Weight for Your Fertility
Five Common Foods That May Help You Conceive
You may have heard that pomegranate juice can boost fertility by stimulating the uterus and improving sperm quality. Or that pineapple core can help with retrieval and transfer in an IVF cycle. In this blog we’ll look at five common foods that may help you conceive, and separate the myths and facts about each, to help you write a fertility foods shopping list for your next trip to the grocery store.
Pomegranates contain high levels of antioxidants.
Our bodies naturally produce free radicals, and an excess of free radicals is known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress, which is shown to negatively impact fertility in women and men, can be brought on by many factors, including stress, toxins, excess sugar and PCOS.
Antioxidants counter the effects of oxidative stress, including protecting eggs. A diet that is rich in antioxidants has been shown to boost fertility and outcomes with fertility treatment. Women with unexplained infertility and PCOS may benefit from a diet rich in antioxidants because antioxidants in the ovarian follicles of these women are often diminished.
One small study indicated that antioxidant properties in pomegranate improved sperm quality, as well. Other foods that are good sources of antioxidants are: blackberries, blueberries, goji berries, artichokes and walnuts.
Pineapple contains bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties. The pineapple core has the most concentrated amounts. It’s said that pineapple can improve implantation by increasing blood flow to the uterus and reducing inflammation, but that hasn’t been backed by studies. We do know, however, that inflammation is linked to many conditions that can negatively affect fertility, such as PCOS and endometriosis.
In addition to pineapple, foods that can reduce inflammation include wild fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon; garlic; ginger; turmeric; fermented foods; and fruits and vegetables, specifically dark leafy greens.
Brazil nuts and walnuts are often singled out for their beneficial effects on fertility. Brazil nuts are high in the antioxidant selenium. Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and high in magnesium.
We’re clear on the benefits of antioxidants on fertility, and two small studies linked recurrent early pregnancy loss to low selenium. Studies have also shown positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids on fertility, including increased pregnancy and live birth with fertility treatment.
In addition to walnuts, foods high in omega-3s include wild, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines; and chia and flax seeds.
Choosing full fat over low-fat or fat-free can improve fertility in women with ovulatory infertility, according to one large study. If you do eat dairy, choosing organic, pasture raised products can keep harmful toxins and antibiotics out of your diet.
A couple of things to keep in mind related to dairy. One, it can be inflammatory. And two, 60% of people are lactose intolerant and suffer digestive issues when they consume dairy products. Pay attention to how your body feels after you consume dairy to determine if it’s right for your diet.
Citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, oranges and lemons are excellent sources of vitamin C and are high in folic acid.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant; as we’ve noted earlier, antioxidants can protect eggs from damage due to oxidative stress. According to one study increased vitamin C also improves fertility in women with luteal phase defect.
Folic acid improves blood flow and has been shown to prevent fetal abnormalities. (Folic acid is recommended in supplement form when you are trying to conceive.) Other foods that are high in vitamin C include peppers, strawberries, broccoli and brussel sprouts.
Please note: Certain medications such as statins and blood thinners may cross-react with pomegranate and pineapple. Speak with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
If you have more questions on these five common foods that may increase help you conceive or your fertility, please contact us to schedule your free initial consultation. We thank Jennifer Redmond, a certified integrative nutrition health coach, for writing this blog to help patients have more resources on nutrition.
Jennifer Redmond is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who has worked in the infertility field for more than 15 years. In her Empowered Fertility program, Jennifer takes a 360-degree view of her clients’ wellness and helps them implement dietary and lifestyle changes to boost fertility and feel deeply supported in the process.
Download her free guide, 3 Dietary Changes to Boost Fertility.