If wishing made it so, there would be a special meal you could eat to guarantee a pregnancy. Alas, upwards of 15% of couples struggle with infertility. While there may not be a magic diet to help you start a family, a few diet dos and don’ts can impact your chances.
Here, Dr. Joseph Roofeh and our team highlight a few diet and wellness tips to keep in mind if you’re looking for a natural way to boost your fertility.
Antioxidants like folate and zinc can positively affect both male and female fertility. They deactivate free radicals in your body, which threaten both sperm and egg cells. You can find antioxidants in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains, which contain high levels of vitamins C and E, folate, beta-carotene, and lutein.
There’s no way a diet with fat can be healthy, right? Wrong. As long as you’re eating the right type of fat. Trans fats (found in hydrogenated oils, fried foods, and baked goods) are associated with an increased risk of ovulatory infertility and have also been found to impact male fertility.
Instead, choose high-fat dairy foods, such as whole milk or full-fat yogurt, and other “good fats” found in avocados, cheese, whole eggs, and even dark chocolate.
We recommend you cut back (not cut out) on carbs if you want to support fertility with your diet. Refined carbs in sugary foods and drinks and processed grains in white pasta, bread, and rice trigger a chemical reaction in your body that can ultimately affect your chances of getting pregnant.
Your body processes and absorbs these carbs very quickly, which causes a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels. Insulin is chemically similar to ovarian hormones, which help your eggs mature. If you have consistently high insulin levels, it tricks your body into releasing fewer reproductive hormones because it thinks it has enough.
The result is a lack of egg maturation and ovulation.
Being choosy with your carbs is especially important if you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is associated with higher-than-normal insulin levels.
Fiber is your ally if excess blood sugar and insulin are the enemy of fertility. Fiber does an excellent job of keeping your blood sugar levels in check. It also rids your body of excess estrogen, which can hinder fertility.
Aim to get around 25 grams of soluble fiber daily by eating plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
Meat and eggs are some of the best places to get your daily protein intake, but we recommend throwing in protein from a few different sources.
One study found that when 5% of your total calories come from vegetable protein, you could see a 50% bump in fertility. Eating more fish may also increase your chances of carrying a baby full-term if you’ve had infertility treatment.
A daily multivitamin is crucial to your fertility and future pregnancy. Look for a multivitamin that contains folate, and consider adding an iron supplement if necessary.
Talk to Dr. Roofeh about the best supplements and vitamins to take if you’re having trouble deciding.
The jury’s still out on exactly how caffeine affects fertility (if it does at all), but it doesn’t hurt to cut back to a cup or two a day if you’re worried about not being able to get pregnant.
If you absolutely must have an energy boost, try non-coffee swaps like chicory coffee, matcha tea, golden milk, lemon water, chai tea, kombucha, and apple cider vinegar.
Speaking of beverages to avoid, we also recommend you avoid excessive alcohol when you’re trying to get pregnant. As with caffeine, it’s not entirely clear how alcohol impacts your chances of getting pregnant, but we say anything that can potentially harm your body shouldn’t be a part of your fertility diet.
In addition to a stellar diet, you should prioritize other areas of your health and wellness. Regular exercise, lower stress levels, and a healthy weight all prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy.
You’ve made all the right changes to your diet and lifestyle, and you’re still not pregnant. If it’s been a year and you haven’t seen those two blue lines, it’s time to call in the professionals.
Dr. Roofeh takes a compassionate approach to your infertility struggles and backs his infertility treatment plans with his years of experience and comprehensive services. Depending on what’s causing your fertility issues, we may recommend:
Battling infertility takes a toll on you and your partner, but you can significantly improve your chances with Dr. Roofeh on your team and a healthy lifestyle. Call or click to schedule an infertility consultation today.