I tried to get pregnant for over three years before finally conceiving naturally. I honestly did not believe that I could conceive naturally because I have severe endometriosis. My husband and I almost took the IVF plunge, but I was terrified of the physical and emotional stress that would come with it. Before committing to In Vitro Fertilization, I decided to change my lifestyle first. That’s when I started adding the foods that increase fertility into my diet. I figured the process wouldn’t be as difficult as going through IVF. If my plan didn’t work, at the very least, I would be healthier going into my in vitro journey.
I started researching all the natural approaches that I could take to boost my fertility. The most common recommendation that I came across was changing my diet. Essentially, cleaning your insides so that your system is ready and pure for housing your growing baby.
Along with boosting my fertility, I ended up losing weight, having super shiny hair and glowing skin! Seriously, this “fertility diet” is life, even when you’re not trying to get pregnant! After eating these foods consistently and exercising regularly for about six months, BAM, I got pregnant the first time I tried! I couldn’t believe it! Neither could my husband…or my mom…or my doctor but I digress. So what sort of fertility goodness did I consume, you ask? Let’s get into it!
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What are the 11 Best Foods that Increase Fertility?
- Leafy Greens
- Full-fat Greek Yogurt
- Organic Eggs
- Beans and Lentils
- Olive Oil
- Nuts and Seeds
Why these foods, specifically?
Organic Leafy Greens:
Leafy greens are high in folic acid and iron, both of which are essential when trying to get pregnant. Folic acid has multiple benefits for your baby. Folate is also excellent for boosting sperm health and creating healthy eggs. Optimal iron levels are especially important when trying to conceive as many women lose quite a bit of blood and nutrients during menstruation. Having good iron stores will create a stronger endometrial lining, which is great because that’s where your baby will live for about 40 weeks!
Enjoy leafy greens as a salad, in sandwiches, by juicing or my favorite, in smoothies!
Pro-tip: If you aren’t obsessed with the idea of eating a giant bowl of leafy greens every day or simply don’t have the time, try a Superfood Powder like this one.
Holy guacamole! Avocados are life. Literally, they can help you bring life into the world. Avocados are having a moment right now and for good reason. It is the ultimate superfood. I recently found out that avocados are the closest food to human breast milk. Mind. Blown. Avos have it all; folic acid, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A and Vitamin E, which helps build a healthy endometrial lining in the uterus. Avocados also have Vitamin K which helps your body absorb nutrients and helps balance your hormones. Avocados have the good kind of fat. All of this avo-goodness is associated with lower infertility and higher rates of success with IVF. There’s very little that avocados can’t do. We should seriously consider renaming this magical to fruit avo-CAN-DO! Ok. I’ll stop.
Enjoy it on its own, make avocado toast (obviously), blend it up in a smoothie, top it on a salad. Honestly, I’m sure you know how to enjoy avocado. Just writing about it is making me want to eat some immediately. You know what they say; when you’ve hit guac bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up! Okay, I will stop for real this time.
Delicious. Nutritious and filled with omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. Omegas can be very beneficial for ovulation and embryo quality as well as producing healthier sperm. DHA is also super important for your baby’s developing eyes and brain. Research also shows that eating more fish can lead to couples having more sex and having more sex means a better chance of conception! No wonder salmon is one of the best foods that increase fertility!
Try it grilled or roasted with some cherry tomatoes and asparagus. Or you could load up on some sushi because if you’re like me, then you will miss it dearly during pregnancy. If you’re not into the fishy taste, try making salmon cakes and eat as a burger! Om. Nom. Nom.
Organic Full-Fat Greek yogurt:
Full-fat is all the rage right now. It turns out that our bodies need fat, especially when trying to boost fertility. Greek Yogurt is a superfood because you get so much good stuff in just one bowl. Calcium, probiotics, protein and Vitamin D, which helps to mature the follicles in your ovaries, regulating menstrual cycles and balancing hormones.
Honestly, Greek Yogurt is so delicious that I can eat an entire tub of it in one sitting. If that’s not your thing, try it in a smoothie to add a creamy texture. Use it in cooking. Substitute for sour cream when making fajitas, make yogurt parfait or add a heaping dollop on top of some fresh fruit. Delish.
Organic Free-Range Eggs:
I’m not a fan of eggs, but I tried my best to load up on them when I was trying to conceive. I substituted veggie omelets in place of my morning cereal and found that I was fuller for longer and had more energy throughout the day. Eggs are an essential part of the fertility diet because they have loads of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which can improve follicle quality in your ovaries and prevent neural tube defects.
