Fertility boosting foods to eat more of (and some to ditch)

Harvard researchers have conducted a review of past studies focused on the impact of nutrition and diet on female fertility, finding several links.

Positive effects were linked to omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, folic acid and healthy diets (like the Mediterranean diet) in general.

Trans fats and unhealthy diets (specifically those rich in red and processed meats, potatoes, sweets, and sweetened beverages) were found to have adverse effects.

With these findings in mind, we’ve gathered a list of fertility-boosting foods for you to consider adding to your diet if you’re looking to conceive. We’ve also included a few things you might want to ditch from your diet!

 

Eat more

Good fats

Avocado is mostly made of monounsaturated fats which is “good” fat. Not only are you ticking the box for good fats, avocado also includes folate, vitamin K (maintains hormone balance) and is high in potassium (blood pressure regulating).

Olive oil is also a good source of monounsaturated fat, and as an added bonus, good quality oil tastes delicious.

Salmon is a delicious and healthy protein choice which is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. On top of this, salmon also contains DHA which is vital for foetal brain development.

Vitamin B12

Animal products like eggs, milk, cheese, meat, poultry and seafood are all excellent sources of Vitamin B12. If you’re eating plant-based, try mushrooms and B12-fortified products (like nutritional yeast).

Aside from B12, eggs also include the amino acid choline, which aids in foetal brain development. Make sure you’re not justing eating the whites, the yolk is just as important nutritionally.

Folic acid and folate

Folate is a natural form of Vitamin B6 and is found in foods. Folic acid is the synthesised version which is created and added to foods or made into supplements.

You’ll find folate in dark green leafy veggies, peas, asparagus, fruits, nuts, beans, dairy, poultry, meat and seafood. There are also many fortified products like some breakfast cereals which are high in folic acid.

Eat less

Trans fats

Trans fats have an adverse effect on our insulin production and sensitivity making them lousy for the ovaries. You’ll find trans fats in processed foods like margarine, baked goods and fried foods. Stick to eating foods rich in healthy, monounsaturated fats instead.

Refined and processed foods

Refined and processed foods are not only commonly high in trans fats but also in sugar and simple carbohydrates. Look out for sugary foods and drinks as well as processed grains like white bread, pasta and rice. Instead, look for low GI foods which are unprocessed and full of complex carbs.

Alcohol

There have been links discovered between excess and moderate alcohol consumption and issues conceiving. Aside from the alcohol, most alcoholic beverages are also high in sugar – see the previous point! Bottom line is that reducing your alcohol intake will probably have a positive effect on your chances of getting pregnant.

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