Foods To Boost Your Fertility and Support A Healthy Pregnancy
Whether you are just getting started or have been trying to conceive for a
while, it is important to eat a healthy diet that will nourish your body and future baby.
Most people are aware that taking prenatal vitamins will support the growth and
development of their baby, because it provides all the essential vitamins and minerals a
growing baby needs. Many, however, are not aware of the impact food choices can
have on fertility and pregnancy. In fact, your food choices go well beyond
Some foods can balance hormones, blood sugar levels, and reduce inflammation in the
body, while others do the very opposite and can unfortunately impact fertility. This is
especially important if you have PCOS, a thyroid condition, unexplained infertility, or
have experienced recurrent loss.
Below are simple guidelines to balance hormones and improve your fertility. We
encourage you to work with your Naturopathic Doctor for recommendations tailored to
your individual needs or treat a known condition.
The Fertility Diet
When it comes to fertility, maintaining a healthy weight is important. Being
overweight or underweight can disrupt ovulation and lead to hormone imbalance. Even
a 5-10% weight loss can significantly improve fertility in women who are overweight. For
those who are under their ideal weight, increasing healthy protein and fats will help
balance hormones and increase your chances of success. If you are fairly active, you
may also need to consider slowing down the amount of exercise you get for a while.
Focus on eating more whole, unprocessed food. This means buying fresh fruit,
veggies, meat, legumes, and complex carbs, such as sweet potato, squash, wild rice,
quinoa, etc. Leave packaged food behind, since these are often high in sugar, fillers,
and artificial ingredients that are general not healthy for anyone.
Include more protein from plants (beans, nuts, seeds) and less from red meat. Better
quality meat sources, such as grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish, and
antibiotic hormone-free animal products are less inflammatory and won’t affect
hormones as conventionally raised meat do.
Note – While fish is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids,
always choose low mercury fish (salmon, trout, halibut) or take a high-quality fish
Focus on healthful unsaturated fats, including olive oil, olives, salmon, raw nuts and
seeds, and avocados. Avoid trans fats at all cost. If you tolerate dairy, choose organic
full-fat dairy instead of the low-fat versions that are typically high in sugar.
Increase your intake of slow carbs (low glycemic index foods) and decrease the highly
processed ones that spike blood sugar and insulin levels. Generally, the more colourful,
the more nutrient dense the food. Eat the rainbow of colours with fruit (yes, these are
healthy carbs), root veggies, squashes, and whole unprocessed grain.
Alcohol and Caffeine
It is well-known that alcohol should be completely avoided and that caffeine needs to be
limited during pregnancy. However, many studies have found that alcohol and caffeine
can reduce your chances of conceiving. Alcohol has been associated with decreased
ovulation and sperm counts, while caffeine has been associated with a delay in time to
conception. In fact, the higher the caffeine intake, the longer it took for couples to
My recommendation: both partners should avoid alcohol and caffeine when
trying to conceive.
Generally, I prefer to emphasize including healthful foods in one’s diet than to focus on
the foods they should avoid. Keep it simple and add more colourful, whole foods to your
meals. Focus on healthy sources of protein, fats, and nutritious carbohydrates to fuel
your body, balance hormones, and boost your fertility.
For guidance with your individual needs, meal planning services, as well as additional
fertility support, come in for a consultation. We will identify the barriers that are
preventing you from a healthy pregnancy and create a plan to optimize your fertility.
Let’s work together!
Dr Meghan McNaughton, ND
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