After months of trying without success, you’re willing to try just about anything to increase your odds for conception. Naturally you should schedule a fertility evaluation with your doctor, but there are some things you can do that will boost your fertility naturally. Here’s our list of 8 medically approved ways you can boost your fertility naturally and help your body respond better to fertility treatment.
1. Eat the Rainbow
No, we’re not talking about those colorful candies! Eating a broad range of fruits and vegetables in all colors boosts the antioxidants in your diet. These include folate and zinc, beneficial to fertility in both men and women. An antioxidant-rich diet ensures sperm and egg health along with your general health because it deactivates the cell-damaging free-radicals in your body.
Walnuts are a proven healthy antioxidant when it comes to sperm health. Upping your folate helps in the implantation of the embryo in the uterus. Vitamins C and E are great for strengthening the immune system and beta carotene and lutein may improve the motility of sperm.
2. Go Big for Breakfast
Enjoying a hearty breakfast filled with antioxidants like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and nuts helps you stay fueled for anything the day holds. But did you know a healthy first meal of the day just might improve your hormonal response? This is an especially important reason for women suffering from PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
One study found that for women of a healthy BMI eating the major portion of the day’s calories ate breakfast reduces insulin levels by 8%. A heartier breakfast also showed a reduction in testosterone levels for these women by as much as 50%. Elevated levels of insulin and testosterone interfere with fertility in those who suffer from PCOS.
So, if you’re a grab-a-coffee-and-out-the-door kind of person set the alarm a bit earlier and enjoy a leisurely breakfast to launch your day.
3. PCOS? Cut Back on Your Carbs
If more than half of your daily calories come from carbohydrates bring it down, especially if you have PCOS. Try reducing your carb intake to no more than 45% or your daily calories. A recent study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology indicates a lower-carb diet has beneficial effects on some of the aspects of PCOS that interfere with conception.
A low-carb diet may help you maintain your healthy weight as it brings down insulin levels, encourages fat loss and helps maintain a regular menstrual cycle. If possible, cut out the refined carbs such as those found in sugary foods and sweetened drinks and processed grains such as white bread, pasta and rice.
If you’re not sure how many carbs you’re getting each day check out one of the handy calorie-tracking apps. They typically break down your day’s calories into protein, fats, carbs, etc.
4. Protein, Fiber and Dairy
Is it obvious yet? What you eat impacts your overall health, including your reproductive health.
When it comes to your protein sources, lean into plant based. At least replace a few of your meals with plant-based sources of protein like beans, nuts, and seeds. A study published by the NIH concluded that replacing animal sources of protein with plant sources decreased the risk of ovulatory infertility by 50%. And consuming more low mercury fish increased the probability of a successful pregnancy following fertility treatment.
Fiber helps keep your blood sugar balanced, reduces inflammation, and helps your body get rid of excess hormones. Certain fibers, such as fruit, avocado, oats, and sweet potatoes help remove excess estrogen. The recommended daily fiber intake is 31 grams for men and 25 grams for women. An increase of 5 grams to 10 grams a day shows positive effects on ovulatory function. However, check with your doctor first to determine if you should increase your fiber.
While we don’t recommend trans fats and saturated fats as a rule, high fat dairy products are actually more beneficial to your fertility than their low- or no-fat cousins. So, get the full fat and add your own fruit or use in place of sour cream.
5. Pump Up Your (Plant-Based) Iron and Other Vitamins
Both men and women benefit from vitamin supplements when trying to conceive. That includes non-heme or plant-based iron supplements. But be sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements. There are certain multivitamin and mineral supplements specifically designed for fertility support. There are also some which may interfere.
6. Get Moving
Moderate physical activity offers many benefits including boosting your fertility. But avoid high intensity workouts for now. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate daily activity such as walking, swimming, cycling or yoga.
7. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol consumption has a negative effect on your fertility. There’s confusing evidence about what amount, if any is fine so, err on the side of caution and cut back for the time being. If you tend to drink to excess or consume more than 14 servings per week, mention this to your doctor.
Caffeine consumption and its link to infertility is also not very conclusive. Some studies suggest a strong link between excessive caffeine intake and fertility, and others suggest no such link. However, in preparation for pregnancy you should cut your caffeine consumption down to two cups of coffee, or no more than 250 mg, per day. Here is a list how much caffeine popular beverages contain.
It turns out “just relax” is great advice. There are studies linking stress to suppressed fertility. This is because stress levels increase, so do stress hormones. Stress hormones cause an imbalance in your reproductive hormones which may prevent ovulation.
So, take time to chill. Try mediation, journaling, practice gratitude or dive back into a hobby you find fun. Walk in nature, plan a spa day, or go to lunch with someone whose company you enjoy.
One of the best ways to put your mind at ease. Talk to your doctor. If you’re concerned about your fertility, contact LA IVF today.