If you are thinking of becoming a parent, you may want to think about what is superfoods for fertility. Of course, foods will not make a baby, however, they can ensure a quick and healthy pregnancy.
Infertility (difficulty in getting pregnant after 12 months of trying) has been a global issue for the last few decades.
According to the world health organization, one in four couples in developing countries were struggling to make a baby in 2012. In the United States, 12% of women aged 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant.
Interestingly, multiple research studies suggest that certain foods contain specific nutrients which significantly increase the rates of fertility both in male and female.
After finishing this article, you will learn all you need to know about superfoods for fertility and why these foods matter.
What is superfoods for fertility?
Superfoods for fertility are super diets that are rich in micro and macronutrients, which dramatically increase the possibility of getting conceive.
For example, foods loaded with folic acid such as green leafy vegetables, legumes, asparagus, etc. significantly improve women’s hormonal condition and enhance pregnancy.
Furthermore, seafood and fish are excellent sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for both male and female fertility.
In general, superfoods for fertility is a healthy dietary habit for both men and women that boost fertility.
They contain specific nutrients that are essential for male and female reproductive function.
Moreover, these superfoods not only boost fertility but also ensure a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Therefore, an expecting couple should focus on healthy diets to optimize the chances of getting pregnant as soon as possible.
Factors that affect fertility
Every aspect of our life influence fertility. To clarify, let’s have a look at some important causes that impair reproduction.
Age: It is the most significant determinant of fertility for both sexes. Increasing age is related to a decreasing rate of reproduction.
One statistic from 2013 in Australia and New Zealand shows that the highest rate of live birth was from women who were in their mid-20s and early 30s.
However, the semen quality and quantity also decline with ages for males as well. Increasing age also raises genetic defects on the offsprings.
Quality of life: Mental and physical stress is one of the major risk factors for infertility. Stressful conditions affect negatively both sexes.
While men lose testosterone, women, on the other hand, lose the frequency of ovulation.
Even excessive physical exercise can harm fertility, especially for females.
Lifestyles: Unhealthy eating habits, smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking excessive caffeine are directly associated with infertility in men and women.
If both of a partner are smokers, the chance of the female getting pregnant is one fifth regarding the partners who do not smoke.
Therefore, a healthy lifestyle is mandatory for the couple wanting a baby.
Food and nutrition: It is one of the critical factors of reproductive function for both sexes.
Uncontrolled eating habits, along with a lack of physical activity, are mainly responsible for the spread of hypertension and diabetes. It has severe impacts on general health, including reproductive health.
There is clear evidence that incorrect nutritional behavior decreases sperm quality.
For instance, studies suggest that a high-fat diet impairs the molecular and physical structure of sperm, thus affecting reproduction.
In contrary to that, taking more fruits and vegetables, legumes and fish improve fertility.
Environments: Air and sound pollution have harmful effects on human fertility. Toxic chemicals disrupt female endocrine function. Which, in turn, mess with ovulation.
Moreover, extreme temperature hampers semen production and viability.
Physiological condition: The ability to conceive significantly depends on male and female physiological conditions.
The body’s endocrine function and organ condition determine whether one is going to become a parent or not.
The menstrual cycle and production and release of eggs entirely depend on how the reproductive hormones, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus are functioning.
In addition to that, obesity, genetics, and several systemic diseases also affect reproductive health.
The factors that influence fertility are vast. On top of that, the fertility rate is rapidly declining worldwide, especially in developed countries. Therefore, we should try our best to lessen the impacts of those factors, starting with superfoods for fertility.
Why superfoods for fertility matter?
Among all the factors that affect fertility, ‘food and nutrition’ is where an individual can easily intervene.
Several unhealthy foods we take every day are rich in calories and related to obesity and diabetes. These conditions have an association with low sperm quality and disruption in ovulation.
Furthermore, processed beverage, Trans, and saturated fats cause testicular disruption in men resulting in impairments of semen production.
In opposed to that, certain fruits and vegetables, legumes, and sea creatures carry components that could improve the male and female reproductive conditions.
These foods are loaded with folate, vitamin B, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acid, and other phytochemicals. Those nutrients maintain normal reproductive physiology and ensure fertility.
For example, folate or folic acid has been consistently related to female fertility as well as the development of the fetus.
Therefore, although the factors that affect fertility are widespread, nutritional intervention can minimize those influential impacts.
Furthermore, to reduce the financial burden and especially depression that may arise from delaying fertility, these superfoods may act as a blessing.
A list of superfoods for fertility
Green leafy vegetables: With all the healthy eating plan, leafy green vegetables come first. They are highly fortified with vitamins and minerals, especially folic acid, vitamin B and C.
Folic acid is so crucial for the child that every gynecologist prescribes supplementary folic acid during pregnancy.
However, evidence shows that it also facilitates becoming pregnant.
A small randomized control trial demonstrated that women who took 400mcg folic acid for three months, 26% of them had pregnancy compared to 10% who took a placebo.
Vitamin C takes part in regulating hormonal balance in women. Whereas, vitamin B is highly important for male’s semen production.
Honey: Honey is the mother of all drugs. From the beginning of human civilization, it has been used for medicinal purposes.
