcium also plays a very important part in conceiving a baby as it helps alkalise the body which is more favourable to the incoming sperm than when it’s highly acidic. This is not to say it disturbs your body’s natural balance but it does ‘soften’ the approach for the male sperm which is exactly what we want when we’re trying for a baby.
Calcium is also important during pregnancy itself as it can help replenish your calcium stores which have been handed over to your growing fetus/baby to help their bones to grow.
Calcium can be found in a wide variety of foods such as dairy products (milk, cheese etc), dark leafy greens (again), soy, nuts, bread and fish. Calcium is easy to get whether you’re a carnivore, vegetarian, pescatarian or vegan. It can also be attained through supplements.
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Iron is an important nutrient before, during and after pregnancy. Iron helps greatly with making sure women create healthy eggs which can be fertilised and implanted correctly. Along with this, Iron is a key ingredient that your baby will take from you while you’re pregnant, too. Iron is easily found in many foods and you don’t necessarily need to supplement.
Look for meats, poultry and fish for easy access to Iron, or if you are vegetarian or vegan then stock up on (surprise, surprise) dark green veg such as broccoli, spinach as well as lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, grains and dried fruit such as apricots, dates and raisins.
Studies have shown that women who suffer(ed) from infertility had low levels of magnesium in their blood. Magnesium plays a pivotal role in detoxifying the body and building DNA which includes the eggs and to aid with a healthy implantation. Magnesium doesn’t help with fertility directly but it does play a very important role in keeping your body healthy which in turn helps with fertility. The healthier you are the more likely you are to become fertile.
Dark green and dark leafy veg is the key to getting plenty of magnesium as well as beans, nuts, avocados and seaweed. Interestingly, magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin when taking a bath with Epsom salts. Magnesium is in abundance so there’s no reason why you couldn’t be getting your fair share of the veg and a bath in the evening!
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- Helps with fluid retention.
- Excellent after sports and exercise.
Zinc is one of the most impressive nutrients which have a wide range of uses in the body with one of them being boosting fertility in women. Zinc helps with building DNA, boosting your immune system, balancing blood sugar levels, digesting food and perhaps most important in terms of your fertility – zinc helps balance your hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Similar to folic acid, Zinc has a direct link with fertility and overall feminine health and should not be avoided!
By regulating your hormones, Zinc helps your period become regular and your ovulation date accurate. It also aids in helping the overall health of your reproductive organs and works hand in hand with other nutrients to create a hospital environment for the incoming sperm. When your egg is fertilised, having a healthy level of hormones improves the chances of successfully implantation and then a confirmed pregnancy. This makes Zinc sound like a wonder drug but like the other minerals and nutrients it can be found in abundance in a lot of every day foods.
Zinc is not stored in the body and must be continually consumed to be effective – to get your fill of zinc eat plenty of beef and poultry, eggs, whole grains, dairy products, seeds, beans, oatmeal, almonds, green peas and oysters (also a natural aphrodisiac!). Zinc can be tricky at times for vegetarians and especially vegans perhaps so supplementation can at time be helpful.
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6. Eating healthily in general
Should this be the most important point? Is this is a cop out answer? Regardless of the answer to both those questions, there is simply no better way to be fertile than to eat healthily all of the time by having a balanced and varied diet alongside a healthy lifestyle.
By giving yourself a rich diet of vitamins, minerals and nutrients mean your body is always full of good energy you will feel more awake, you’ll feel better, you’ll be sharper, you’ll look better (great for baby making!) and your body will have everything it needs to maintain a good state of health to fend off illnesses and maintain a hormonal balance. Not only will your reproductive system be in better shape but you as a person will be in better shape to have better sex while trying for a baby.
Not everyone finds eating healthily easy and some may not even be sure on how to start eating healthy. We would always recommend starting by stop eating badly first – stay clear from processed foods, sugary drinks, red meat and foods with too much-saturated fats. Replace all of your drinks with water, snack with fruit and nuts and consider losing weight by reducing your calories if you’re overweight. There is an abundance of guides out there on how to change your diet for the best.
