Hoping to get pregnant? While fertility is a multifactorial outcome of the body’s health, consuming the right diet and an active lifestyle can not only boost fertility but also reduce stress and anxiety levels.
We spoke to Dr Pankaj Shrivastav, Director of Conceive Fertility Hospital, about the best foods for couples who are trying to conceive. It is important to note that no particular food item can cure infertility but including the below-listed items can help in nourishing the body and combatting fluctuating hormone levels.
Eat your way to parenthood:
1) Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts are loaded with folate and are essential for your diet if you’re trying to conceive or are expecting. Most of the folate-rich foods are leafy green vegetables, which makes Brussels sprouts a great alternative source for this nutrient. Brussels sprouts have also been found to help increase sperm count for men and help in keeping uterine lining - which is essential for implantation - healthy.
2) Butternut squash
In addition to being delicious, Butternut squash are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A (great for sperm health and overall hormone production and one serving of squash covers your entire daily recommended value!), Vitamin C (essential for healthy ovulation) and carotenes (good for egg health). It is also a great source for healthy carbs.
3) Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a real powerhouse for your fertility! They’re loaded with zinc which has been termed “the most important fertility mineral!” It’s vital for healthy fetal growth and facilitates healthy sperm production.
Research has also linked pumpkin seeds to reductions in early miscarriages. Pumpkin seeds go great in soups, on salads, and just as a great-tasting snack!
4) Sweet potatoes
The fertility diet, by and large, does not include potatoes. White potatoes, that is. Sweet potatoes and yams are a wonderful food to include in the fertility-friendly diet. They are a great source of healthy carbs and they’re also high in vitamin C, B, and vitamin B6. These antioxidants protect against cell damage so they’re great for protecting your eggs and improving egg health!
An apple a day proverbially keeps the doctor away and a lesser known fact is that it helps boost your fertility too. Apples are considered a balanced fruit with a good mix of all nutrients. They’re a low-calorie fruit, so they’re a great choice for getting the nutritional benefits of fruit without all the sugar that’s found in other fruits. For men, apples are recommended to increase sperm count.
Tomatoes are one of the best food sources when it comes to the antioxidant, lycopene. Studies show that lycopene has been found to significantly improve motility (the sperms ability to swim), activity and structure of sperm. Lycopene can benefit women also, as some studies suggest that it can help treat endometriosis, so if you have this condition, this is great news for you!
Tomatoes are also a great all-around fruit for healthy nutrition and boosting our fertility. They’re a good source of Vitamins A, C, K B6, folate and fibre, among other nutrients, that help balance our hormones and improve our ovulation. They’re also beneficial for heart health, cholesterol, and overall health.
In addition to being known for their natural aphrodisiac qualities, oysters help boost fertility because of their high zinc content. Other zinc rich foods include baked beans, eggs, and walnuts.
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Lentils are considered one of the richest sources of folate (natural folic acid) which is equally as important for male fertility as it is for female fertility. Men with lower folate intake often have higher rates of chromosomal abnormalities in their sperm, which can affect fertility.
Blueberries contain two of the best, most powerful antioxidants there are (quercetin and resveratrol). Quercetin helps maintain healthy sperm parameters including motility and quality while resveratrol helps to improve sperm count and motility.
Avocados are a great source for vitamin E and essential for fertility. Along with being another powerful antioxidant, it also improves the viability of sperm. Avocados are considered “healthy fats” and are essential for hormone function and stabilizing of their levels.
A variety of nuts such as almonds and walnuts, both rich in Vitamin E, helps to improve female sex drive while protecting embryos from miscarriages.
Eggs are packed with nutritional sources that boost fertility. They contain Vitamin B12 and folate, both of which minimize birth defects. Eggs are also rich in antioxidants and carotenoids which also help to boost fertility in women.
13) Black-eyed peas
These are also a great food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight, because they’re filling but low in calories. They also don’t contain any fat or cholesterol, making them a great food choice when looking to eat healthy overall.
14) Olive oil
This is another good choice for health and fertility. Extra virgin olive oil especially makes for a great cooking oil of choice, because it is rich in Vitamin E which helps protect the health of our cells, including our egg and sperm cells.
15) Leafy greens (spinach, chard and kale)
Leafy greens are loaded with iron, which is super important for regulating ovulation. Studies have shown that women who get sufficient iron in their diet have, on average, 40% less risk of ovulatory-related infertility
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