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Exploring the Link Between Food and Fertility

A pregnant woman sits on a bed and holds up a half of a grapefruit in one hand and a donut in the other. A bunch of fruit sits in front of her. This demonstrates the connection between fertility and food.

We’re asking the question: What’s the connection between food and fertility? Fertility is the ability to conceive a child. Being fertile is a key indicator of good health. We’ve all read or heard somewhere about foods women shouldn’t eat while pregnant. But what about the foods that are recommended to boost fertility for both men and women? 

At Z.E.N. Foods, we explore fertility research to report the latest findings to serve our clients best.

Breaking Down a Fertile Diet

In 2007, a team of Harvard researchers came together to study a group of women with ovulatory infertility desiring to conceive a child. A fertile diet, otherwise known as a “fertility diet,” consisted of the following:

  • Monosaturated fats instead of trans fat
  • More plant-based proteins and less animal protein
  • Unsaturated vegetable oils
  • High iron foods and supplements
  • More whole grains
  • High fiber foods
  • High-fat dairy instead of low-fat dairy
  • Multivitamin supplements
  • Folic acid foods and supplements

The findings revealed that women who followed this diet lowered their infertility risk by 66%. Women who didn’t follow the diet remained at high risk for infertility, while women who did also reduced their risk from other infertility causes. 

No direct link between a specific diet and fertility can be backed up yet. However, the goal of this study was to promote a healthy weight and ensure women met their nutrient needs. 

Overall, eating a diverse amount of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and oils, whole grains, and calcium-rich foods helps increase fertility.

Food Also Plays a Vital Role in Modern Fertility for Men 

Another fairly new study led by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that men who eat a healthy diet have higher total sperm counts. Of course, it takes two to make a baby. 

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants is important for men who want to conceive. In fact, the study concluded that men who consume diets high in red meat, sugar-sweetened drinks, fried foods, and desserts have a lower sperm count.

Further Keys to Increasing Modern Fertility

When discussing increasing fertility, a woman’s menstrual cycle is also closely monitored and examined. An optimally functioning female body should be ovulating (releasing an egg) once every cycle and menstruating regularly. 

For a woman’s menstrual cycle to be regular, she should consume enough iron and folic acid. Folic acid is what the body uses to prevent neural tube defects in the developing brain and spine of a fetus.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a daily supplement between 400 and 800 micrograms of folic acid. Additionally, consuming folate and folic-acid-rich foods is recommended. 

Foods Rich in Folic Acid

  • Legumes
  • Asparagus
  • Leafy greens (spinach, gale, arugula)
  • Eggs
  • Beets
  • Citrus fruits (lime, lemon, oranges, grapefruit)
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Papaya
  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Fortified grains

Keep in mind that Vitamin C is what helps absorb the nutrients in folic-acid-rich foods. Consider eating an orange an hour before your next meal!

Ultimately, eating healthy foods, eliminating toxic foods, getting regular exercise and adequate sleep, and reducing stress elevate both men’s and women’s overall wellness.

Consider Taking a Fertility Test

When a healthy lifestyle and diet have been implemented, if conceiving is still an issue, many couples will seek out an infertility doctor. Based on your conversation with the doctor, they will advise you to take a series of tests that can reveal the bigger picture. 

For women, some include a pelvic ultrasound test, hysteroscopy, and endometrial biopsy, among many others. For men, sperm and semen analysis, hormone evaluations, and anti-sperm antibody examinations can help identify what issues, if any, are present. 

Your doctor will recommend the most appropriate tests for your unique situation to help couples understand what’s happening.

Support Your Fertility With Z.E.N. Foods 

As a passionate advocate for all things health and wellness, Z.E.N. Foods is here to help our clients meet their life goals. By working together, we explore what’s possible through farm-to-table home-delivered meals tailored to your needs. Sign up for our newsletter for more healthy lifestyle tips, or call (310) 205-9368 to talk with one of our consultants. We look forward to supporting you on your health journey!

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