How To Eat For Fertility
As a women’s health and wellness practitioner specializing in fertility enhancement for the last 10 years I've become extremely clear on one thing: health (and ultimately fertility) is directly correlated to the foods you eat. What I am saying is, yes, you — your overall health and your fertility — are what you eat.
When it comes to optimizing health, including reproductive health, I guide women (and men) to eat plenty of what I call “The Three Big Yeses”
1. Protein from animal sources
These foods, preferably organic and from grass-fed or pastured animals, are rich in hormone-balancing essential nutrients like iron, B-vitamins and fertility-promoting saturated fats. The saturated fats in animal protein should not be avoided — rather they should be embraced, especially when one is trying to improve their fertility as these foods are full of fat soluble vitamins — A, D, E and K — which will help improve egg quality and reproductive health.
In general, I recommend eating 8-12 eggs per week; 4-6 3-ounce servings of grass-fed organic meat like beef, lamb, venison, buffalo, pork and turkey per week; and 1-2 3-ounce servings of organic, pastured chicken per week. My top three animal protein foods for improving fertility are eggs, wild salmon, fish roe (caviar) and liver (yes, liver — which I often recommend in pill form, as most people don’t love to eat liver).
Yes, fat is fertility friendly. However, most of us avoid fat because we think it is unhealthy for us. The truth is that our body needs fat — especially the kind that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids — to function optimally on every level. I urge clients to eat fats from organic oils, such as olive oil, coconut oil and raw sesame or almond butter; organic nuts and seeds; and especially butter or ghee from grass-fed cows (I recommend 4 tablespoons per week of butter!).
3. Plenty of vegetables and fruit
As most of you know, eating vegetables is great for optimal health. Eating 3-5 servings per day of vegetables like spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts and beets are rich in fertility-boosting antioxidants, fiber and nutrients (like folic acid and beta-carotene) that help balance our hormones.
When it comes to fruit I recommend eating the low-sugar and low-glycemic fruits like melons, berries, grapefruit and berries more than any other fruit. I recommend 6-8 servings per week of the low-glycemic fruits and only 2-4 servings per week of fruits higher in sugar like apples, pears, mango, plums, peaches, banana and mango. Dried fruit should be eaten sparingly — no more than once per week.
Of course, when I make recommendations on what to eat to optimize health, I also direct clients to avoid foods that aren’t great, like processed packaged foods, pesticide-ridden nonorganic foods, nonorganic animal products, and potentially problematic foods like soy, gluten and added sugars. There are some things that we can have, but in moderation — like alcohol (I recommend no more than 3 drinks per week) and coffee (I recommend keeping it at less than 100 mg per day — which is about 1 cup per day — and to make sure it is from an organic source.)
To make my Yes, You Can Get Pregnant diet approach easier for you to incorporate, here's a sample one-day menu:
- Breakfast: two hard-boiled eggs, ½ cup of berries, and a handful of walnuts.
- Snack: homemade hummus with celery (recipe can be found here)
- Lunch: 2 organic, grass fed sausages (chicken, pork, turkey) sautéed in coconut oil or butter with butter or coconut oil roasted veggies (such as Brussels sprouts and beets)
- Snack: apple with nuts OR ½ of a natural bar of your choice
- Dinner: beef tenderloin with sautéed bok choy, garlic and spinach. Flavor with juice from half a lemon and a dash sea salt.
For more information on this diet (and the diet your man should be following when you’re trying to get pregnant) and other lifestyle adjustments you can make to improve your fertility, check out my latest book: Yes, You Can Get Pregnant: Natural Ways To Improve Your Fertility Now and Into Your 40s.