Fertility Foods for Women – How to Increase Fertility
When most of us think of fertility treatment, we imagine sophisticated diagnostic testing, powerful medications, and high-tech procedures. Choosing certain foods and drinks as a way to influence your ability to become pregnant sounds more like folktale wisdom than medical advice.
No wonder, then, that in a society blessed with many medical advances, we sometimes overlook the natural tools we have to help us with our fertility and pregnancy experiences. While your diet can influence your overall health, if you make dietary changes and still having difficulty conceiving, consider these top causes of infertility in women.
Yet, science now is coming full circle to take another look at the role nutrition may play in improving fertility and supporting healthy pregnancies. While many women don’t start getting serious about eating healthfully until after they’ve become pregnant, there’s increasing evidence that diet matters long before conception.
Watch your weight
Unhealthy food intake—whether too much or too little—has been recognized as a contributing factor to infertility for many years.
Too little or too much weight can make your reproductive cycle irregular. That causes you to ovulate only now and then, or not at all.
“Your ovaries and your fat cells regulate estrogen, which affects ovulation. If you’re too thin, you may not be producing enough estrogen, and if you’re overweight or obese, you may be producing too much,” says Maria Biasucci-Vianna, MS, RD, CDN, a New Rochelle, NY, dietitian who has counseled women with infertility problems in her private practice.
The first order of business, Biasucci-Vianna says, is to achieve and maintain a healthy weight to keep your reproductive cycle in balance. She advises the women she sees to check their BMI (body mass index) score. A BMI ranking of 19-24 indicates a healthy weight (athletes may have higher scores due to muscle mass). Anything below or above that range should be discussed with your health care provider.
Foods to improve ovulation
If weight isn’t a problem, but you’re experiencing infertility, will changing your dietary habits help you eat your way to motherhood?
Recently, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health published findings from a study of more than 18,000 women who were followed over eight years to see if their diets influenced their ability to become pregnant.
The study found that women who ate foods containing higher amounts of trans fats, animal proteins and carbohydrates, among other dietary factors, were more likely to have an ovulatory disorder. Ovulation problems cause infertility in about 20 percent of women seeking help in becoming pregnant. The researchers concluded that a majority of such cases “may be preventable” by adjusting diet and lifestyle.
Those findings apply only to women with ovulation problems and not to all infertile women. Yet, key study findings could give many women new avenues to explore, including:
Switch protein sources: Replace some of the beef, pork or chicken you eat (animal protein) with vegetable protein sources, such as cooked dried beans and nuts. When five percent of total calories eaten come from vegetable protein instead of animal, the risk of ovulatory infertility drops by more than 50 percent.
Add some high-fat dairy: Call it the Chunky Monkey Effect. The more low-fat dairy products you eat, the greater your risk of ovulatory infertility. Yes, you read that right—although the study’s authors caution against using this to justify late-night freezer raids for a pint of premium ice cream. Instead, try replacing one low-fat dairy serving per day with one high-fat serving, such as a glass of whole milk.
Don’t forget your vitamins: Women in the study who regularly took iron supplements and multivitamins containing folic acid had less ovulation-related infertility.
Building a healthy baby nest
Let’s face it: Everyone knows women whose food choices are awful, but who have no problem getting pregnant. Likewise, there are plenty of women eating healthy meals consistently, yet struggling with infertility.
“It’s not clear how what we eat can determine how easily we will get pregnant,” says Melinda Johnson, MS, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and a dietitian with a private practice in Chandler, AZ. Despite that, Johnson adds, “It makes sense to eat a healthy diet while you are trying to get pregnant. It may increase your odds of getting pregnant, but, beyond that, it nourishes your body so that it is at its healthiest the moment that you do get pregnant.”
If you’re trying to become a mom, Johnson advises focusing on the following foods to help your body function at its peak right now. That will improve your fertility environment as well as create the best nutritional foundation for fetal growth and development:
for those trying for a baby scientists have found that eating a big breakfast could boost your chances of conceiving but while we're not convinced talking into a full English holds the answer to your prayers one thing's for sure food and fertility are intrinsically linked so having the right balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet is essential below is a list of fertility boosting foods packed with the most important vitamins and minerals for healthy reproductive system number one bananas the magic nutrient vitamin b6 this is one of the most important vitamins in aiding conception as it regulates the hormones a b6 deficiency can lead to irritation and can also lead the poor egg and sperm development number two asparagus the magic nutrient quality studies have found that folic acid can help reduce the risk of ovulation or a failure women are also strongly advised to take folic acid supplements when trying to conceive number three shellfish the magic nutrient b12 studies have suggested a link between b12 deficiency and abnormally stretching levels that may interfere with implantation of the fertilized egg b12 may also help the strength of the endo Metreon lining and egg fertilization decreasing the risk of miscarriage number four eggs the magic nutrient vitamin D a study by Yale University took vitamin D measurements from 67 infertile women and found that only 7% of them said normal vitamin D levels while the other 93% had either insufficient of clinical deficiency they also found that none of the patients with toes had normal vitamin D levels number 5 almonds the magic nutrient vitamin e studies suggest vitamin E can improve sperm health in men a deficiency of vitamin E has also been linked to infertility in female rats if you're not convinced that an experiment with as evidence enough it's also an antioxidant that helps to protect sperm and egg DNA number six citrus fruit the magic nutrients vitamin C a study in which infertile men were given one thousand milligrams of vitamin C twice daily found that their sperm counter and motility their ability to move properly towards an egg were improved the vitamin is also said to improve hormone balance in women number seven tofu the magic nutrient iron according to fertility expert Heather Rodriguez studies have shown that women who do not get sufficient amounts of iron may suffer lack a fabulous and possibly poor egg health which can inhibit pregnancy at a rate sixty percent higher than those with sufficient iron stores in their blood number eight Salman the magic nutrient selenium this mineral produces antioxidants that protect the eggs and sperm from free radicals it can help prevent chromosome breakage which is known to cause birth defects and miscarriages research also suggests that selenium may also make sperm more fertile number nine peas the magic nutrient zinc increasing zinc levels and infertile men has been shown to boost sperm levels improve the form function and quality of male sperm and decrease male fertility for women a lack of zinc can lead to an imbalance of Easter engine and progesterone number 10 mackerel the magic nutrient essential fatty acids these are um essential for a strong reproductive system in women DHA one of the fatty acids found in fish oil has a significant impact on sperm health a fatty acid deficiency leads to an increase in cholesterol and a sperm membrane which prevents sperm from proper maturation