Foods that Improve Fertility

Lynsey Keep, RN
Healthy food may help you conceive

When trying to conceive, many couples can increase their chances of conception by paying attention to pre-conception nutrition, including foods to improve fertility.

Diet and fertility

It is a well-documented fact that a person's diet while trying to conceive can have a profound effect on the chances of successful conception.

Being overweight can be a problem for many women and women who suffer conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can be in a constant battle with weight control, which is partially diet related. Although it is not mandatory to be 'slim' when trying to conceive, women who carry excess weight or are considered 'clinically obese' can increase their chances of becoming pregnant by concentrating on eating a healthy balanced diet and consuming foods that are beneficial to those trying to conceive.

It is important to be aware that there are certain foods or groups of foods that are good and bad in terms of helping and hindering conception.

Making Changes: Foods to Improve Fertility

Essentially, a balanced diet is recommended when trying to conceive while avoiding processed foods. It is not advisable to embark on fad-based diets during conception but it is essential that both members of the couple adopt healthy eating patterns that can be easily sustained for a lengthy period of time as some couples can take up to a year to conceive naturally.

General principles of a diet that includes foods to improve fertility are:

  • Go organic - fortunately, there are so many choices when it comes to eating an organic diet. Particularly when purchasing fruit and vegetables, buying organic products can allow would-be parents the peace of mind that the produce is free from pesticides and environmental pollutants, which could be detrimental to conception attempts.
  • Pack in the protein - lean meats and poultry provide a good source of iron, which is essential for pregnancy.
  • Maximize fruit and vegetables - there are no limits when it comes to consuming fruit and vegetables. Eating a variety of these sources will increase intake of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Increase zinc - zinc is found in several foods including meat, cheese, bread, and cereals. Zinc deficiency has been linked with reduced testosterone and semen levels, so men can aid their fertility with an adequate dietary intake of zinc is essential.
  • Fill out with fiber - fiber is known to help flush toxins from the body, making it essential when undertaking preconception dietary changes. Fiber has also been linked to reducing gestational diabetes.

Following dietary suggestions such as those mentioned above does not need to be complex or expensive, therefore there should be no excuses why eating food to improve fertility cannot be undertaken with ease.

Foods to Determine Gender

Despite advances in many areas of medical science, there is still no sure-fire way of guaranteeing the sex of a baby. Many people follow myths and old wives tales when trying to influence gender that often involve favoring certain sexual positions or eating certain foods, however, all of these suggestions are unfounded and chance usually always takes over.

A feature in the New York Times highlighted a recent UK report that shows researchers at the universities of Oxford and Exeter have made significant links between the sex of a baby and the mother's diet. Although a baby's gender is determined specifically by the supply of the X and Y chromosome, the report suggests that a mother's body can favor the successful development of a male or female embryo. In summary, the research highlighted that among a group of 740 first-time pregnant moms, 56 percent went on to have sons. Those women ate a high calorie diet and were more likely to have eaten a greater quantity of nutrients including calcium, potassium, and vitamins C, E, and B12. There was also the suggestion of a link between the consumption of breakfast cereals and producing boys.

Reports such as this bring our attention to the potential for influencing the sex of our offspring. However, it must be noted that data was gathered from self-reported food intake of those women who participated and therefore could be deemed unreliable.

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Foods that Improve Fertility