Foods that help with female fertility
We’ve covered what nutrients you should make sure you’re getting when trying to conceive, now we’re going to go on step further and list some foods which you should definitely add to your diet while trying for a baby. Not all of them will include one of the 5 nutrients we’ve mentioned but they all have one thing in common – they’re good for you! We’re going to list affordable and easy to integrate foods for the everyday women and to ensure we have options for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. Enjoy!
Technically, water isn’t food but it is the source of all life and the most important thing anyone can put in their bodies. From a fertility perspective, water helps move nutrients around the body and aids in generating the mucus which helps carry the sperm to the egg during ovulation. The trick with water is just to try and drink regularly and stay hydrated all of the time instead of only drinking when you have a headache or feel thirsty.
Spinach is a dark leafy green vegetable which is packed full of nutrients and minerals which includes folic acid, iron and calcium which is 3/5 of the key nutrients we recommend. Spinach is also fairly versatile and easy to add to an every day diet such as in a sandwich, wrap, server with pasta or chopped up into a smoothie. If you’re trying for a baby then spinach is something not to be ignored!
Beans come in a few varieties but all of them have fertility boosting in common. Beans are a fantastic source of iron, magnesium and zinc. Outside of fertility boosting, beans are healthy in general and aid with the digestive system, help maintain a healthy heart and as a powerful antioxidant. We all know the best way to eat beans is with toast but it can also be used just as affectively with salads (baked beans), jacket potatoes or in a chilli (kidney beans) or in a vegetarian/vegan curry (soybeans).
4. Mature cheese
Although cheese is not something we would recommend for a healthy diet since it contains so much fat, cholesterol and calories it is nonetheless a great source of calcium and magnesium and integrating it into your diet in moderation can help you get your fertility boosting nutrients.
Cheese has an almost infinite list of applications such as sliced in a sandwich, sprinkled over a salad (which has leafy greens) or even with biscuits.
The big red super veg has loads of folic acid as well as a plethora of nutrients and minerals to really give you a health kick. Tomatoes also contain lycopene which has been linked with reducing the chances of endometriosis which is heavily linked with infertility in women. The humble tomato is a versatile vegetable which is easy to consume either as a whole veg or broken down in soups and sauces. Boost your fertility and get one of your five a day with a tomato!
Asparagus is another dark green veg which is packed with folic acid along with several other vitamins and minerals to really give you some good, clean energy. Asparagus twigs can be eaten raw or boiled with some sweet potato or a nice juicy steak. Asparagus is a nutrient dense vegetable so a little bit can go a very long mile!
The oyster could potentially be the best fertility food for both men and women there is. A powerful anti oxidant and a great source of zinc, too. As an added bonus, oysters are famous for being a powerful and natural aphrodisiac so it would be a great food to share around the time you’re ovulating!
Oysters are a bit of a specialist food and they’re not cheap, however they can work great with a bit of vegetables and perhaps some sweet potato on the side. Even if they’re consumed only a couple of times a month they can still have a huge impact on your fertility!
Almonds are one of the best nuts you can get even if you’re not trying for a baby as they’re so nutrient dense and packed full of goodness. Almonds include L-arginine and Zinc as well as Vitamin E which is a powerful anti oxidant. If that’s not enough for you, almonds are also a great source of protein, helps regulate blood sugar levels, help reduce cholesterol and help heart health.
Almonds are easy to integrate into virtually any diet whether you’re a meat eater, vegetarian or vegan. Sprinkle ground almonds onto salads, eat them raw with or without skin, spread almond butter on your morning toast or even drink almond milk!
Eggs are a staple food which is rich in nutrients and minerals depending on how they are prepared and eaten. Eggs contain a large amount of protein which is the building block of any organism. Eggs are also packed with folic acid, zinc, iron and magnesium.
