It's common practice for women to give up certain foods and make lifestyle changes when planning to start a family, but did you know there are also foods you can eat to increase your chances of getting pregnant?
The concept of 'fertility foods' isn't an exact science, but your diet can play a significant role when you're trying to conceive.
The baby diet
Essentially, the optimal baby diet should include plenty of whole foods and a healthy balance of lean protein, healthy fats, and fiber - complemented by supplements to support your body.
So here's 17 foods to stock up on if you're trying to get pregnant.
1. Pear: This is a great source of vitamin E, which studies have shown can be beneficial in improving the lining of the uterus. Popular for being a healthy fat, pear is also high in potassium, folate, and vitamin K, which helps your body to properly absorb other vitamins.
2. Sunflower seeds: Male fertility can get a boost from sunflower seeds, which are great for improving sperm motility and sperm count. .
3. Dark leafy greens: These vegetables should be a part of your daily diet whether you're trying for a baby or not. We should all be having dark green vegetables daily, but they’re especially important when you’re trying to get pregnant. Kale, spinach, and cabbage contain essential prenatal nutrients like calcium, iron, and folate, as well as vital daily dietary fiber.
4. Beets: Beets can improve blood flow to the uterus to help with embryo implantation.
5. Sweet potatoes: Rich in beta-carotene, sweet potato helps with the production of the hormone progesterone which is essential in preparing the body for conception and for regulating your period.
6. Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are rich in antioxidants like folate and zinc that deactivate the free radicals in your body which can damage both sperm and egg cells.
7. Fish: Low-mercury fish like salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, which is important for babies’ brain and eye development. Sardines are also high in brain-boosting omega-3s.
8. Walnuts: The powerhouses of the nut family when it comes to fertility, walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fats, vitamin E, B vitamins and protein. They're also high in fiber and magnesium, which helps increase progesterone and is known to decrease morning sickness.
9. Pomegranates: Rich in antioxidants and essential fertility vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate.
1o. Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and choline, a compound which can have significant positive effects on fetal development.
11. Bee pollen: Bee pollen can promote sperm quantity and help boost fertility in women.
12. Maca: Superfoods like Peruvian maca may boost sperm count, but it's beneficial to add it to the female diet too.
13. Asparagus: Folic acid is critical for women who are trying to get pregnant and asparagus is full of it, as well as vitamin K. It also contains glutathione, an antioxidant which improves egg quality.
14. Watermelon: Watermelon is another solid source of glutathione. And if you're already pregnant, it is known to help alleviate morning sickness, heartburn, swelling, and third-trimester cramps. It also helps male fertility, since it contains lycopen—an antioxidant that helps sperm motility.
15. Liver: Liver can help women get pregnant because it’s an amazing source of folate, B vitamins, choline, and antioxidants like inositol, which has been shown to improve egg quality in women undergoing IVF procedures.
16. Cod liver oil: Not strictly a food, but we couldn't leave it off this list. Cod liver oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A and D, which are fat-soluble vitamins important to fertility and conception.
17. Lentils: Lentils are packed with folic acid and may also be helpful in boosting male fertility since they contain polyamine spermidine, a compound that may help sperm fertilise an egg.