Fruits That Help Fertility are Pineapples, apples, oranges – these fruits are a common list that you probably see every time a health article mentions the benefits of fruits. But there are some other lesser known fruits that can help your fertility in a positive way., especially when it comes to the ovaries.
10 Best Foods for Boosting Fertility
Not only are oranges, grapefruits and other citrus fruits one of the best sources for vitamin C, they’re also packed with potassium, calcium and folate—a B vitamin that can help you get pregnant by regulating ovulation and creating a healthy environment for eggs. You should aim for at least one serving of citrus fruit each day (try a medium-size grapefruit, a large orange, three clementines or one kiwi) in addition to another serving of fruits.
Eating dark green veggies like spinach, kale and Swiss chard is one of the best ways to take in essential prenatal nutrients like calcium, iron (especially important when you’re menstruating) and folate, which also protects against birth defects in the brain and spine that can develop in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Since it can take a few weeks to even know you’re pregnant, it’s important to load up on plenty of folate while you’re TTC. Most women don’t get enough from their diet though, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking a daily vitamin with folic acid (the synthetic version of folate) to reach the suggested 400 mcg dose.
Blueberries and raspberries are loaded with natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, which help boost both female and male fertility. Like citrus, they’re high in folate and vitamin C, which can help with fetal development down the road. Berries are also a good source of fiber and can aid weight loss (women at a healthier weight tend to have less trouble conceiving), so aim for at least one cup a day.
Another great way to get your daily dose of folate is through avocados. The green, skinned fruit contains vitamin K, which helps your body effectively absorb nutrients while maintaining hormonal balance. It’s also high in potassium, a key to regulating blood pressure. Okay, avocados aren’t exactly low-cal, but they’re mostly made up of monounsaturated fats (that’s the good kind), so one a day is fine. Typically it’s best to buy organic fruits and vegetables, but you can save a few bucks here since the thick skin makes it hard for pesticides to seep in, says nutritionist Kim Ross. A great way to eat it: Spread one-third of an avocado on multigrain toast and drizzle with olive oil, another known fertility booster. It contains a high concentrate of vitamin E, which is known to stabilize and protect cells from oxidative damage, a plus for women with PCOS or diabetes.
You should aim for at least 50 percent of your daily grain intake to come from whole grains, and this gluten-free carb takes it a step further as a great source of protein, folate and zinc. Plus, it’s high in fiber, which can help with constipation, especially around your period. Swapping animal-based proteins for plant-based ones like quinoa helps increase your odds for conception, says nutrition expert Hillary Wright. Since the complex carbs help stabilize your blood sugar and regulate your cycle, it makes it easier to determine your peak fertile days.
You probably thought sticking to low-fat dairy is the healthier choice, but that’s not the case when you’re trying to boost your fertility. Luckily, it only takes one daily serving of full-fat dairy to improve fertility odds, so grab a container of Greek yogurt for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Not only does it contain more calcium than milk, but it’s packed full of probiotics and two to three times more protein than a cup of regular yogurt. It’s also a good source of vitamin D, which helps the follicles in your ovaries mature, and it strengthens bones and boosts immunity. Not a yogurt fan? Aim for 1,000 mg of calcium daily, whether it’s through a cup of full-fat milk, one ounce of cheese or another source of dairy. Just don’t take this as a cue to eat a bowl of ice cream every night (as tempting as it may be)—too much full-fat dairy will increase your saturated fat intake, and end up hurting your fertility.
Wild salmon is a great protein alternative to meat and poultry. The fatty fish is one of the best sources of omega-3 and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which is really important for fetal brain and eye development. Overweight and obese women are particularly DHA-deficient, so it’s a good nutrient to load up on before getting pregnant. Just keep in mind, while salmon isn’t a fish with high mercury levels, there can still be trace amounts, so you should limit your intake to 12 ounces per week, Ross says.
The crown jewel to any TTC diet, organic eggs are packed with a high concentrate of vitamins and minerals, along with amino acids like choline, which improves follicle quality. Like folate, it helps prevent neural tube birth defects and aids in brain development. And don’t forget to keep the yolk—that’s where the good stuff is.
All nuts have their benefits, but they’re not all created equal. Walnuts are high in fiber and one of the only vegetarian foods that contain omega-3. Plus, they’re filled with magnesium, which helps produce progesterone and increase blood supply to the uterus, helping with fertility. Magnesium can also ease morning sickness symptoms that women typically face in the first trimester. Like most nuts they’re high in calories, so limit your daily intake to two tablespoons.
