Fertility-friendly foods? You read that correctly.
It’s commonly known that intentional dietary changes can benefit couples trying to conceive. In fact, dietary and lifestyle choices can play a much bigger role in conception than we think, according to Harvard Medical School. These ovulation superfoods come highly recommended by bloggers, researchers, and fertility and women’s health specialists. Here are the 10 best foods that are beneficial for ovulation.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are verifiable superfoods when it comes to aiding ovulation. They’re an excellent source of vegetable protein, and studies show that infertility due to anovulation (the absence of ovulation) can decrease to 50% when 5% of consumed calories come from vegetable protein and not animal protein, such as red meat or poultry. Black beans specifically are full of phytoestrogen, a naturally-occurring compound which can often act as hormone replacements when plentiful in plant-based diets.
Guac, anyone? Avocados are so amazing they’re even the focus of an entire study which found that they can aid conception in a variety of infertility situations. Avocados are chock full of vitamins and also monounsaturated fats, which positively contribute to egg health and quality. They’re also full of vitamin E, which can improve the uterine lining, and folate, potassium, and vitamin K, which help our bodies absorb other valuable vitamins and nutrients.
Avocados positively contribute to egg health and quality.
Oysters, whether you love them or hate them, are commonly known to stimulate libidos, but they do much more than that. Oysters are high in zinc, a nutrient beneficial to both male and female fertility. They’re also high in selenium, iron, and vitamin B12. These nutrients are commonly included in prenatal vitamins, but zinc can also stimulate testosterone and semen production in men. Fertility isn’t just about females, after all.
My favorite thing about eggs as a fertility-minded, body-literacy-loving gal is how versatile they are. Poached, fried, scrambled...gimme all of them. Eggs are a great source of amino acids, fatty acids, and protein, and are full of vitamins and minerals, which are all essential to a flourishing reproductive system and its functions. It’s also important to note that we’re not just talking about boring old egg whites here – the yolk contains most of those valuable nutrients, so be sure to keep those next time you whip up an omelet.
Kale and spinach might not be your favorite diet additions, but they’re too important to pass up. Leafy greens contain high amounts of folate, iron, and calcium, which can improve egg quality and prevent birth defects. Folate is especially important in neural tube development during pregnancy, which is why it's vital to healthy gestation. You don’t have to buy the whole produce section at your grocery store either. Nutrition expert Jayne Williams says even a handful of greens does the trick.
Leafy greens contain high amounts of folate, iron, and calcium, which prevent birth defects.
Listen up, dads-to-be. Research shows sperm count and motility benefit from consumption of sunflower seeds, which you can get in everything from salads to trail mix. They’re also high in vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids, which can assist in cervical mucus production, an essential factor in recognizing the key signs of ovulation.
Who doesn’t love a fresh fruit salad or a berry smoothie for breakfast? Berries are high in antioxidants, which can act as anti-inflammatory agents and protect our reproductive systems from cell damage. Raspberries especially are some of the most well-known fertility superfoods, especially in raspberry leaf tea, which has an incredible list of benefits for pregnant women and for women trying to conceive, including strengthening the uterus and promoting embryonic implantation.
Fatty fish is an amazing fertility superfood, especially since it’s low in mercury (optimum for pregnant moms) and high in omega 3 fatty acids and DHA, which helps in the development of fetal eyes and brains. It has anti-inflammatory properties too. There’s even a study which suggests that couples eating more fish have more sex (and therefore more chances for conception). I love a good salmon sushi roll as much as the next person, which is the perfect option for ladies who are trying to conceive, but pregnant moms should opt for a baked fillet with roasted vegetables which is a filling and satisfying option.
One study suggests that couples who eat more fish have more sex.
Pomegranates are chock full of so many fertility-loving vitamins and minerals that it’s almost hard to keep count, but we’ll hit the high points: folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, and much more. They’re also super tasty, whether you’re eating them on your own or in a smoothie, on top of a salad, or with yogurt.
I’ll admit it: I’m not the biggest fan of sweet potatoes (years of Thanksgiving dishes topped with marshmallows might have turned me off). But after marrying them with my air fryer and more savory spices and garnishes like peppery herbs and garlic, I’ve been converted. It’s a good thing too, because sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than other starchy veggies and are full of beta-carotene, which is perfect for progesterone production, leading to happier, more balanced hormones.
As many of us on the body literacy journey know, fertility isn’t just about menstrual cycles and ovulation. Optimizing fertility is a way of life, and that often means making informed, intentional changes with regards to our exercise and diet choices. As a woman with irregular, unpredictable cycles, I’ve become obsessed with researching the best foods and ways to benefit my reproductive system, and these are all delicious, healthy options I enjoy on a weekly basis. With that said, good luck and good eating!
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