Foods that increase fertility in women!

protein | omega-3s | vitamin B12 | Coenzyme Q10 | melatonin | superfoods | iron | vitamin C | vitamin D | antioxidants | glutathione | lose weight | exercise

A healthy diet pattern can improve fertility in women. Eating certain foods can particularly help women older than 35 years. As we get older, we are exposed to environmental pollution. A healthy whole food plant-based diet is a great diet plan for increasing fertility and even reversing ovulatory infertility.

Eat beans & other plant-based sources of protein

If you want to increase fertility you should avoid animal protein. Especially eating chicken and red meat is pretty bad for fertility in women! On the contrary, eating plant-based protein sources can reverse ovulatory infertility. Women older than 32 years can benefits the most from consuming vegetables and legumes!

According to a study of Harvard School of Public Health, animal protein is bad for fertility. [1] Animal protein has linked to increased risk of ovulatory infertility.

On the other hand, consuming vegetables, legumes, or other plant-based source of protein seems beneficial. Actually, eating plant-based protein foods has linked to a substantially lower risk of ovulatory infertility! Researchers found that eating plant-based is particularly beneficial for women older than 32 years.

IGF-I hormone has been linked to infertility

But, why eating chicken or red meat is bad for fertility in women?

Scientists believe that animal protein promote high levels of IGF-I. High levels of this growth hormone in adults have been linked to many diseases, such as obesity and even cancer.[2]

Moreover, high levels of IGF-I may be involved in the development of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility in women.

Protein in cow’s milk and dairy has also been linked to high levels of IGF-I. Hence, increased cancer risk.[3] Maybe it’s time to try a plant-based type of milk.

Animal protein affects insulin levels

If you try to get pregnant, you should avoid processed foods, sugar, and foods high in carbs. Eating these foods can instantly spike your blood sugar. You should avoid this.

Animal protein has the same effect! It can spike your blood sugar and affect your glucose and insulin levels.

Eating plant-based sources of protein won’t spike your insulin, as much as animal sources. For instance, eating soybeans has a much lower insulin effect, compared to eating red meat or turkey!

Examples of plant-based protein sources

For instance, lentils, soybeans, chickpeas, peas, hemp seeds, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, broccoli, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts are high in protein! All legumes, vegetables, seeds, and nuts are good sources of protein.

A diet high in omega-3s may increase female fertility

According to a study of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health of Boston, the consumption of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids is particularly important for fertility in women. [4] Actually, omega-3s are vital for both female and male fertility.

Prefer plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They don’t contain environmental toxicants, as fish and other seafood. There are even plant-based omega-3 supplements, free from sea pollution. These supplements come from algae. Algae are grown commercially in tanks, away from the sea.

You should take omega-3 supplements. Prefer a plant-based omega-3 supplement that contains DHA and EPA. These are types of omega-3s that are naturally found in algae. As the human body can’t produce them efficiently, it’s a good for you to take them directly from food supplements.

Most people consume inadequate amounts of omega-3s, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Certainly, there are many plant-based foods high in omega-3s. But, food provides only a type of omega-3s known as ALA. ALA has to be converted to EPA and DHA. The process is quite ineffective. Hence, DHA & EPA supplementation for increased female fertility is the best solution.

Are dietary fats bad for conceiving?

Above all, avoid consumption of trans fatty acids. Trans fat intake has been linked to an increased risk of ovulatory infertility and greater insulin resistance.[5] Trans fats are present in highly processed foods and animal products. Moreover, animal products are pretty high in saturated fats. Saturated fat intake has been linked to male infertility!

Therefore, better avoid highly processed foods altogether. Most of them are high in trans fats. Avoiding this type of fat is good for female fertility and overall health.

What food contain trans fat, though?

Trans fat is also called partially hydrogenated oil. Almost every processed food contains trans fat. For instance, baked products, cakes, doughnuts, cookies, potato chips, pies, or French fries are foods high in trans fat. Avoid them altogether!