Nevertheless, it is still popular among many cultures, especially in the Islamic world for its health benefits. In fact, the Islamic prophet once said that honey contains remedies for all diseases, which includes reproductive problems.
However, modern scientific research also confirms those ancient claims. Hundreds of studies have been done since, and almost all of them suggest that it significantly improve male and female fertility.
Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects, help in wound healing, improves cardiovascular health, and circulation.
Honey act as superfoods for fertility in many ways. It improves sperm quality in men and eggs in women.
Honey is loaded with antioxidants, vitamin B, iron, fructose, calcium, amino acids, and other minerals.
Antioxidants remove free radicals from the body, which otherwise may destroy sperms.
Vitamin B is a must for testosterone production and maintaining concentration.
Moreover, 100 grams of honey is enough to raise the body’s nitric oxide level of more than 50%, which is a potent vasodilator. As a consequence, it increases blood circulation during intercourse and ensures erection in men and excitement in women.
In addition to that, the practitioners of alternative medicine believe that honey strengthens ovaries and uterus.
Therefore, honey is one of the best foods for fertility.
Cow liver: Eat liver for fertility boost, especially of the cow. The liver is one of the finest sources of vitamin A and B12.
Additionally, it also contains high amounts of folic acid riboflavin, iron, zinc, selenium, and choline.
Like folate, B12 and riboflavin are the other vitamin B that speed up conception.
Zinc has evidence to improve semen quality. Therefore, cow liver is worth trying as superfoods for fertility.
Fish and seafood: Tuna, salmon, oyster, shellfish, and other seafood are an essential protein source.
Nevertheless, they are rich in vitamin B12, Omega-3 fats, zinc, iron, and selenium. These are all important for fertility.
Seeds and beans for fertility: Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are good sources of vitamin E.
The evidence says that vitamin E boost male fertility. It has proven to improve sperm counts and sperm motility.
They additionally contain selenium, folate, zinc, and omega-3. All of these are worthy of a pre-conception diet plan.
On the other hand, beans and lentils are packed with protein and folate. Non-animal proteins are much better when it comes to reproductive health.
Fruits: Grapefruits, oranges, pineapples, kiwi carry a great deal of water and antioxidant vitamins, especially vitamin C, A, beta carotene, and other phytochemicals.
Antioxidants act as scavengers of reactive oxygen species and reverse the adverse impact of oxygen species in sperm. Otherwise, a high concentration of reactive oxygen species negatively affects sperm DNA and sperm motility.
In addition to that, vitamin C helps hormonal regulation in women.
Moreover, pomegranates, avocados, and cooked tomatoes would boost male fertility.
Eggs with yolk for fertility: Eggs have a reputation as a properly balanced diet. They are rich in vitamin C, D, and protein. Vitamin C and protein are crucial for fertility. They also contain choline, which prevents birth defects.
Many dieticians will tell you to exclude the yolk. But if you are thinking about conception, you might not want to lose egg yolk. However, if you are in a weight loss diet, you should cut back the calories somewhere else.
Nuts for fertility: Walnuts and other nuts are good for healthy fats. They have omega-3 and selenium, which I already mentioned as a must for pregnancy.
Dairy products: Milk and milk products such as Greek yogurt are superfoods not only for fertility but also for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
It contains balanced amounts of protein, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals. Milk is high in vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption.
In the past, dairy products were thought to be reproductive toxicants due to the presence of high galactose.
However, a recent case-control study found that women who consumed three or more glasses of milk per day had a 70% lower risk of infertility compared to women who did not drink milk.
Furthermore, low-fat dairy and skimmed milk, have an association with better semen quality. It enhances higher circulating insulin levels.
Insulin has been related to increased motility and concentration of sperm in animals.
Foods that increase sex and libido
Humans are searching for foods to have better sex for millennia. In fact, plenty of foods are famous for increasing sex drive from ancient times. Those foods are known as an aphrodisiac.
However, from a scientific perspective, male and female sexual performance depends on the circulatory system and hormonal balance.
Few systemic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, depression, and lifestyle like smoking can significantly hinder the circulation.
For instance, smoking causes the narrowing of blood vessels. As a result, the penile circulation hampers and causes erectile dysfunction in men. Therefore, foods that are good for blood circulation are also good sexual function.
- Citrus fruits
These fruits are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and other nutrients and minerals. Antioxidants help the body to keep blood vessels clean and prevent the accumulation of fat in the vessels.
Dates are full in amino acid, which is known for increasing stamina. It remained popular as an aphrodisiac from ancient times in various North African countries.
Furthermore, various study shows nuts contain a large quantity of vitamin C, B, and precursor of nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide is a vasodilator, therefore, improve circulation.
They store a high amount of zinc that helps in cell growth and raise testosterone levels. Testosterone is the most important sex hormone for men.
Ginseng is often called the mother of all herbs. It is widely used in Chines medicine for thousands of years for its medicinal and sex drive properties. It is also known to improve sperm quality.
Moreover, Testofen, a chemical compound of fenugreeks, increases love desire and quality.
