If you're ready to have a baby and have started the pre-pregnancy planning process, chances are you're looking for all the tips you can get when it comes to boosting your chances of conception. From figuring out the best days to get pregnant, to learning the most helpful vitamin supplements that will provide all the nutrients you need, getting pregnant involves more that just sex! Aside from getting down to business in the bedroom, consider altering your diet to include more fertility-boosting foods. Here are the top 10.
One study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who got a lot of protein from plants were more likely to conceive than women who got most of their protein from animal products. Beans are high in protein and are very versatile, so it's easy to incorporate them into many dishes. Try spreading hummus on a sandwich instead of mayo, or throw some kidney beans into a salad.
Nothing's easier than grabbing a banana on your way out the door in the morning, and there's good reason why you should! Bananas are full of vitamin B6, which helps regulate hormone production – something that's very important when you're trying to conceive. Not getting enough vitamin B6 could lead to irregular periods and poor egg or sperm development, so make sure your man's eating his bananas, too!
Omega-3 fatty acids help contribute to fertility, and fish is one of the best sources. To get as much as possible, eat two servings of cold-water fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines or herring each week. If you're not a big fan of fish, try fish oil supplements to get the omega-3s you need.
These veggies are rich in folic acid, which your body needs to conceive. Studies have shown that folic acid can reduce the risk of ovulatory failure, which is why many health care providers recommend taking folic acid supplements while trying to conceive.
5. Ice cream
Believe it or not, ice cream can have beneficial effects on conception. Studies have shown that one or two servings of whole milk or whole milk products like ice cream can protect against ovulatory infertility. Skim milk and low-fat milk have the opposite effect. Switch out a low-fat milk serving for a full-fat serving once a day to reap the benefits, and don't feel guilty about dessert if you make room for it in your daily calorie count!
Full of vitamin D, eggs are a good choice to ensure that you're getting the proper levels. One study by Yale University found that 93 percent of a sample of infertile women had low or deficient vitamin D levels, so it doesn't hurt to stock up.
7. Leafy greens
Greens like spinach, romaine, broccoli, kale and arugula are rich in folate, a B vitamin that's been shown to potentially improve ovulation. Have your guy eat his greens too, since folate helps ensure he's making healthy sperm.
Almonds and other nuts are rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E deficiencies have been linked to infertility in female rats, and other studies have found that the vitamin can help improve the health of sperm. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that helps protect the DNA of your eggs.
9. Whole grains
Whole grains like wheat pasta or whole-grain bread have complex carbohydrates, which take longer for your body to digest than simple carbs. This helps keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable, which can help boost fertility. Studies have found that high blood sugar can disrupt reproductive hormones and make it more difficult to get pregnant.
10. Olive oil
Full of healthy fats, olive oil is a great choice to cook with. It helps decrease inflammation throughout the body, and inflammation has been shown to interfere with ovulation, conception and early embryo development. Use it in place of butter or as a dressing with vinegar on salads.