Women need vitamin B12 for increased fertility

It seems that adequate amounts of vitamin B12 are necessary for female fertility. Women with low levels of vitamin B12 may deal with ovulation changes. Moreover, low levels of vitamin B12 may interfere with the development of the ovum. More about the importance of vitamin B12 to female fertility here.

Also, women of reproductive age should get high doses of folic acid every day. Before even get pregnant.

Eating foods rich in Coenzyme Q10 may help you conceive

Another key factor for increased fertility in women is adequate Coenzyme Q10 dietary intakes. CoQ10 seems to be beneficial for women with poor ovarian response (POR). Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that may improve ovarian response. CoQ10 is also vital for older women, as it fights certain parameters that cause infertility.[6,7]

Can I get Coenzyme Q10 from food?

Whole grains, nuts, and vegetable oils are great plant-based sources of CoQ10. Moreover, consuming lots of foods high in chlorophyll, along with sun exposure, helps us maintain high levels of CoQ10.[8]

Although, too much CoQ10 is rather unlikely to cause any side effects, you should consult your physician before taking CoQ10 supplements.

Foods containing melatonin may promote female fertility

Another way to increase fertility in women is to eat lots of foods high in melatonin. Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone. Above all, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant. Melatonin intake may fight oxidative stress in the body, improve oocyte quality, and even enhance IVF success rates. Daily dose of 3 mg seems beneficial.[8]

Pistachios are the richest food in melatonin. They contain about 23 mcg of melatonin per 100g. Additionally, walnuts, almonds, cherries, strawberries, bananas and grapes are great dietary sources of melatonin. See the whole list of melatonin containing foods here.

Melatonin is important for our health. It’s an antioxidant that may boost the immune system, protect the cardiovascular system, and help against obesity. Melatonin has even anticancer activity!

Follow a diet that promotes glutathione production

Glutathione may be the most important antioxidant in the human body. Not only glutathione is a powerful antioxidant, but also it can maintain other antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and vitamin E. Antioxidants fight free radicals and protect us from oxidative stress.

But, why is glutathione particularly important for female fertility?

Glutathione can reduce oxidative stress, fight the formation of dangerous free radicals in the reproductive system, and protect egg quality. Also, oocytes with high levels of glutathione produce healthier and stronger embryos. The body reproduces glutathione naturally, but pollution, toxins, age, medication or stress can deplete it.[9]

So, what food should we eat to help the body reproduce this important antioxidant?

Above all, eating lots of foods high in sulfur is particularly important for the body to produce glutathione. Sulfur, after calcium and phosphorus, is the most abundant mineral element found in the human body. The best plant-based dietary sources of sulfur are garlic, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, kale, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers, lettuce, radish, rice, and broccoli.[10]

Furthermore, vitamin C and vitamin E can help the body to produce glutathione. Vitamin C and E are also powerful antioxidants themselves. They’re particularly important for increased fertility in women.

Last, but not least, moderate exercise is also beneficial for the production of glutathione.

A fertility diet has to be high in vitamin C & other antioxidants

Eating foods high in antioxidants is particularly beneficial for increasing fertility in women. Studies have shown that dietary intake of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene can increase female fertility. Women older than 35 years or overweight women may benefit for eating foods high in these antioxidants, as well.[11]

You can boost vitamin C intake by eating plants. Orange juice isn’t the only good source of vitamin C, though. Lemons, kiwis, strawberries, peppers, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are only a few of the foods high in vitamin C. Many other greens, fruits and herbs are rich in vitamin C, as well. See the whole list here.

Moreover, many foods are high in vitamin E. For instance, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, spinach, broccoli and kiwi are good sources of vitamin E.[12]

Another way to boost your antioxidant intake is to eat lots of foods rich in carotenoids. Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants. They’re known for protecting the skin and eye health. Moringa powder, carrots, dandelion greens, Swiss chard, carrots and turnip greens are only few of the foods high in beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These are the most well-known carotenoids. See the whole list of the richest foods in carotenoids here.