Eggs are easy to add into any diet and work well with many other fertility foods from this list such as spinach, salmon, pineapple (gammon and eggs), cheese and beans. What we would recommend, though, is to vary how you prepare the eggs and to avoid eating too many fried eggs as they contain a lot of fat which would turn it into an unhealthy meal.
Salmon is a fantastic fish to eat even if you’re not trying for a baby or looking to actively improve your fertility. Rich in healthy fats and low in mercury that you may find in other fish such as tuna. Salmon (and fish as a whole) is also a great alternative for vegetarians. Bursting with omega-3 fatty acids and almost void of any saturated fats means that this will help your health and energy levels while giving you key fertility nutrients such as magnesium and iron.
Have salmon with spinach or kale, some boiled asparagus, and tomatoes for a huge female fertility meal.
Kale is a dark green superfood that’s rich in folic acid, manganese, calcium and iron which is pretty much everything a woman needs to be fertile from food. On top of this, kale is nutrient dense and calorie low which means you really are doing your body a favour by consuming some. It’s got a bit of a strong, overpowering taste to it but its nutritional benefits are undisputed so chucking this in your food is recommended but tricky.
The girls at Best For Mums like to consume kale via a smoothie with some citrus fruits to disguise the taste!
Wholegrains are usually associated with a hearty meal and are a part of foods such as buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice and barley. Wholegrains include key fertility nutrients such as folic acid and fiber. Wholegrains can also be a great antioxidant which can help create a healthy environment for sperm and eggs.
Wholegrains are one of the easiest foods to integrate into a diet and many will already be having plenty. Sprinkle some quinoa onto a salad with some salmon, swap white bread for brown bread for your sandwich or have brown rice with your favourite curry – these are just a couple of easy suggestions.
Walnuts have a fantastic amount of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin e and folic acid and a useful addition to your baby making diet, especially as a snack. Similar to oysters, walnuts are also great for your partners sperm making factories which means you should both be munching on this cracking nut.
Aside from the fertility aspect of walnuts, they’re also an all-round healthy snack any way so you’ll feel better by adding them into your diet thanks to the cancer busting qualities.
We recommend enjoying walnuts raw as a snack.
Beetroot is another powerful antioxidant which is great for both the man and the women during your time trying for a baby. Beetroot is also good as keeping age related infertility at bay so if you’re no spring chicken then make sure to give some beets a try!
Beetroot is a tricky one to add and other than eating them raw out of a bottle or in your salad you’ll struggle. However, you don’t need an awful lot of the stuff to get the goodness.
The delicious Pineapple contains bromelain which is known to reduce inflammation in the uterus and improve the volume and quality of cervical mucus – an essential ingredient in the ovulation process as it aids the sperm during their perilous journey to the egg. Eating pineapple will also give you a boost of vitamins, minerals and natural occurring sugars for a nice energy kick.
You’ll find pineapple in a few male fertility lists as pineapple is great for sperm healthy, too, so it can and should be enjoyed as a couple along with oysters, salmon and nuts.
Pineapple can be prepared and eaten a few ways such as chopped, sliced and crushed into a smoothie.
16. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin C and E which can help with the uterus lining and zinc. Sunflower seeds are your most reliable source of zinc so it’s worth picking up some seeds. Sunflower seeds are ideal as a snack to chew on during the day.
17. Chicken breast
Chicken breast contains most of the nutrients we recommend to improve fertility and one of the most popular foods people eat so it’s worth adding it in. Chicken is probably one of the healthier and lean meats you can get along with turkey and duck but it should still be consumed in moderation.
Chicken goes well with the vegetables we’ve listed here for a superbly healthy meal which will really give your fertility a kick! As an added bonus, chicken is also chock full of protein and will help you repair and rebuild if you are living a healthy and active lifestyle along with a balanced diet.