On the other hand, meca acts as an anti-depressant. Early research demonstrated that taking meca daily for 12 weeks improves the sexual dysfunction in women who are taking regular anti-depressants.
Brain boosting superfoods for fertility
Brain health plays a central role in reproduction. It controls the endocrine hormonal function. Thus maintain the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and semen production.
Foods containing amino acids are the cornerstone of brain function. Its tryptophan and tyrosine increase serotonin and dopamine secretion, which help the uterus to receive an embryo.
Furthermore, amino acids prevent insulin resistance, which improves women’s cycles and sperm quality in males. Here are some foods containing tryptophan.
- Sweet potatoes
- Sunflower seeds
Tyrosine is found in
- Lean turkey meats
Fertility diet recipes
Several studies suggest that pre-conception healthy diet boost fertility.
For instance, in one study, a group of women took a high quantity of vegetable origin proteins, full-fat dairy foods, iron, more monounsaturated fatty acids.
They were discouraged from taking more animal-sourced protein, high carbs food, and low-fat dairy.
The result was astonishing. They had a 66% lower risk of ovulatory infertility and a 27% lower risk of infertility from other causes compared to another group of women who took the same foods in low quantity.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean style diet recipes characterized by more vegetables, legumes, fish, olive oil, and poultry also are proven beneficial for fertility.
Below are some fertility diet recipes you might find helpful.
- One or two eggs with yolks. You can have it boiled or omelet, or you can fry it with pieces of asparagus in olive oil. Add some onions, garlic, and salt.
- Whole wheat bread one or two that suits you.
- Eat salads as you like and drink adequate water.
- A cup of tea would be great to refresh yourself in the morning. If you like sugar, you can use honey with tea.
- Turkey or chicken sandwich with tomato sauce.
- You may love spicy foods with little brown rice.
- BBQ fish such as tuna, salmon, hilisha, sardines along with broccoli, brussels sprout, beans.
- Tomato, cucumber, carrot, capsicum salad added with lemon juice and slices of onions.
- If you are at home, you can make Cauliflower rice boul.
- Try more salads and vegetables at night. Add avocadoes with them.
- Can enjoy oyster, lobster, crabs or fish
- Don’t forget to drink a glass of milk added with honey. Honey milk increases sperm count.
- Eat fruits, better if fruits salads
- Popcorn with movies is a great snack
Eating to protect sperms and eggs
Sperms and eggs are highly susceptible to reactive oxygen species or free radicals, and a slight fluctuation of temperature.
Fortunately, antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, E, can convert free radicals to more favorable compounds.
Eventually, these nutrients are found in colorful fruits and vegetables. Below are some superfoods rich in antioxidants.
- Red Amaranth
Food that increases sperm
Lack of specific nutrients can hamper males’ sperm production. Research says that fish, chicken, leafy vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains boost sperm production.
These foods possess a high quantity of vitamin C and zinc, which are crucial for men’s semen production. At a glance
- Kidney beans
- Green leafy vegetables
are appropriate for boosting sperm for fertility.
Foods for healthy secretion
Women’s secretions are alkaline, in which sperms travel to reach their destination. Therefore, to keep the environment alkaline, one should try more alkaline foods for fertility. Many fruits and vegetables are high in Ph. Such as
Foods and behavior that should avoid for fertility
When you are practicing superfoods for fertility, you also should keep in mind that some foods may harm your reproductive health.
Red and white meat
For instance, meats are good sources of protein. Interestingly several studies found that red and white meat and other foods containing saturated fat can negatively impact pregnancy.
One cohort study on women said serving additional meats while keeping calories constant was associated with a 32% increased risk of ovulatory infertility.
Furthermore, while the fish are better sources of omega-3 fatty acids, the sources of fish itself should be monitored. Fish that are obtained from highly contaminated water carry large amounts of mercury and other toxins. These can severely affect fertility and health as well.
When you are eating soy products, you have the right to know about phytoestrogens they contain. Their role in reproductive health is debatable, and evidence is conflicting, though.
A large cross-sectional analysis found that women who are taking 25 times more soy than typical western populations have 13% less chance of pregnancy.
However, a cohort study in the USA and a few more small studies suggest that there is no relation between soy affecting fertility. Therefore, you should remain focused that you don’t take extra soy foods.
Smoking and alcohol
Finally, the most important foods and behavior one should aware of are taking excessive coffee, smoking, and drinking alcohol.
Hundreds of papers have been published regarding these habits. While, whether caffeine harm or not, all the studies say that tobacco and alcohol harm both male and female fertility.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals, including carcinogenic, hazardous, and heavy metals. It increases the free radicals within the body that endanger sperms and eggs.
Whereas, alcohol reduces semen quality and impairs male and female hormonal systems.
High carbs foods cause weight gain and consequently diabetes and high blood pressure. These conditions are related to a high rate of infertility. Therefore, try to avoid foods that are rich in carbohydrates.
Difficulty in conceiving can be disastrous for a couple. However, a healthy lifestyle and eating habits have the potential to reduce this suffering.
Nevertheless, more research is needed to further understand the mechanism of how these foods affect fertility. So that superfoods for fertility can be used precisely.