Hey there, readers! I needed a wee break & now I am back with the second part of my Optimum Fertility series.
As I discussed in my previous post, both environment and nutrition play a huge part in optimum fertility. Today I will talk about the dietary ingredients for an ideal fertility diet. Again hormonal balance is key! We also need some specific ingredients to produce healthy eggs and sperm.
The manufacture of hormones require certain nutrients. A key nutrient is Vitamin D3, which is not a vitamin actually, but a hormone precursor that our bodies manufacture from sun exposure. Many of us are deficient in D and a previous blog post covers the essentials.
Magnesium and Vitamins A & K work in concert with Vitamin D, so it is important to make sure your diet includes these co-factors. Nuts & dark chocolate are good sources of Magnesium, though many will want to supplement because it can be challenging to get enough through diet without eating too many calories! Vitamins A & K are high in liver, egg yolks, and hard cheese.
We also need healthy fats to build hormones. Saturated fat from free-range animals, organic dairy, wild-caught fatty fish, free-range eggs, avocados and nuts are all good sources of fat to promote fertility. Fatty fish like wild-caught salmon is also a good sources of Omega 3s, which we also need for hormonal balance.
Zinc aids in protein utilization and is required to build healthy eggs and sperm. Red meat, eggs and shellfish are good sources, with oysters being the best source. Iron is essential for good blood quality and an oxygen-rich uterine lining.
And of course B vitamins, including folate, which is also essential for good egg & sperm quality!
An ideal fertility diet would emphasize these nutrient-dense foods:
- Grass-fed beef and/or lamb and/or fatty fish like wild-caught salmon & mackerel
- Organ meats, especially liver–chicken liver is ideal & has a milder taste than beef liver & is a super food that has Vitamin A, folate and Iron!
- Free-range eggs
- Full-fat dairy (if tolerated) from 100% grass-fed cows/goats/sheep , preferably fermented in the form of kefir, yoghurt, cheese. Also butter.
- Dark Leafy Greens & colorful vegetables
- Starchy tubers/fruits like sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains, bananas
- Colorful fruits like berries
Foods to limit because they can inhibit absorption of minerals & other nutrients:
- grains, especially gluten grains like wheat, barley & rye
- excessive nuts & seeds
If you are celiac or gluten-sensitive, it is especially important to completely avoid gluten grains to keep your gut healthy. Fermented foods and probiotics can help you to ensure good gut health so that you will absorb all the great food you are eating. All the good nutrition in the world won’t make a difference if you aren’t able to absorb the nutrients. If you have any digestive problems, this is something to address right away!
Excessive caffeine should be avoided. Try substituting tea for coffee. Avoid more than a cup or two of green tea, as it can inhibit folate utilisation.
Food nourishes our souls as well as our bodies, so don’t forget the dark chocolate and/or your favorite treat!
A good fertility diet is a great pregnancy diet! And allowing this way of eating to become a lifestyle change, rather than just “diet” will make it easier to choose good foods during your pregnancy and of course, positively influence the tastes of your child.
I love supporting new parents in their journey to conception. Please feel free to contact me if I can help you fine-tune your fertility nutrition.