Sometimes, people think of adjusting their diet to optimize fertility. When this happens, they only think of female infertility. But does food matter when it comes to the issue fertility? There are so many dietary factors that contribute to fertility. To make it easier, we’ve narrowed it down to our top 10 foods to consume to optimize fertility. To find out more about this topic, we interviewed Amanda Smith, accredited practicing dietitian from Verde Nutrition Co. to find out more about how we can tailor our nutrition plans and diet routines to be a bit better for female fertility and conception. It’s all about coming together in partnership to ensure a smooth and safe pregnancy. Keep reading for more on this topic and information from our experts below!
These Are the Top 10 Foods That Can Help to Optimize Fertility
1) Oily fish
Oily fish such as salmon, fresh tuna, mackeral and sardines contain various key nutrients for optimizing fertility such as omega-3 fatty acids, CoQ10, choline, B12, iodine and iron. Particularly of note is the omega-3 fatty acid content. Research has found Omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to length of gestation, reduce inflammation, increase blood flow to the uterus, increase cervical mucus for implantation, and reduce risk of post-natal depression.
Nuts are rich in various key nutrients for fertility including selenium, biotin (B7), zinc and antioxidants. It is recommended to include one serve (30g) of nuts per day to help optimise egg and sperm health. Aim for a variety of nuts, but one that is particularly beneficial include for fertility is brazil nuts due to their rich selenium content. Selenium is a powerful nutrient and antioxidant that has been shown to improve follicle health. One brazil nut per day provides 100% of your selenium requirements.
Seeds have similar nutrient profiles to nuts and are a good source of nutrients such as CoQ10, biotin, zinc, antioxidants and healthy fat. Seeds such as flaxseeds and chia seeds are a good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, whereas seeds such as sesame seeds are a good source of CoQ10. CoQ10 has been shown to help preserve egg quality (especially in older women trying to conceive) and help suppress age-related oxidative stress.
An easy one to remember – eggs are excellent for egg health! Eggs host a powerhouse of nutrients for fertility including choline, biotin, B12, zinc, vitamin D and iodine. They are one of the richest sources of choline, with 2 eggs providing 50% of your daily requirements. Choline plays an important role in the development of a baby’s brain and spinal cord and appears to be work with folate in prevention of neural tube defects.
Legumes are easily one of the most underutilized foods but are so beneficial for both overall health and fertility. Legumes are a potent source of prebiotic fiber (feeds our good gut bacteria), playing a beneficial role in reducing inflammation (important for fertility). They’re also a good source of CoQ10, zinc and plant-based iron. Adequate iron intake is very important pre- conception, with research showing iron deficiency can contribute to infertility. Requirements also increase significantly during pregnancy, so it’s important to go into pregnancy with optimal iron stores.
6) Whole grains
Whole grains have been associated with a higher chance of implantation through increasing the endometrial lining thickness and quality, as well as increased chance of a healthy live birth. They’re also a good source of various nutrients such as CoQ10, iron, zinc and antioxidants. Include a serve of whole grains at each meal such as wholegrain breads/cereals (also a good source of folate in Australia), rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barley and wholemeal pasta.
Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese are a good source of various key nutrients important for fertility including vitamin B12, zinc and iodine. Studies have found B12 plays a role in supporting reproductive health, with low levels being linked to infertility. Zinc has been associated with better egg and sperm quality and may play an important role in implantation. Iodine is important in the production of thyroid hormones and inadequate intake has been linked to reduced fertility.
No surprises that vegetables are important when trying to optimize fertility. They contain various nutrients and antioxidants. Green leafy vegetables are a particularly rich source of folate, which is a very important nutrient for fertility and pregnancy. Fruit and vegetables have been associated with reduced inflammation and reduced rates of miscarriage. Aim for at least 5 – 6 servings per day.
Similar to vegetables, fruit is an important food to consume to optimize fertility. They contain a host of antioxidants and nutrients and help to reduce inflammation levels. Variety is key, but fruits such as berries are a particularly rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols. Aim to include 2 – 3 servings of fruit per day.
10) Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. It features heavily in the Mediterranean diet, which has been positively associated with optimising fertility. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, particularly due to the compound oleocanthal. EVOO should be consumed as the primary oil in the diet.
Meet our Expert:
Verde Nutrition Co provides telehealth nutrition servicing, so you can access the best dietitian for you, from the comfort of your home. Having access to a dietitian who has expertise in your individual area of need should be an easy, stress free process – and not have barriers of geographic location or time stopping you from seeing the best dietitian for you. Verde’s team of online dietitians are some of the best in the country, and are available for you to see via telehealth – so you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home or office, worry about traffic or parking fines, or spend your hard earned dollars seeing someone who does not have the level of expertise you need. Visit them online to learn more about the services they offer and see if Verde is a good choice for you!