If you or your partner is overweight, it can negatively impact your chances of getting pregnant. More specifically, red meat, foods that are high in trans fats, soft drinks, and low-fat dairy have all been tied to infertility problems.
But what about foods that can help improve your fertility? Good news – there are many!
Are you dealing with fertility issues? These can be caused by an excess of estrogen in your body. Broccoli, bok-choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and other cruciferous veggies contain DIM (diindolylmethane) which helps to control estrogen.
It’s time to plan a nice salmon dinner for two! A 2012 study published in Human Reproduction found that men who consume more omega-3 fatty acids (which are found in high amounts in fish) have sperm that are healthier than those who consume less. Omega-3 has also been tied to fertility in women, helping with regulation and promoting healthy fetal development. But be sure to avoid fish that are high in mercury, such as king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, and shark.
Beans and Nuts
You don’t have to go vegetarian, but getting more of your protein from vegetable sources like beans and nuts instead of animals can make a big difference. When just 5% of total calories come from vegetable sources, risk of ovulatory infertility may drop by over 50% -- a pretty big boost for a small change to your diet. It’s likely because these nutrient-dense foods are high in fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals required for reproductive functions. They also help to maintain stable healthy blood sugar and insulin levels and are good for circulation. This makes it easier for your body to transport nutrients to your reproductive organs, improving egg or sperm quality.
Whole Milk Products
Here’s something you might be happy to hear: ditch those low-fat dairy products! It doesn’t mean that you should head for the ice cream aisle, but you should opt for whole milk instead of skim and look for the full-fat varieties of cheeses and yogurt. One way to help is to drink a glass of whole milk every morning.
This may be the easiest change to make to your diet. After all, it’s free and has no calories! Good old H20 can make a big difference for both male and female fertility. If you are dehydrated, your cervical fluid, which helps to guide the sperm to the egg, can slow down. The same is true for a man’s ejaculate fluid. Keep a water bottle by your side throughout the day, and avoid empty calorie drinks like soda.
It may sound a little gross, but a good way to tell if you’re getting enough water is to pay attention to the color of your urine. It should be a light yellow color.
You can never be sure if you're getting all the nutrients you need and it is important to be fully stocked for your little one. Prenatal vitamins are a great source of all the building blocks for your baby and can help your fertility chances.
Overall, one of the best things you can do for your chances of getting pregnant (and the future health of your child!) is to eat a well-balanced diet. It’s one of the few factors you can control. Always consult your doctor before making any major changes to your eating habits.
Juliana Weiss-Roessler runs Weiss-Roessler Writing with her husband Josh. Together, they offer press releases, blogging, website copy, and other writing services to small and mid-sized businesses. Her writing has been featured on high-traffic websites, such as Yahoo.com, and in major publications, such as PARADE and People. Along with her husband, Juliana lives in Austin, TX, with their two tiny-but-rambunctious dogs and one tiny-but-rambunctious baby boy. Learn more on WeissRoessler.com, or follow her on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.