Vitamin D is especially important when trying to conceive, and eggs have a pretty good amount. Some even say that eggs are nature’s multivitamin because the yolk has so many vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and DHA. DO NOT skip the yolk! It is important to eat organic, free-range eggs because those eggs contain a whole lot more omega-3 fatty acids than the factory-farmed eggs.
Eggs can be eaten at any time of the day, as a meal or as a snack. Pack a protein box when you’re on the go, with a couple of hardboiled eggs, a mandarin orange, a handful of nuts and some berries. This little snack box is full of fertility-boosting foods, and it will keep you full and energized. On weekends, try making an Instagram-worthy brunch with egg frittatas or Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and avocado toast. You will be the talk of the ‘Gram!
Berries are nature’s little gifts to us. Raspberries and blueberries have antioxidants which can influence egg quality while protecting your reproductive system from cell damage. Antioxidants also act as inflammatory agents which can help with ovulation and conception. Just a half cup of berries a day is ideal for women that are trying to conceive.
Berries are the perfect addition to smoothies, salads, muffins, toppings on cereals and yogurt. Grab a handful and enjoy!
Beans and Lentils:
Beans and lentils are a great way to add plant-based protein to your diet. The fiber and B vitamins found in these proteins are high in folate and iron. The fiber helps regulate hormones by removing excess hormones in the body. The antioxidants help with inflammation, and the numerous other vitamins and minerals help improve follicle quality during conception.
Try making hearty soups, stews, or chilies or a chickpea salad. Serve black or kidney beans with eggs and tortillas or make a yummy burrito. The possibilities are endless!
Like lentils and beans, oats provide B vitamins and fiber which are essential in the fertility diet. Slow-releasing carbs are much better than refined carbs as they keep you fuller for longer and more energized. Refined carbs can also decrease fertility rates so sticking with this tried and true breakfast staple is a great way to ensure that you are getting your protein, fiber, and vitamins while also getting your carb fix.
Citrus fruits are so much more than just Vitamin C. Most citrus fruits have calcium, folate and B vitamins which can regulate ovulation and create a healthy environment for your eggs. Vitamin C is also essential for the absorption of iron and is high in bioflavonoids, which can improve the health of the uterus. We’ve talked about the importance of anti-inflammatories when trying to conceive and citrus has tons of anti-inflammatory properties which can also boost fertility.
Did you know that kiwi, papaya, and guava are surprisingly high in Vitamin C? It’s not always about the oranges and grapefruits, although those are pretty great too!
Olive oil is a powerful fertility-boosting agent because it is made up of monounsaturated fat. Studies have also found a positive link between having a diet high in good fats and higher rates of fertility, especially in women undergoing IVF. Healthy fats are also great for achieving hormonal balance and even stress management. Our bodies need healthy fats to thrive, especially when trying to get pregnant, which is why it is one of the best foods that increase fertility. Many doctors and nutritionists recommend a Mediterranean diet when trying to conceive because of all the good fats.
You can have olive oil in so many ways. Find a good quality olive oil and use it in dips and dressings. Top your salad or avocado toast with a drizzle. Mix with it balsamic and make a delicious salmon marinade. Yum, yum!
Nuts and Seeds:
Nuts and seeds are so nutritious and vital for fertility. The proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamin E found in nuts and seeds are especially important to consume when trying to conceive. Omega 3 fatty acids help increase cervical mucous production, promotes ovulation, helps regulate hormones and improve the health of the uterus. Zinc is an essential mineral for fertility because it helps to develop a healthy ova, balances hormones and can prevent miscarriages. Vitamin E is also crucial to pregnancy because the antioxidant helps support the uterus, the liver, and the immune system.
Nuts and seeds are so easy to incorporate into your diet. Try them on salads, oatmeal, and yogurt. Add them to dips or smoothies. Spread nut butter on your favorite multigrain toast. Substitute dairy with nut milk. You can also make trail mix and throw in your bag, so you don’t get hangry!
Now that you know what you need to be fuelling your body with to increase your fertility, hit up your local grocery store or farmer’s market and go wild! Try searching for a few recipes, so you have some ideas and inspiration before diving into your fertility journey.
Extra Tips for Trying to Conceive
Before even getting started with any fertility diet, I highly recommend investing in a good quality prenatal multi-vitamin. We can’t eat perfectly every single day. I live for cheat days and indulging in moderation is necessary for your sanity and happiness. Prenatal vitamins are so essential when trying to conceive because it will bridge any nutritional gaps in your diet. A good prenatal vitamin will complement all the foods that increase fertility. Ensuring that your body has everything it needs nutritionally will help create a healthy environment for conception. It’s also important to start stocking up on essential vitamins and minerals so that when you do become pregnant, you have plenty of energy.
