Some women choose to give up alcohol and other substances in order to help with conception, did you know that there are certain foods that increase fertility? The idea of “fertility foods” might feel a little foreign but they way you nourish your body matters when you’re trying to conceive. “Many women don’t realize that lifestyle, stress, and food can play a significant role in infertility,” says Jayne Williams, a certified integrative health and nutrition expert. “Eating a diet that ‘supports’ fertility includes whole foods, a healthy balance of lean protein, healthy fats, and fiber that can help boost your gut microbe, regulate hormones, and lower stress levels—all three are important to prep your body for pregnancy.”
When you’re eating for reproductive health, foods that can help lower stress hormones and increase blood flow to the uterus are the ticket, says Lindsey Becker, a fertility chef, certified health coach, and founder of Farm Cut. From salmon and walnuts, “which have been shown to reduce surges of stress hormones,” to beetroots, “which are rich in resveratrol and nitrates and are known to improve blood flow to the uterus to help with embryo implantation,” she says, here are 13 foods that increase fertility—and how to eat them. Bon appétit!
You probably already love your guac, amirite? Turns out, avocados are a great fertility food. “They are a fantastic source of vitamin E, which studies have shown can be beneficial in improving the lining of the uterus,” says Becker.
Williams agrees. “Avocados are one of my go-to favorites for healthy fat. They also happen to be high in potassium, folate, and vitamin K, which helps your body to properly absorb other vitamins.”
One way to enjoy your avocado is to have avocado toast topped with pomegranate seeds for added antioxidants, Becker recommends. Another great treat is to simply add 1/4 of an avocado to your daily smoothie—it makes it creamier and adds a certain richness that will make your smoothie taste more like a milkshake. (Almost.) Plus don’t forget the guacamole, Williams says, which can be made simply with jalapeños, cilantro, and onion.
2. Dark leafy greens
We should all be having dark, green vegetables daily but they’re especially important when you’re trying to get pregnant. Kale, spinach, and Swiss chard contain essential prenatal nutrients like calcium, iron, and folate (which also helps protect against birth defects), not to mention tons of vital daily dietary fiber, says Williams.
“There are endless ways to include your greens into your daily diet,” Williams says. “From eating them raw in salads, sautéed, blanched, and steamed.” Kale can also be roasted to make kale chips, while spinach can be added to smoothies since it has a very mild flavor. “Just a small handful will do,” she says.
Beets and their greens are an underestimated vegetable if I ever saw one. “Beetroots are known to improve blood flow to the uterus to help with embryo implantation,” explains Becker. “Eating a diet rich in beets during IVF treatment is especially helpful.” That’s why they should definitely be added to your fertility foods list, even if you’re not going through IVF.
They’re pretty simple to prepare, too. All you need to do is treat them like potatoes; wash and scrub them clean, and then toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap a whole one in tin foil and roast at 400F for about an hour, until tender, or shorten your time by chopping them into small pieces. Then, once they’re cooked, rub the skin off with your thumbs (wearing gloves because, otherwise, your hands will end up pink for hours) and toss with a little red wine vinegar and olive oil for a scrumptious salad. You can also add some sweet potatoes to this salad for an extra boost.