Lentils and Beans
These plant-based proteins are high in fiber and B vitamin, and are also a good source of folate and iron. If you choose a canned variety, check that it’s free of BPA, a chemical that can negatively affect your estrogen levels. To get the full benefits, aim for at least two meals per week, Wright says.
Fertility Foods to Boost Your Odds of Conception
While there is no specific food or fertility diet that will magically boost your chances of conception, a nutritious and well-balanced diet can certainly help support overall health, including reproductive health, in both men and women.
It’s important to note that food choices do not play a role in certain serious conditions that cause infertility in women and men. If, for example, the fallopian tubes are blocked, preventing sperm from reaching an egg, dietary changes won’t remove the blockage and open the tubes.
With that in mind, below are 15 healthy whole foods that may be beneficial to those wishing to optimize their diet for fertility.
Roasted, unsalted sunflower seed kernels are rich in vitamin E, an essential nutrient shown to boost sperm count and sperm motility in some people. In addition, sunflower seeds are jam-packed with folate and selenium, which are important for both male and female fertility. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of omega-6 fatty acids and contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
How to Eat It
Sunflower seeds can make a great snack on their own, but you can also easily incorporate them into your favorite meals. Try sprinkling sunflower seeds on your salad, using them in trail mix, or substituting sunflower seed butter for peanut butter. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of sunflower seed butter into a smoothie, or stir it into yogurt, to add extra flavor as well as a little more nutrition.
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits some of the best sources for vitamin C. Grapefruits and oranges contain the polyamine putrescine, which some animal research has associated with the potential to improve egg and semen health.
How to Eat It
Enjoy orange slices on their own or try incorporating citrus juice into your smoothies. Sliced grapefruit also makes a great addition to fresh salads.
Caution: Grapefruit juice can interact with some medications in very dangerous ways. If you’re taking any kind of medication, speak to your doctor about whether grapefruit juice is safe for you.
Mature cheeses, like aged cheddar, parmesan, and manchego, may improve sperm health. Mature cheeses are high in polyamines. Polyamines are proteins found in plant and animal products. They are also naturally occurring in humans.
Research has found that polyamines may play an important role in the reproductive system. Mature cheese is specifically high in the polyamine putrescine, which may play a role in sperm health. Putrescine is also suspected of improving egg health, especially in women 35 and older5 (Yes, that’s the same putrescine found in grapefruit.)
How to Eat It
Sprinkle some cheese on just about anything or have a few pieces along with some nuts or fruit as an afternoon snack. Just be mindful of portion sizes when adding cheese to your diet as a small amount packs in a lot of calories and saturated fat. Enjoy in moderation.
Pastured dairy is a great choice for fertility and pregnancy for those who can tolerate it. Dairy is rich in saturated fat, which is especially beneficial for fertility. It’s also a good source of the fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, E, D, K, and K2.
A Harvard study found that women who ate full-fat dairy products were less likely to experience ovulation problems compared to women who ate primarily low-fat dairy products. In this study, low-fat dairy products included skim or low-fat milk, sherbet, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Full-fat products included whole milk, ice cream, cream cheese, and other cheeses.
How to Eat It
If you already consume dairy, the easiest way to get full-fat dairy into your diet is to switch to whole-fat products such as swapping skim milk with whole milk and low-fat yogurt with full-fat yogurt.
An occasional serving of full-fat ice cream can also make a nice treat. Just be sure to take the extra calories into account. If you’re going for ice cream, limit yourself to one to two servings per week.
Liver, particularly cow’s liver, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It’s loaded with fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A which is difficult to obtain elsewhere in the diet.
Besides being the ultimate source of natural vitamin A, liver is loaded with highly absorbable iron, which helps prevent miscarriage and maternal anemia, and vitamin B12, which is required for the proper formation of red blood cells and DNA. Liver is also a rich source of choline, omega-3 fatty acids, and folate.
How to Eat It
You can certainly go the traditional route with a simple liver and onions recipe, but if you’re new to liver, consider adding it to other meat-based favorites like meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, or even meatballs.
Tomatoes are high in the nutrient lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, which can help augment your fertility. Lycopene has been extensively studied for its potential role in improving male fertility.
