Food and Fertility: A Quick Guide to Reproductive Health


How Common is Infertility?

Infertility is fairly common. It affects 1 out of every 10 couples trying to conceive. Issues in fertility are traced to the man in about one-third of the cases and the woman in the other two-thirds of cases.1 The truth is that when you are in the midst of struggling with infertility, no matter what the cause or how common it is, it is still really hard to go through.  

food and fertility, Albuquerque Moms A Word of Encouragement

Before we get into specifics about what you can do to increase your fertility, let me say that all of these suggestions for changing your diet can increase your chances of conception. These changes do not guarantee that you will get pregnant. There are certainly some medical issues that are not fixed with diet alterations. Also, please don’t feel like you are a failure or like there might have been something you could have done differently if you are not able to conceive.

The emotional roller coaster of trying to conceive can be so difficult! We all have our own stories about trying to get pregnant. I remember the 1-2 week waiting period before I could take a test to see if I was pregnant. It seemed so long! When it was positive, I remember the joy and elation that came with that result. I also remember the grief and devastation a month later when I found out I had lost those babies. Fortunately, I was able to carry two pregnancies almost to full term, and I have two amazing children. However, with every miscarriage, there was the thought that I had done something wrong. Of course, I knew this wasn’t true.

I share this story to simply encourage you that sometimes you can do all the right things, and you still keep waiting and waiting for that test to be positive, or for that pregnancy to be healthy. That being said, there are some ways to improve your nutrition and your health to HELP your fertility!

Women who followed this dietary pattern had a 69% less risk of ovulation disorders!2 Some of these you may already be doing, and some of them you may need to work towards!

The dietary pattern that promotes fertility looks like this:

Eat More of These:

Monounsaturated Fats: avocado, nuts, and olive oil

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Fatty Fish 

Plant Proteins: beans, lentils, and vegetables

High Fiber, Complex Carbohydrates (slow carbs): Whole grain bread, brown or wild rice, quinoa, millet, oats, potatoes, vegetables, fruits

Whole Milk Dairy*: Whole milk yogurt, whole milk cheese

Herbs and Spices

*This is NOT a typo! Whole milk dairy products have been shown to boost fertility!

Eat Less of These:

Trans Fats: red meat, pork, fried foods

Animal Proteins: red meat, pork, dark poultry

Simple and Refined Carbohydrates: refined white flours, white bread, white rice, processed crackers, cookies, and chips, and desserts

Low-Fat Dairy: low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt

Key Nutrients for Female Fertility 3

Nutrient Dietary Reference Intake (DRI)
Choline 425mg*
Folic acid 400-800mcg
Iodine 150mcg
Vitamin B12 2.4mcg
Vitamin D 600 IU
Omega-3 fatty acids 1.1g*

*denotes Adequate Intake (AI)

Other Things to Consider in Fertility

Food and nutrition do play a large role in reproductive health, but there are some other factors as well. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can help increase your changes of conception. Regular exercise and limiting alcohol and caffeine intake can also improve your odds.

If you are trying to conceive, I hope you will consider making some changes using the above recommendations. Change is never easy, but the results are often worth far more than the sacrifice. I wish you the best in your quest to conceive!

A Fertility Boost Recipe

This recipe has loads of plant proteins, vegetables, monounsaturated fats, and high fiber carbohydrates!