Raspberry Leaf Tea
I have an entire post written about the incredible benefits of this tea for women’s reproductive health. One of the main benefits Raspberry Leaf Tea is that it tones and strengthens the uterus which can help early embryos attach to the uterine wall. This tea also regulates hormones, helps with menstrual cramps and is also very beneficial for women that have endometriosis. I swear by Raspberry Leaf Tea and highly recommend it to women looking to boost their fertility and prepare for birth.
Green tea is one of the best antioxidant beverages you can find. You get a lot of great nutritional bang for your buck. Green tea is such a budget-friendly way to boost your fertility. The antioxidants in green tea can help improve reproductive healthy by removing toxins from our bodies. Green tea can also help eggs mature and be ready for fertilization.
Take some time for yourself every day and enjoy a cup of warm Organic Raspberry Leaf or Organic Green Tea with a squeeze of lemon and organic honey. I think getting into the habit of practicing gratitude, reflecting in silence and just allowing ourselves to relax is very significant to our journey to motherhood. Trying to conceive can quickly become a stressful and frustrating process. Finding time to reset our emotions is crucial, which brings me to my next recommendation.
Exercise in any form is beneficial to all of us. Our bodies are designed to move. A simple stroll, light yoga or even stretching can instantly uplift our mood. When considering bringing life into the world, we need to ensure our bodies are as healthy as possible. Maintaining a healthy weight is highly recommended for increasing the chances of fertility. You don’t need to look a certain way or be a certain size. Your body needs to be as healthy as it can be for both you and your baby. You don’t have to be a beast in the gym. Vigorous high-intensity workouts might actually hinder fertility.
Try dancing, swimming, cycling, pilates, and even tai chi. For women with PCOS, exercise is particularly important because it can increase the frequency of ovulation and regulate menstrual cycles.
I found that working out lifted my mood when I was trying to conceive. Every time I saw a big, fat negative pregnancy test, I would go for a run or pick up some weights at the gym. Working out saved my sanity during a very stressful time.
Sleep and Stress Management
As mentioned above, trying to conceive can be a very emotional, stressful process for many women. Most of us don’t see the BFP (big, fat positive) after our first try. I went months without a BFP, and I was heartbroken, mainly because I have endometriosis and I genuinely believed that a baby wasn’t in the cards for me. Sometimes my period would be a few days late, and I would be so excited, only to get another negative. I would feel so helpless and just cry. Despite my feelings, I would read positive stories of other women that got pregnant naturally and continued on my fertility journey.
Chances of conception are much higher when you track your ovulation. I highly recommend investing in some form of ovulation tracking when trying to conceive. It will make your life so much easier. These strips are a great, inexpensive way to keep track of your ovulation. The only issue with the strips is that sometimes it can be hard to tell if you are actually ovulating since the lines can be faint. If you need clear and immediate answers like me, you might be better off getting a digital ovulation test that will tell you clearly whether or not you are ovulating. No squinting and trying to figure out faint test lines!
A basal thermometer is also very helpful when TTC. Women have been using basal thermometers for decades and swear by it. Definitely worth investing in so that you can be more in tune with your cycle.
When I was trying to conceive Leo, I searched high and low for an easy to use fertility monitor that would help me get pregnant faster. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything that felt right for me. I recently came across this awesome Clearblue Fertility Monitor that tracks your hormones and helps you figure out your most fertile days. How badly I wish I had this when I was trying to conceive. It would have made my life so much easier to track my hormone surges! This might be a worthwhile investment if you have the funds.
The pregnancy test struggle is real! I would literally take a test every other day. It becomes addicting, okay? If you’re like me and addicted to testing frequently, then stock up on a bunch of pregnancy test strips so that you can test whenever you have a hunch. Or just whenever you feel like peeing on a strip. Whatevs.
Eat the right foods, exercise daily, drink plenty of water and get lots of rest. Ensure that you are sleeping 8-10 hours every night. Communicate with your partner about feelings throughout the entire process. Go out with your friends. Have dates with your partner. Buy yourself a cute outfit and rock it! Be vocal about all your feelings.
Tell people your story. Do things for yourself. Be good to yourself. Know that you are on this path for a reason and your journey will be even more meaningful because of everything you went through to get to your destination.
Sending you lots of fertility dust!
P.S. I would love to know about all the methods that you used when trying to conceive. Was there a certain food or technique that did the trick for you? Share with me in the comments below!