Lycopene supplementation has even been researched as a possible treatment for male infertility. One study found that supplementation of 4mg to 8mg of lycopene per day for 8 to 12 months led to improved semen health and increased pregnancy rates.7
How to Eat It
While both raw and cooked tomatoes contain lycopene, 1 cup of cooked tomatoes contains almost twice as much lycopene as 1 cup of raw tomatoes. So when you can, opt for the cooked tomato recipes like tomato-based soups and stews, tomato sauces, and even just roasted tomatoes.
Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are an excellent source of fiber and folate, both of which are crucial to maintaining a healthy hormonal balance. Lentils also contain high levels of the polyamine spermidine, which may help sperm fertilize the egg.
Lentils and beans are also high in protein, which can help promote healthier ovulation. Studies show that when 5% of calories eaten come from vegetable protein rather than animal protein in particular chicken and red meats—the risk of infertility due to anovulation falls by over 50%.
How to Eat It
Consider replacing one or two meat meals with lentil or bean-based meals. You can also try throwing some beans into your salad instead of cheese or meat.
If you choose a canned variety, check that the cans are free of BPA, a chemical that can negatively impact estrogen levels in women.
Asparagus is a nutrient-packed superfood. It’s low in calories, will fill you up, and gives you a boost of fertility vital nutrients. In 1 cup serving, you’ll get your full daily value of vitamin K, 60% of your daily value of folate, and over 20% of other essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and the B vitamin thiamin.
How to Eat It
When possible, reach for fresh or frozen asparagus. Enjoy it as a vegetable side (it’s delicious roasted or grilled) or added to recipes like frittatas or stir-fries. Canned asparagus, while convenient, is often full of added sodium. If you go for a canned or jarred product, look for low sodium options and rinse asparagus under running water before using.
Oysters appear on just about every fertility food list. They are packed with fertility-boosting nutrients. A serving of six raw oysters contains only 139 calories, but all these important reproductive vitamins and minerals:
- 408% of your daily recommended vitamin B12
- 188% of your daily recommended zinc
- 187% of your daily recommended selenium
- 43% of your daily recommended iron
How to Eat It
Many people feel intimidated by oyster preparation, but you don’t have to be. You can prepare and serve this dish at home. The healthiest option is raw, but you can also enjoy them baked.
Pomegranates have long been associated with fertility and birth due to their many seeds. While not a scientific reason to indulge in pomegranates, it’s certainly an interesting one.
As for science, pomegranates are loaded with antioxidants which may improve sperm quality. In a 2014 study, 70 adult men who didn’t have healthy enough sperm to donate to a sperm bank tablets containing pomegranate fruit extract and powder of Galanga Root.9 After three months of treatment, sperm motility increased by 62%.
How to Eat It
Pomegranate seeds make for a delicious, healthy snack on their own, but also make for a great topping for yogurt, oatmeal, and even salads and quinoa bowls.
10 Foods That Will Increase Fertility and Libido in Women
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 10 women will experience infertility. Maintaining a healthy diet is important at every point in a woman’s life but especially important when trying to conceive a baby. Here are 10 foods that naturally increase fertility in women. Please remember that infertility can be a symptom of serious health issues, like endometriosis, PCOS, and hormone imbalance. Until these underlying issues are addressed, infertility may continue. If you are in the United States and would like additional information, talk to the Kaldas Center.
Seaweed is packed with nutrients that help enrich the liver, kidneys, bladder, and adrenals which are organs vital to fertility health.
Salmon is full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids which are proven to regulate blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Figs have been believed to increase fertility since the time of Ancient Greeks, and now we have scientific evidence. Figs contain a lot of iron, which is important for healthy eggs and ovulation.
Oysters have been known to increase libido, but oysters can also be a great source for fertility because they are packed with zinc, which increases the production of good-quality eggs.
Any kind of berries is good at protecting eggs from damage and aging because they are full of antioxidants. Strawberries have been linked to naturally increasing a woman’s libido.
Beans are a lean protein and are full of iron, which helps to increase fertility and libido. Low iron levels can result in anovulation, which is when ovulation does not produce a healthy egg.
7. Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens such as spinach, romaine, arugula, and broccoli are high in folate, a B vitamin that has been shown to improve ovulation. Leafy greens also naturally increase a woman’s libido.
8. Maca Root
Maca root increases fertility in men and women by increasing energy, boosting the immune system, and providing vital minerals and nutrients. Maca Root is packed with iron and iodine.
Research shows yams have an ovulation stimulating substance that can help boost fertility.
10. Vegetables and Fruits
Eating up to three servings a day of fresh fruits and vegetables is important for any diet, but especially important when trying to conceive.