"Rather than stressing over the “no lists,” focus on the “yes lists” of your most fertile foods for a positive, and delicious pregnancy plan."
By staff writer, Marissa Cohen
Planning to get pregnant? Whether you are ready to be a mom in the next nine months or the next nine years of if motherhood isn't the path for you, there are certain dietary changes you can implement to help boost fertility. A fertile body is a sign of a healthy body, so even if you never plan to have kids, incorporating the following foods may be beneficial.
What are fertile foods?
Fertile foods provide your body with a whole host of necessary nutrients to keep your systems functioning in tip-top shape. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the digestive system is the root of blood production, or qi, for conception. By eliminating top allergens like gluten, dairy, and soy, and focusing on whole, unprocessed foods, we can optimize our gut health to prepare our body for pregnancy now…or in the far future.
Top 10 Fertile Foods:
Why we love them: Eggs are a bundle of goodness packed in a shell. They contain protein and healthy fats, which are the building blocks of healthy hormones.
How we love them: Try scrambling them, boiling them to take along as snacks, or whipping up a frittata or omelet on those mornings where you have a little extra time.
Why we love them: Avocados are packed full of fiber, antioxidants, folate, potassium, and vitamin A, and are a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids. Studies show that the nutrients in avocados have “all been linked to improvements in maternal health, birth outcomes and/or breast milk quality.”
How we love them: Spread them on toast, add them to salads, mash them up and enjoy with chopped veggies as a pre-dinner snack, go for the guac, and even try blending them into your smoothies for a rich and creamy texture.
- Brazil Nuts
Why we love them: Just one ounce of Brazil nuts contains 774% of the recommended daily value of selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral that many of us struggle to get enough of in our diets. Yet, it is crucial for thyroid function, immunity, and acts as an antioxidant, and it helps help fertility by boosting blood flow in women and increasing sperm mobility in males.
How we love them: Enjoy them on their own as a convenient snack, chop and sprinkle them on oatmeal, or add them to homemade granola for fruit and yogurt parfaits in the morning.
Why we love them: Beans are a humble pantry staple. They are rich in plant-based protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals including zinc and biotin. For those who show signs of estrogen deficiency, which includes low body weight, missing periods, depression, and dry skin, chickpeas in particular may be a great addition to your diet. According to Alissa Vitti of Flo Living, chickpeas are “high in natural estrogen, which can help create hormonal balance for optimal fertility.”
How we love them: Dollop on the hummus, make healthy versions of Mexican favorite like tacos or burrito bowls, use them in soups and curries, and try using a good quality lentil or chickpea based pasta for a simple 15-minute dinner.
Why we love it: Broccoli is a member of the brassica vegetable family and contains chlorophyll, which gives it its rich, green color, making it a superfood for detoxification. As a rich source of fiber, it aids in elimination, which flushes the body of toxins and excess estrogen. Estrogen dominance is associated with many condition like endometriosis, PCOS, and ovarian cysts that cause fertility issues in women.
How we love it: Simply steam it as a side dish, roast it up with some olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes for a kick, add it to stir fries, or pulse it through a food processor and use as a rice substitute.
Why we love it: Quinoa definitely had its shining moment a few years back, but for good reason. Like beans, they are an excellent source of plant-based protein. While good quality animal products are also fertile foods, variety is key! Research revealed that replacing 5% of intake from animal protein with vegetable protein resulted in a 50% reduced risk of infertility due to ovulation disorders. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it considered a complete protein. It is also a gluten-free whole grain, making it suitable for those with allergens or intolerances.
How we love it: As the base of a nourish bowl, paired with raw or roasted vegetables, as a side along with some baked salmon or chicken, or paired with some berries and almond milk as an oatmeal alternative.
- Wild Caught Salmon
Why we love it: Salmon is overflowing with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and vitamin D. In fact, just three ounces of salmon provides 97% of the daily recommended value for vitamin D. Additionally, it is lower in mercury that other fish like swordfish and tuna, making it a safer seafood option.
How we love it: Broiled with the skin on until crispy with a side of creamy mashed sweet potatoes and a crunch salad in the evening or layered smoked salmon on whole grain toast with avocado in the morning.
- Citrus Fruits
Why we love them: Many women report strong cravings for citrus fruits during pregnancy. It is likely that their bodies are calling out for vitamin C and ascorbic acids found in these fruits. A study published in Fertility and Sterility showed that vitamin C improves hormone levels and increases fertility. Furthermore, ascorbic acid balances hormones by regulating the menstrual cycle and ovarian function.
How we love them: Add juicy grapefruits to salads with creamy avocado slices, snack on oranges, and squeeze lemon or limes into your water for a refreshing boost.
- Figs and Dates
Why we love them: Just like we love dark leafy greens, we love dark colored fruits. The darker the fruit or vegetable, the more nutrient rich it is. In particular, figs and dates contain a considerable amount of iron which is necessary for proper blood flow and healthy eggs. From a historical perspective, Ancient Greeks believed that figs increased fertility. Now, there is science to back this claim up.
How we love them: When that afternoon sweet tooth hits, reach for a handful of figs or dates. For optimum blood sugar balance, pair with a healthy fat like coconut flakes, seeds, nuts, or yogurt. You can add dates and nut butter to a food processor to make homemade energy bites and bars for on-the-go snacks.
- Maca Powder
Why we love it: Maca helps balance hormones by supporting the endocrine system and it acts as a natural aphrodisiac that increases sex drive. And while most energy enhancers like caffeine deplete the adrenal glands, maca supports the adrenals and stabilizes your blood sugar to give long-lasting stamina. Not to mention that it contains a host of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for reproduction, including calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and iron.
How we love it: Maca has a rich, malty taste that resembles caramel. For a decadent smoothie that tastes like a milkshake, blend up 1-2 teaspoons with a frozen banana, almond or coconut milk, some raw cacao powder, and an optional date for a little extra sweetness.
While it can be easy to become concerned with that you should eliminate from your diet when trying to conceive, it is clear that there is an abundance of nutrients we should aim to get each day! Rather than stressing over the “no lists,” focus on the above “yes lists” of your most fertile foods for a positive, and delicious pregnancy plan.