Female Fertility and Food

Everyday I get to shake my pompons and shout, "Get it ladies!" as I watch my friends, mentors, and other women passionately pursue their education and career aspirations. For many, the pursuit of these dreams means delaying motherhood longer than our predecessors. It's not news to any of us. 

You've probably read the stats. The longer you wait, the harder it might be to conceive when you decide to try. So more and more of us are wondering what we can do to maintain our fertility and improve our reproductive health as we boldly go where few have gone before.

Now, more than ever before, women are thinking about how the diet and lifestyle choices they make today may affect their ability to have children in the future.

I'm always amazed when I read a new (and many times old, but new to me) research article about the role nutrition plays in women's health and fertility. I love the idea that there are things we can do to improve not only our health, but also our chances of becoming pregnant when we decide it is time to add mommy to our list of roles.

There are a number of foods and nutrients that appear to have an impact on our fertility. Some good, some not so good. Diet recommendations for reproductive health, based in sound science, are no different than the recommendations to maintain health in general. They're almost identical to the diet recommendations to ward off, and in some cases treat, chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. What's good for your womb is good for the rest of your body, too.

A healthy diet equals a healthy body. And a healthy body is a more fertile body. So it stands to reason that a healthier diet, which makes for a healthier body, is one of the ways women can take charge of their own fertility. That is incredibly empowering. Some of the things which affect fertility are outside of our control; fortunately what we choose to eat is not one of them.

So which foods, drinks, and nutrients should we include in our diet to improve our fertility? I'm glad you asked. The list below, while not exhaustive, includes foods full of nutrients which have been associated with an increased chance of conceiving, taking less time to get pregnant, and/or a decreased risk of infertility.

Foods for Fertility

  • Legumes
  • Colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • "Slow Carbs" (carbohydrate rich foods which do not cause a sudden spike in our blood sugar levels)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocados
  • Fermented Foods
  • Cold water fish
  • Olive oil

In addition to foods, a multivitamin might be something women planning to have children should consider taking regularly.

Fill your belly with healthy foods now. That way when the time comes to grow your baby belly, you can rest assured you have done all that is in your power to boost your chances of having a healthy, happy pregnancy.