Furthermore, consuming moringa powder is so good for you. It’s the richest source of chlorophyll and beta-carotene! Hence, moringa powder is beneficial for good eyesight. Also, it’s pretty high in protein. It can help you lose weight but maintain lean mass.

Eat plant-based sources of iron

Studies have shown that iron intake may decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility. Most noteworthy, only nonheme iron seems to be beneficial. That’s the type of iron coming from plants! Heme iron, the iron from animals, didn’t decrease the risk of ovulatory infertility.[13]

So, what are the best plant-based sources of iron?

Beans and legumes are excellent sources of nonheme iron. Additionally, spinach, broccoli, apricots, goji berries, raisins, potatoes, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and many more contain high amounts of nonheme iron. See a list of iron-rich foods here.

Try to eat foods high in iron along with foods high in vitamin C. Vitamin C enhances iron absorption! For instance, eat a big salad of beans (iron) and broccoli (vitamin C). Add some fresh lemon juice (vitamin C) and seeds (iron). Be creative! There are countless combination and recipes to experiment.

Are there fertility superfoods?

Only a healthy, well-balanced plant-based diet seems to be beneficial for increasing female fertility. There aren’t magical fertility-promoting superfoods!

Why is pineapple the symbol of fertility?

Pineapples have become a symbol for women struggling with infertility. Certainly, pineapple can’t magically help women to conceive. According to the NY Times, pineapple represents hope and connects women who going through IVF.[14]

On the other hand, pineapple is great food to eat, if you want to get pregnant! It’s a good source of vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Above all, pineapple is the only food in the world that contains a unique enzyme, called bromelain. Bromelain has powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It may boost the immune system and fight chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation may:[15]

  • lead to anatomic disorders primarily, as a result of infectious disease,
  • suppress ovulation,
  • affect hormone production,
  • be associated with endometriosis

Moreover, athletes consume pineapples to fight tissue inflammation and promote muscle recovery.

Why have pomegranates been linked to female fertility?

It seems that pomegranates are a symbol of fertility, due to their many seeds. Although pomegranates aren’t magical food for getting pregnant, eating pomegranates can help you, as a part of a healthy diet! Above all, pomegranates are high in antioxidants. Eating pomegranates may be good, especially for men. They may improve sperm quality![16]

Certainly, drinking pomegranate juice regularly is good for you. Pomegranates have so many healthy benefits. For instance, drinking pomegranate juice is particularly beneficial for the skin!

Other ways to increase fertility besides diet

The first step to get pregnant is to follow a healthy, well-balanced plant-based diet. What else could you do to increase the chances of conception?

Lose weight may help you conceive

Maintaining an ideal weight is pretty beneficial for conceiving.

On the other hand, overweight or obese women may suffer from:[17]

  • menstrual dysfunction
  • anovulation
  • including delayed conceptions,
  • increased miscarriage rate,
  • reduced outcomes in assisted conception treatments.
  • and infertility. 

Luckily, losing weight can help obese women to restore menstrual cyclicity and ovulation. Thus, losing weight improves the chances of conception.

Get vitamin D from the sunlight!

According to a recent study, vitamin D seems to be beneficial to female infertility.[18]

Only a few foods are good sources of vitamin D, though. The sunlight is the best source of vitamin D! The human body produces vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sunlight. On the other hand, you could take vitamin D supplements. It’s the easiest way to boost the daily vitamin D intake.

Moderate exercise may increase fertility in women

Last, but not least, moderate exercise can help you get pregnant. Moderate exercise may treat anovulatory infertility. Anovulation accounts for around 30% of female infertility.[19]

Obese women who started working out had lower insulin and free androgen levels.

Keep in mind that hard workouts aren’t good for you, if you want to increase your chances of conceiving. Also, an ideal body weight is preferred. Underweight women may struggle with decreased fertility too.

So, can a healthy diet help you conceive?

Diet changes may prevent and even reverse ovulatory infertility. That’s around 1/4 of all infertility cases. No diet will reverse any other type of infertility.

Above all, consult your physician. Certainly, diet changes could be the first easy step towards motherhood. But, no diet can replace your doctor!