Fertility Diet

Food is the fuel for the human body. As such, what you eat will determine what happens in your body – including how your hormones affect you. When you are starting a diet to help your fertility, you need to be aware that the changes you make now may not have the effect you want for several months. If you know you want to conceive a child, start now on the path toward making what you eat a fertility diet. This article will explain in detail what you and your partner should eat and what you should avoid if you want to conceive a baby.

Fertility Diet - Foods to Eat to Boost Chances of Conception

1. Green, Red and Yellow Fruits and Vegetables


In general, the more brightly colored the fruit or vegetable, the more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it will contain. The vitamins and minerals will build up your blood and muscles while the antioxidants will fight the free radicals that can make you sick and keep you from getting pregnant. Cooking tends to destroy the nutrients, so, when possible, eat two cups each of raw vegetables and fruits each day. Bell peppers, blueberries, dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, and strawberries are all great foods to eat on a fertility diet.

2. Foods Rich in Iron

Iron is critical for healthy blood and a healthy body. Women can very quickly develop low iron – particularly if you bleed heavily during your menstrual cycle. Keep a healthy amount of iron in your diet because once you get pregnant, the baby will take all the iron it needs and will leave you anemic and exhausted. Organ meats and other red meats are great sources of iron. If your healthcare provider knows you are trying to get pregnant, she might prescribe a prenatal vitamin that will be high in iron. Watch a video for dietary sources of iron from a dietician:

3. Non-meat Protein Foods


Rather than getting all your protein from meat, try using another source of protein at least once a day. A vegetable or dairy protein may help to increase your fertility and, since they are lower in fat, these protein sources may help keep you at a healthy weight and lower your chances of cardiac and stroke problems. Good sources of non-meat proteins include soy, tofu, beans, nuts, and peas.

4. Supplements


Even if you have a very good diet, your fertility diet should also include a good multivitamin. Check with your healthcare provider or fertility specialist for vitamins they recommend. If you buy an over-the-counter vitamin complex, be sure to read the label and look for the following:

  • Folic Acid. You will want a multivitamin with 400 micrograms or more of the B vitamin folic acid. Folic acid is critical to protect the baby from spina bifida and other neural tube defects. Unfortunately, by the time you realize you are pregnant, the baby’s neural tube has already formed and any defects are already there so it is critical that you start the folic acid supplement BEFORE you conceive.
  • Vitamin B12. Another vitamin critical for normal neural tube development is vitamin B12. The daily recommended intake for B12 is 2.4 micrograms. If you eat very little meat, your diet may be deficient in this vitamin so you will want to supplement by taking a multivitamin that contains B12.
  • Vitamin A. Be sure the vitamin A in your multivitamin is the beta carotene type. Other types of vitamin A have been shown to cause some birth defects. Do not exceed the recommended daily intake of 770 mcg of vitamin A.

5. Fatty Fish


Fatty fish such as salmon, herring and sardines can provide a healthy dose of the Omega-3 fatty acids that can boost your hormones and reduce your stress. Be sure to eat at least one meal of fatty fish each week to replenish your omega-3 fatty acids.

6. Wild Yams

The common yam, or sweet potato, has long been used to increase a woman’s fertility. It is now believed that a chemical in the yam may stimulate ovulation and may, in fact, increase your odds of having a multiple birth!

7. Berries


Any berry that contains anti-oxidants will help to prevent damage to the egg that is half of the conception equation. One cup each day of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or strawberries will provide all the anti-oxidants your body needs on a fertility diet.

8. Oysters


You have probably heard about the aphrodisiac effects of the oyster, but oysters are also great for a fertility diet. The zinc in the oyster is critical for production of healthy eggs.

9. Diet for Men

There are several requirements for conceiving a healthy baby; one is that the father’s sperm are healthy and well-developed. Be sure that the man in your life gets plenty of zinc and selenium in the months leading up to conception. Remember that it takes 3-4 months for a sperm to fully develop so it is important that the man begins taking his multivitamins at least 3 months before you plan to conceive.

Watch an informative video on super foods for a healthy fertility diet:

Fertility Diet - Foods to Avoid

If you are truly serious about increasing your fertility, there are a few things you should avoid during your attempts at conception.

1. Refined Carbohydrates

As grains are refined, they become whiter and they lose most of the healthy nutrients that they once contained. Refined breads and pasta contain very little of the antioxidants and iron that make up a good fertility diet.

2. Other Foods

The listeria in soft cheeses, salmonella in undercooked eggs, sushi and artificial sweeteners may have negative effects on your attempts to conceive. In addition, avoid fish that may be high in mercury including tuna, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel.

3. Too Much of Certain Vitamins

Be sure the vitamin A in your multivitamin is the beta carotene type. Other types of vitamin A have been shown to cause some birth defects. Vitamin A from food is safe so you do not have to worry about getting too much from your food source.

4. Caffeine

The good news is that you do not have to give up caffeine completely as you try to conceive! Less than 3 cups of coffee (the equivalent amount of 200 mg) each day should not hurt your fertility.

5. Alcohol

Alcohol has been shown to decrease the fertility of a woman – and may have a similar effect on sperm production in a man. Alcohol during pregnancy has been linked to miscarriage and fetal alcohol syndrome.

6. Smoking

Smoking or even being around someone else who is smoking, will absolutely decrease your fertility. If you smoke, stop before you start trying to conceive and try to avoid inhaling second hand smoke.

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