Hoping to conceive? These foods could help increase your fertility
Many people will be on hand to offer well-meaning advice if you tell them you’re looking to conceive, including around diet. That said, sometimes this advice can be a little confusing – or even contradictory.
To combat this confusion, we’ve put together a handy list of nutrients that may help increase your chances of getting pregnant and in what foods you can find them, so you can pop a few on your next shopping list.
How it helps: Iron helps make red blood cells, which keeps oxygen flowing around the body. Whether iron actually makes you more fertile is unproven. What it does help with is your health during pregnancy, should you conceive. That’s why ensuring good iron intake levels is a good idea for women who are planning to get pregnant. Find it in: Meats such as red meat, pork and poultry are where we typically get iron from our diets in Ireland. Dark greens such as spinach (also a source of B6 and B12, more of which below) are also solid iron sources. Iron-rich snacks include sunflower seeds, nuts and dark chocolate.
How it helps: Zinc strongly contributes to reproductive hormone production in women. It also aids semen and testosterone production in men. Find it in: Seafood is a great source of zinc, in particular shellfish such as crab and lobster. Dairy products, beans, nuts and wholegrain are also good here. Zinc-rich snacks include fortified cereals like bran, pumpkin and sesame seeds, pomegranates and avocados.
How it helps: The eight B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) are essential to keeping us energised in daily life. B6 increases female fertility while there are studies which suggest that B12 may improve sperm counts and sperm’s ability to swim. Find them in: Seafood, bananas, leafy greens and legumes are all good source of B vitamins. Low-fat dairy, cheese and eggs are also sources; fortified soy products (tofu, soy milk) are good too.
Some other things to keep top of mind when it comes to ensuring optimal fertility? Maintaining a healthy BMI, reducing your stress levels and avoiding smoking or alcohol.