Foods for Fertility

Improve your odds of fruitfulness with this tasty prescription. Find out how key nutrients in your food can make the conditions in your body ripe for conception.

Foods for Fertility

Oranges, Peppers, and Broccoli

A study of 150 infertile women showed that supplementation with vitamin C boosted fertility. After six months, the fertility rate in the Vitamin C group was 25 per cent compared to only 11 per cent in the placebo group. Progesterone levels were also significantly increased in the treatment group.

Aim for: Women needs 75 mg/day and men should have 90 mg/day. Foods with highest sources of vitamin C include green peppers, citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, turnip greens and other leafy greens.

Beans and Spinach

These two foods are high in folate. Women are encouraged to take a folic acid supplement when they’re trying to conceive because doing so helps prevent birth defects. Men need folic acid to increase sperm count and density. Eating foods rich in folate (the natural form of folic acid) can help meet those needs. 

Aim for: one cup of cooked lentils, plus one cup of cooked spinach per day.

Infamous Fatty Acids

The body uses omega-3 fatty acids to produce hormones which increase blood flow to the uterus, thus boosting the chances of pregnancy and facilitating fetal development. Omega-3s can also lower the risk of premature birth and low birth weight.

Aim for: one serving of salmon, ¼ cup of walnuts, or 2 tbsp of flaxseed.

Lean Red Meat, Oysters, and Crab

These foods are high in zinc. Low zinc levels translate into lowered sperm counts, less sperm movement towards the cervical goal, less semen, and even infertility. A zinc deficiency can affect a woman’s fertility by lengthening her menstrual cycle, which means less frequent ovulation.

Aim for: Women needs 8 milligrams, and men should consume 11 milligrams a day. A 100 gram serving of lean cooked beef has 8.6 mg of zinc.

Milk, Cheese, and Yogourt

Foods that high in calcium and Vitamin D are essential. At the University of Wisconsin, treatment with calcium and Vitamin D restored fertility in male rats. Other research shows that calcium levels increase in sperm during the last few seconds before fertilization, providing the burst of energy needed to penetrate the egg. And for women, a Columbia University study found that in those with polycystic ovary syndrome, which interferes with ovulation, calcium and vitamin D helped restore normal menstruation.

Aim for: three to four servings a day.

(Photo: Yuri_Arcurs/istockphoto)

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