Can foods for increasing fertility really make you conceive faster?
If you’re trying to start or expand your family, you might be looking for ways to up your chances. To boost your fertility, you might look at the foods you’re consuming.
While some women stress themselves out over a specific diet for fertility, it’s not necessary. Lists of foods for increasing fertility are fun, but there’s no one food you should turn to. Still, your diet can influence your fertility.
In this guide, we’re sharing 6 tips for optimizing your diet for fertility.
Do Foods for Increasing Actually Work?
When looking for ways to increase your fertility, you may turn to your diet. In this pursuit, you may come across lists of foods for increasing fertility.
Commonly claimed foods for increasing fertility include:
- Sweet potatoes
While these foods may be nutrient-packed, keep in mind that there’s no one ingredient that will increase your fertility. Rather, a combination of healthy foods and a balanced diet are key.
For example, eating a lot of beans may give your folate, fighting against birth defects. However, you shouldn’t just focus on beans. The best approach is to focus on a balanced diet as a whole. Your overall health, including your lifestyle, influences your fertility. To boost specific nutrients during conception, consider taking a specific supplement, like folate, or a fertility/prenatal blend.
Foods For Increasing Fertility: What Works?
We’ve established that there’s no magic bullet foods for increasing fertility. Yet your diet and nutrient intake factors in. So how might you change your diet to support fertility?
Instead of focusing on specific foods for increasing fertility, consider the suggestions below.
#1 Take Folic Acid Supplement
When you’re trying to conceive, you might be looking for foods for increasing fertility. But you’re probably getting many of the nutrients you need in your diet already. One of the important nutrients you may be low on is folic acid. Folate, a B vitamin, is known as a pregnancy vitamin—but you should also up your intake before conceiving.
While you can stuff your diet with folate-rich foods, consider taking a supplement to cover all your bases. You can use a specific folic acid supplement or get it through a prenatal or fertility supplement blend.
Folic acid is important during conception for two main reasons:
- It may help you get pregnant (it increased pregnancy rates in one study)
- Taking folic acid before conception helps prevent neural tube defects
The CDC recommends taking 4,000 mcg of folic acid daily one month before pregnancy.
#2 Inventory Your Diet for Key Nutrients
Rather than focusing on a specific diet for fertility, take inventory of your current one.
What nutrients are you typically getting through your diet? What nutrients do you need more of? What foods can you add to your diet to get those nutrients?
When looking for foods for increasing fertility, consider the main nutrients that support conception.
- Folic acid.As we discussed above, folic acid should be taken as a supplement when you’re trying to conceive. Scan your diet for folate-rich foods: spinach, kale and other dark leafy vegetables, oranges, nuts, whole grains, chicken, turkey, beans, etc.
- Omega-3. Research showsthat women with higher levels of omega-6, linoleic acid and omega-3 had a higher pregnancy rate. Consuming more omega-3 has also been associated with significantly better sperm morphology. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods like fish, fish oil, and flaxseed.
- Coenzyme Q10.Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that’s naturally found in the body. It’s also found in foods like oily fish, organ meats and whole grains. Some women also take it in supplement form to help with fertility. One study showed that CoQ10 improved the ovarian response in young women with poor ovarian reserve in IVF-ICSI cycles.
- Iron supplements and non-heme iron has been shown to decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility. Non-heme iron sources include fortified cereals, beans, dark chocolate, nuts and spinach.
- Vitamins C, D and E.Many women are already getting these essential vitamins through their diet of fruits, vegetables, and fatty fish. If not, they’re usually included in fertility blend supplements.
#3 Don’t Overdo Alcohol
Whether alcohol affects fertility is up for debate. Some studies show that drinking just 3 glasses of wine per week can decrease your fertility. Other research says that only heavy consumption affects conception. One study showed alcohol can reduce sperm quality and testosterone levels.
There’s research to contradict these findings though. For example, research studying women for 8 years found that alcohol was unrelated to the risk of ovulatory disorder infertility.
While you don’t need to cut out alcohol—whether for your fertility or health—it’s a good idea not to overdrink.
Read Alcohol and Conception: Should You Stop Drinking?
#4 Be Mindful of Caffeine
Whether caffeine affects fertility is inconclusive. Although old research found coffee drinkers were half as likely to get pregnant, studies are now challenging that.
Some research shows that caffeine has no effect on fertility for women or men. A Harvard review of research stated that the link now seems less solid than it once did.
While there’s no need to cut caffeine out, there’s reasons to be mindful about how much you’re consuming. Caffeine has also been linked to spontaneous abortion, so some women monitor their intake as soon as they become pregnant. Male partners may also want to cut back. Some research also suggests that caffeine can affect sperm quality.
#5 Don’t Overdo the Sugar
Most people enjoy a sweet snack and that can be part of a balanced lifestyle. Having too much sugar though, like drinking sodas all day, may be linked to decreased fertility.
A long-term study of over 18,00 women found an association between soft drinks and ovulatory disorder infertility. Since there was a similar association with caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, researchers theorized sugar content was to blame. Another study found that women who drank 3 or more soda servings per day had a 52% lower rate of pregnancy compared to those who didn’t drink soda. The association wasn’t found for caffeine, meaning sugar could be the cause. However, researchers pointed out another possibility: soda drinkers may be more likely to have unhealthy lifestyles, upping their general risk for infertility.
There’s another reason to cut down sugar in your home: it may affect male fertility too. One study showed that high sugar consumption was associated with lower semen quality and increased infertility.
Remember that the key is balance. You don’t need to cut sugar out completely. Ask yourself where you’re getting big doses of sugar in your diet. Be mindful to eat fewer of those foods.
6 Don’t Stress Over Your Diet
We’ve discussed how your diet can support your overall health and fertility—but it’s important not to stress over it. Worrying too much about your food habits can stop you from seeing the bigger health picture. Too much stress can also affect your health.
Rather than stressing about a diet for fertility, focus on your overall health. Add nutrient-packed foods for increasing fertility that you enjoy. If you don’t like eating folate-rich beans, don’t eat them. Choose another source of the nutrient, like orange juice.
A review of research found that diets high in unsaturated fats, whole grains, vegetables and fish were associated with improved fertility for both men and women. Focus the majority of your diet around these foods when possible.
Remember that while being healthy can help, many factors influence fertility. Don’t blame your infertility on your diet or shame yourself for your choices. If you suspect a problem, talk to your doctor about being tested for infertility.
#7 Foods For Increasing Libido
If improving the mood in the bedroom will lead to more babymaking, it could help you get pregnant faster. Have some fun by testing out some foods for increasing libido. For example, oysters are said to increase your sex drive. And pomegranate juice improved erectile dysfunction in one study. While there’s not much research to back up natural aphrodisiacs, it might be worth a try if you’re looking for inspiration in the bedroom!
Read: 7 Food to Increase Libido and Make a Baby
Summary: Foods for Increasing Fertility
If you’re looking for foods for increasing fertility, don’t focus on specific foods. You don’t need to stress yourself out with a diet for fertility. Instead, look at your diet as a whole. Since your overall health influences your fertility, aim for balance. Consider which key ingredients you’re already getting in your diet and add what you need more of. Make fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and fatty fish staples. To get your daily dose of folic acid, consider taking a fertility supplement alongside food sources.
P.S. Do you have prenatal vitamins ready for when you’ve successfully conceived? Zahler Mighty Mini Prenatal Vitamins are easy-to-swallow and contain the essentials for a healthy pregnancy.