How a healthy diet can help boost your fertility
Fertility issues affect a staggering 15% of the population. The experience of infertility can cause couples to go through emotional turmoil and spiral down to depression. Despite the growing evidence of the impact on diet linked to infertility, there are still natural ways to help improve the sperm morphology of men and improve the fertility of women. Diets high in unsaturated fats, whole grains, vegetables, and fish have been associated with improved fertility in both women and men.
The science on diet and Fertility
There is robust evidence that healthy preconception dietary patterns among men and women of reproductive age have a beneficial effect on fertility. A dietary pattern consistent of selective whole grains (Quinoa or Buckwheat), vegetables (Kale, spinach, or asparagus), fish that is low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids (Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Anchovies, & Herring), and fruits low in glycemic load (Cherries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries—just to name a few). Plant protein from vegetable sources is also essential to lowering the infertility risk. According to a large prospective cohort study1, high consumption of the “fertility diet” was found to have 66% lower risk of infertility related to ovulatory disorders and a 27% lower risk of infertility due to other causes compared to women with the lowest intake of this diet pattern.
What are the specific foods and nutrients
Specific nutrients and foods that impact fertility can yield instrumental insight into the possible mechanisms linking diet and reproductive health. Low levels of folate are associated with a lower frequency of sporadic anovulation. This can be harmful for people who consume a vegan or vegetarian diet that are low in iron levels. In a randomized controlled trial of sub fertile women who took a multivitamin containing 400 µg of folic acid for 3 months, 26% had a pregnancy compared to 10% of women in the placebo group. Preliminary data has recommended that red meat can be detrimental to boosting fertility in women.
Studies have shown how red meat was negatively associated with likelihood of blastocyst formation during the embryo development. Notably, the study didn’t mention about the quality of meat (grass-fed or grain-fed) used, the type of conditions it was cooked under (high or low temperatures), adulterated or unadulterated. It’s important if red meat is a food that is consumed we make sure it’s of high quality meats such as grass-fed or unprocessed and cooked at medium temperature to prevent oxidation and the formation of toxic metabolites, which can negatively affect fertility.
The psychological burden behind Infertility
Women who experience infertility are at increased risk of developing depression. Notably, women who are already experiencing depression are more likely to experience infertility due to the psychological changes that may imbalance hormones in the body. Moreover, men who have pre-existing depression are likely to experience a dip in semen quality. It’s critical to understand the psychological burden to can effect a couples fertility issues. The good news is, certain dietary patterns have shown to shield against depression.
Conclusion and recommendations
Given the positive outcomes studies have shown with consuming a healthy diet linked to increased fertility, it’s imperative that we are very selective in our food choices and the nutrients that are needed to help boost fertility. Creating a dietary patterns with proper nutrients can help create that beautiful that we all dream of.
- Panth, N., Gavarkovs, A., Tamez, M., & Mattei, J. (2018). The Influence of Diet on Fertility and the Implications for Public Health Nutrition in the United States. Frontiers in Public Health, 6. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2018.00211