5 Nutrient-Dense Fertility Foods to Add to Your Diet
1. Avocado: A 2012 study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health shows a diet high in avocado and foods high in monounsaturated fats may triple the chance of success with IVF treatments. Monounsaturated fats in avocado reduce inflammation for an optimum environment for conception.
Avocados are a rich source of plant sterols that block excess estrogen from xenoestrogens (estrogen mimics in the environment) and too much circulating endogenous estrogen (naturally produced estrogen in the body). By balancing estrogen, avocados support the body’s natural ability to produce progesterone, critical for ovulation and healthy pregnancy. I love avocado in salads, guacamole or on soft tacos.
2. Wild salmon: Omega 3 oils in wild salmon boost fertility by regulating prostaglandins (body chemicals involved in hormone production). In addition, omega 3 oils increase blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Wild King and Sockeye salmon are your best choice for high Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Farmed salmon have much lower levels, due to their diets of GMO corn and soy. The essential fats in wild salmon can be especially nourishing for women with low cervical mucus or who suffer from vaginal dryness. Wild salmon is also a good source of iron supportive of healthy endometrial lining thickness, which is important for embryo implantation.
3. Yams: In this discussion, I’m referring to sweet potato yams, not the fertility herb, Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa).
Yams are rich in antioxidants like vitamins A and C, which prevent free radical damage to sperm and eggs. There is some data that finds West African populations who eat a lot of sweet cassava yams have a higher twin rate, but this remains to be proven. Further, yams are full of fiber to help regulate blood sugar for women with PCOS. Yams are much healthier than white potatoes, too. Just bake as usual and add your favorite seasonings.
4. Berries: Raspberry, blueberry and blackberry are all stars for fertility. They are extremely high sources of antioxidants for egg and sperm health. This is especially important for older men and women who want to conceive.
Goji berries (Lycium barbarum, L. chinensis), in particular, show fertility benefits. Chinese animal research finds antioxidants in goji berry increase sperm health and motility.
Further, berries have sugar regulating activity, which may help women with PCOS. Conventionally grown berries are heavily sprayed with pesticides, and their thin skin allows more chemicals to penetrate the fruit.
5. Organic seaweed: Seaweeds are some of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet. They are high in vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B6 and B12, critical for immune response and fertility. Algin in seaweed can protect the body from toxins that can affect fertility, including heavy metals and radiation. Algin binds to toxins in the GI tract, so they pass through the body unabsorbed.
Seaweed is a premier source of iodine that can help women with thyroid issues, which can be a problem for both pregnancy and fertility. There are many ways to cook with seaweed. I like seaweed in soups, veggie sushi or sprinkled on healthy casseroles.