Foods for female and male fertility
By Chantelle Colalancia
To optimise fertility in both males and females, couples should consider and prepare your bodies three months before trying to conceive. This means assessing necessary vitamin, mineral levels, each person’s diet (not just the women who will bear the child) and blood status within the body. Here are a few foods to consider changing and minimising in your diet to promote optimal fertility.
- Foods high in Folate & Vitamin A like sweet potato, carrots, winter root vegetables and dark leafy greens — this vitamin helps with reducing the chances of neural tube defects and may help stimulate ovulation.
- Foods high in Calcium & Vitamin D, dairy products — milk, yoghurt, cheese, figs, spinach, and almond butter. These both can help with ovulatory infertility, and help trigger the growth of embryos.
- Lean Protein, such as fish, chicken, turkey, beef (certain cuts) all contain high amounts of amino acids, zinc, and iron all important nutrients towards boosting fertility and a healthy pregnancy.
- Foods high in Zinc & Omega- 3 Fatty Acids such as pumpkin seeds, lean beef tenderloins, lamb, pork, shellfish, spinach, fatty fish- salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring. Zinc increases testosterone, both Zinc and omega- 3’s increase sperm count and protect the male from oxidative stress, and overall both nutrients improves sexual organ function.
- Foods high in Vitamin C like all citrus fruits, oranges, mandarins, boosts sperm quality
- Foods high in Vitamin A, like carrots, red peppers, apricots keep the sperm from becoming sluggish.
Overall couples should assess their diets and make sure they are both having balanced sources of whole foods, but in particular making sure they are getting a generous amount of Omega- 3, Folate, Zinc, and antioxidants as a whole. Consuming these will make sure the hormones are kept regulated, increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, increase sperm count, regulates egg production and menstrual cycle, protects eggs, and sperm from damage and oxidative stress
What couples should try and avoid in their diets:
Coffee — Caffeine may affect ovulation and corpus luteum functioning through alterations to hormone levels and has been shown to be associated with higher early follicular E2 levels in female, so recommendations say to try to limit to 200mg a day (if with milk 1 coffee a day).
Alcohol — Eliminate completely, this is harmful to fertility.
Refined carbohydrates (white breads, pasta, sugars) — Try to moderate and keep at a minimum they can interfere with hormones.
Phytoestrogens (soy, tofu) — Eliminate, these are harmful to fertility and can interfere with estrogen production, a hormone necessary for fertility.