Struggling with fertility can be one of the most heart-wrenching and frustrating endeavors. Getting pregnant is not as easy as the movies make it out to be. The causes of infertility abound and often leave health care practitioners and patients with many questions. There is still so much that is unknown when it comes to reproductive health, but research is on the rise and food is taking center stage as a means to promote positive fertility outcomes. Dietitians and co-authors of Fertility Foods Cookbook Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT and Sara Haas, RDN, LDN shared 8 foods to consider adding to a fertility-focused diet to either boost chances of getting pregnant or having a healthful pregnancy.
Eight power-packed fertility foods
Very few research studies have investigated the effects of specific foods on fertility, but the broader food groups–such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, and whole grains–have been studied. Below is a list of eight nutrient-dense foods to put on your plate.
Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are rich in in color, flavor, antioxidants, and fiber. Antioxidants are key to helping combat free radicals that may disrupt reproductive health.
2. Whole fat dairy
Whole milk, whole-fat yogurt, and cheese have mounting research behind them highlighting that one to two servings of whole milk dairy can support conception. Eight ounces or one cup of creamy yogurt topped with berries sounds like a perfect afternoon snack!
While studies in this area are somewhat inconclusive, what we do know is that research does support the addition of heart healthy omega-3 rich fish into your diet at least twice a week. Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and lean proteins.
4. Fermented foods
Yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and pickles are fermented foods packed with healthy bacteria (often referred to as probiotics). Probiotics boost your immunity and improve overall gut health. Look for refrigerated sauerkraut or pickles that only contain salt and the vegetable as ingredients, the canned varieties have been heat processed, subsequently killing off the healthy bacteria.
Fertility health does expand beyond women, and sperm health can be boosted with a daily dose of 75-grams which is approximately ¾ cup. Add walnuts to yogurt, encrust your salmon with crushed walnuts, or sprinkle onto salads for some added crunch.
Packed with protein, Vitamin D, healthy fats, and choline, eggs are a super star in the nutrition game. Choline has received a lot of coverage lately highlighting its benefits throughout pregnancy. Most women fall short of the recommended amount of 450 mg each day. Whether eggs are scrambled, boiled, or baked they can make for a tasty addition to any meal.
7. Whole grains
Research indicates that both males and females can benefit from a diet rich in whole grains, from sperm health to conception. Quinoa, barley, oats, millet, amaranth, or faro can jazz up a breakfast or add some dimension to a salad.
Legumes, like black beans, lentils, and kidney beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and prebiotics. Prebiotics are the food for probiotics, which make for a healthy and happy gutFertility Foods Cookbook
Are you ready to overhaul your pantry with fertility-focused foods? Look no further than the Fertility Foods Cookbook! Shaw and Haas know first hand how important nutrition is for reproductive health and show you just how simple it can be to take control of the one area of your life that may seem so out of control during this time, your nutrition. Fertility Foods Cookbook is packed with colorful photos, simple recipes, and overflowing with fertility research.