6 Foods To Boost Female Fertility
Improve your chances to get pregnant with simple diet changes. These six kitchen essentials have been proven to help conception.
“Healthy food impacts fertility via its effect on your body’s hormone levels, gut health, and blood flow,” says Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, Chief Clinical Dietician, Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru. In addition, research at Harvard Medical School confirms that having the right vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin B12, folic acid and Omega-3 fatty acids improves your chances of conception. These can improve your egg quality and regulate the frequency of ovulation. The study further says that it is in the best interest of fertility to avoid trans fats, sweetened beverages and highly processed meats because they increase the likelihood of ovulatory dysfunction (irregular, absent or abnormal ??ovulation??).
Here are some essential foods that boost fertility:
- Whole grains: Have a variety of low glycemic index and minimally processed whole grains. Low GI foods take more time to digest, do not cause blood sugar spikes and help maintain appropriate insulin levels that are necessary for hormonal balance. Whole grains also have phytic acid, Vitamin E, and selenium, which helps avoid female subfertility (failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected intercourse), finds the journal Fertility and Sterility. “Some examples of low GI grains are whole oats, millets, unrefined rice and barley,” says Dr Rohatgi.
- Healthy fats: Did you know that some types of fat can increase the risk of ovulatory infertility (case when ovulation fails to occur, or occurs on an infrequent basis)? A study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that consuming trans unsaturated fats is associated with 73 percent greater risk of ovulatory infertility. Some common sources of trans fats include frozen pizza, baked goods (cakes and cookies), fried foods (french fries, doughnuts). “Have healthy fats such as Omega-3, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats,” suggests Dr Rohatgi. “These are naturally found in avocado, almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, walnuts, flaxseed and tofu”.
- Vegetables and fruits: Nourishing the body with fresh vegetables such as broccoli, string beans, kale, spinach, collard, dandelion and fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, pomegranate, strawberries are related to better fertility in women, says a study, Diet and Fertility: A Review. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide nutrients such as calcium, iodine, Vitamin D, iron, potassium and folate that are necessary to boost the chances of conception, naturally. These nutrients help maintain a healthy weight, remove excess estrogen and control ovulatory infertility
- Fish: Evidence from paper Female fertility in relation to the consumption of fish says that there’s a protective effect of fatty fish consumption among females. The constituents in fatty fish neutralises the negative effects of a woman’s exposure to many herbicides, insecticides, fungicides as well as industrial chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Women with exposure to PCBs and other harmful chemicals take longer to conceive, finds the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. “Consuming fatty fish such as hilsa, sardines nourishes the body with Omega-3 fatty acids, something that improves the quality and reserve of healthy eggs,” finds a 2016 study presented at ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) scientific congress.
- Full-fat dairy: High intake of low-fat dairy foods may increase the risk of anovulatory cycle (a condition where an egg does not release from ovaries) whereas intake of high-fat dairy foods may decrease this risk, says the journal Oxford Academic. Also according to a study done by the journal Human Reproduction, women who ate full-fat dairy foods, including ice cream, more than once per day had a 25 percent reduced risk of infertility due to ovulatory disorders compared to those who ate full-fat dairy foods only once a week. Some easily available options to have full-fat dairy include heavy cream, whole-milk yoghurt, full-fat cheese, and whole milk.
- Soya: Soya and soya supplements can boost your chances of fertility due to its isoflavone content (a type of a type of phytoestrogen). Isoflavones act on estrogen pathways, it stimulates the estrogen and can mimic the menstrual cycle. “If a woman does not ovulate regularly or does not ovulate at all, having soya supplements could kick-start ovulation—something that is vital for conceiving,” finds Elsevier Journal.