According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, the fertility rate in the U.S hit a national low in 2018 with roughly 1.73%, the lowest number of births in 32 years. As things stand, fertility is now at levels below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1%. This is the fourth year running that the number of births has declined.
There is a certain number of factors are associated with poorer fertility. These include physical or emotional stress, smoking, low quality of family life, low educational attainment, low income, obesity, and notably nutrition.
In general, eating a healthy and varied diet contributes to your overall well-being, notably fertility. Indeed, according to a 2013 study on the influence of lifestyle factors on reproductive performance, healthy eating exerts an important role in human fertility. Moreover, a low intake of antioxidant nutrients is associated with poor semen quality.
In this sense, dietary changes are detrimental to boosting fertility, which explains why they’re often incorporated into treatments offered by infertility treatment centers for individuals of reproductive age.
Here are 10 foods to naturally boost your fertility and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Throughout history, many different cultures have recognized the potential effects of asparagus on fertility and vitality. Even now, it’s on just about every fertility foods list.
Asparagus is low calorie and a reliable source of fertility nutrients, including iron, zinc, folate, thiamin, vitamins A, C, E and K, and protein. In a mouse study, it has been shown to possess hormonal properties that can modulate the reproductive function.
Asparagus consumption has a number of other health benefits such as keeping your urinary tract healthy and enhancing your digestive health.
You can either eat asparagus raw or combine it with other ingredients to make fresh and tasty salads (e.g. asparagus and white bean salad, asparagus and cherry tomato salad).
Walnuts are a rich source of bioactive macronutrients that have the potential to beneficially affect reproductive health.
Walnuts are rich in dietary fiber, protein, folate and antioxidant vitamins. In conjunction with phenolic compounds, antioxidant vitamins have been shown to preserve the reproductive potential of the seed. Also, the Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplementation of walnuts is increasingly recognized as a means to increase sperms count and motility.
The effects on walnuts consumption don’t stop here, they’re associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
It’s easy to incorporate them into your diet by replacing your sweet-dense afternoon snack with dried fruits and mixed nuts.
Oysters have long been recognized for their vital fertility nutrients. This is due to their zinc supplementation which exerts positive effects on ovulation and fertility. In other words, zinc is associated with good-quality eggs and increased libido.
Oysters are also an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, minerals and vitamins, notably vitamin B12. Deficiency in the latter has been shown to decrease fertility.
In fact, a 100 grams serving of farmed eastern oyster contains only 59 calories and provides you with the following fertility nutrients:
- Iron: 32% of the DV;
- Vitamin B12: 270% of the DV;
- Selenium: 88% of the DV.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid which exerts a certain number of beneficial health effects, notably oxidative stress reduction. Low oxidative stress levels are correlated with increased chances of normal sperm fertilizing the egg (study).
Moreover, a 2017 study on the effects of tomatoes on male infertility found that consuming tomato juice for 12 weeks helps improve semen motility and decrease seminal plasma white blood cells responsible for sperm weakening.
You can eat fresh raw tomatoes, but it’s best to consume cooked ones as their lycopene supplementation can be increased by up to 171%.
- Sunflower Seeds
Several sources of evidence suggest that antioxidants like vitamin E are associated with increased oxidative stress levels and improved sperm counts. There are numerous dietary sources of vitamin E, specifically sunflower seeds.
They’re also rich in other vital nutrients such as zinc, folate and fatty acids. Zinc supplementation exerts preventive effects which reduce the risk of chromosomal defect and spontaneous abortion.
By consuming only 35 grams of dried sunflower seeds you will get the following fertility nutrients:
- Iron: 13% of the DV;
- Vitamin E: 82% of the DV;
- Vitamin B-6: 28% of the DV;
- Magnesium: 27% of the DV;
- Folate: 20% of the DV.
You can either sprinkle them on your salad or, even better, use sunflower seeds butter.
Cinnamon is laden with polyphenol which lowers fasting blood sugar levels and reverses the effects of prostate cancer. Moreover, due to its multifaceted nature, cinnamon contributes to the metabolizing of fatty acids, provides relief for indigestion and serves as an insulin booster.
When it comes to fertility, a 2018 mouse study on the effect of cinnamon on polycystic ovary syndrome (POS) — a common hormonal disorder which causes infertility among women of reproductive age — found that cinnamon consumption improves insulin resistance, and thus may contribute to the treatment of POS.
There are various ways you can incorporate cinnamon into your diet, for example, you can sprinkle it into your coffee or combine it with honey.
Pineapple is, it would seem, a classic symbol of the infertility community. It’s a reliable source of vitamins B1, B6 and C, copper and bromelain. The latter is a natural enzyme that has been shown to exert healthy effects on the immune system and potentially increase blood flow in the urinary system.
We recommend moderate consumption of pineapples since bromelain overdose may lead to serious complications such as diarrhea and heavy menstrual bleeding.
You can combine them with Brazilian nuts to make a fresh fertility-boosting smoothie.
Grapefruit juice contains is packed with spermine and putrescine polyamines, which may increase the viability of egg cells for females in their 30s and semen health for males.
A 100 grams serving of grapefruits provides you with 33.3 milligrams of vitamin C, which helps trigger ovulation and regulate female hormonal balance. Note that you should maintain a moderate consumption of grapefruit because it may lead to serious complications is combined with certain medications.
- Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are a good source of calcium, zinc, selenium, choline and Omega 3 fatty acids. Choline supplementation is associated with decreased risk of miscarriage and neural tube defects.
In fact, 100 grams of egg yolks provide you with a certain number of fertility nutrients:
- Iron: 15% of the DV;
- Vitamin B-6: 20% of the DV;
- Vitamin A: 28% of the DV;
- Calcium: 12% of the DV;
Although there is — surprisingly— no scientific evidence or proof to back up these advances, the effectiveness of egg yolks in boosting fertility and semen quality is widely acknowledged.
Eating salmon is another way to boost your fertility. Indeed, it’s rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients that are highly beneficial for women trying to conceive.
When you’re pregnant, you should limit your fish intake due to mercury exposure.
Overall, salmon exerts other health benefits such as reducing the risk associated with Alzheimer’s disease and preserving cognition in the elderly.
There are different ways to cook salmon. It can be baked, grilled, poached, smoked, canned or even eaten raw. Just make sure not to add extra sugar to it.