One question that I’m always asked is “What foods are especially good for optimizing fertility?” So today I’m giving you my top superfoods that are specific to enhancing fertility and nourishing the hormonal system. Some of the foods below are both inexpensive and highly nutritious, while others do cost a bit more but can go a long way toward improving your fertility health and normalizing hormones, without resorting to drugs. Some of these foods are also excellent detoxifying agents, which is yet another important factor to consider when preparing to conceive, as most of us are exposed to toxic chemicals on a daily basis, which is especially detrimental to the very fragile reproductive system.
Maca is a root-like vegetable, shaped like a turnip. It grows at 12,000 feet above sea level and is only found in the high Andes of Peru and Ecuador. Maca is a nourishing food for the endocrine system, aiding the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands, which are all involved in hormonal balance.
For more than two millennia, native Peruvians have used Maca root as food and medicine to promote fertility, endurance, energy, vitality, and sexual virility.
What makes Maca good for fertility?
Maca has the ability to affect key hormones in both women and men without containing hormones itself. Its main action is to stimulate and nourish the pituitary gland, acting as a tonic for the hormone system. When the pituitary gland functions optimally, the entire endocrine system becomes balanced, because the pituitary gland controls the hormone output of the other three glands.
In women, maca works by controlling estrogen and progesterone in the body. Estrogen or progesterone levels that are high or low at the wrong time can keep a woman from becoming pregnant or keep her from carrying a pregnancy to term. Excess estrogen levels also cause progesterone levels to decline, known as estrogen dominance. Taking maca may help to balance the estrogen to progesterone ratio which is essential to getting pregnant successfully and carrying a healthy, full term pregnancy.
Maca can help to balance estrogen levels in men, just like in women. Too much estrogen in men produces erectile dysfunction or lack of libido, low sperm count, and lowered production of seminal fluid. A recent study has shown that men who regularly consume Maca experienced an increase in libido, sperm count, motility of sperm, increased DHEA levels, decreased anxiety and stress, lowered blood pressure, balanced iron levels and an increase in adrenal androgens.
To find out more about why Maca is great for Fertility, check out this blog post: Maca Root: A Real Superfood To Improve Your Fertility.
In traditional Chinese medicine, eggs have a long history as a fertility booster, energizer, and blood strengthener. Eggs are symbols of rebirth and renewal – life bursts forth from this otherwise plain, inanimate object that gives no hint as to what it contains. The egg is the main symbol of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Easter, and the accompanying Easter eggs, was originally the celebration of Ishtar.
What makes Egg Yolks so good for fertility?
Egg yolks can honestly be considered “nature’s multivitamin”. The egg yolk supplies almost all of the whole egg’s iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B-6, folate and vitamin B-12. It also contains 100 percent of the egg’s vitamin A, which includes two antioxidant carotenoids – lutein and zeaxanthin.
Egg yolks from PASTURE-RAISED chickens are extremely rich in fertility boosting omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA; the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and vitamin K2 – which is very important in forming healthy bones, quick blood clotting, and regulated menstrual cycles. But they are especially rich in a nutrient many people have never heard of: choline – which is essential for proper development in fetuses.
Egg yolks are very easy to digest and have been compared to breast milk for their high nutritional value. They also have a great deal of zinc and magnesium which is important for a healthy immune system.
It should be noted that it’s super important to consume eggs from organic, pasture-raised chickens, and here’s why: egg yolks from pasture-raised chickens contain up to TWENTY TIMES more healthy omega-3 fatty acids, than those from factory raised chickens.
To find out more about why Egg Yolks are great for Fertility, check out this blog post: Egg Yolks: Nature’s Multivitamin for Fertility.
Chia – also known as salvia hispanica L – literally means “strength” in Mayan. It can be traced back over 3,000 years to Central America where the Aztecs utilized it as one of their primary plant sources of food – notably their third most important crop next to corn and beans! Chia was considered more valuable than gold, and was often used to pay taxes and tribute to the Aztec nobility.
What makes Chia Seeds good for fertility?
Well, they are chockablock full of all sorts of nutrients critical for fertility health! The most important? Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-3 EFAs are essential in regulating hormones, increasing blood flow to the uterus, reducing sensitivity to the hormone prolactin (which can suppress ovulation), normalizing your cycle, and – most importantly – increasing your cervical mucus, which is needed to help the sperm reach the egg.
Chia has the highest Omega-3 content of any plant-based source, containing 64% alpha linolenic acid (ALA). Flax, another popular source of ALA, only contains 55%! So for all of our non-fish eating friends, chia seeds are going to help you get those crucial Omega-3 EFAs!
EFAs are important for the respiration of vital organs, yet the human body is unable to manufacture them itself; they must be obtained through diet.
In men, Omega-3 EFAs help to improve circulation to the genitals, which helps to support the prostate – another key element needed in reproduction. You know what else benefits when we improve circulation to the genitals? NO MORE ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION. That’s a definite bonus for fertility ;).
To find out more about why Chia Seeds are great for Fertility, check out this blog post: Chia Seeds: A Real Superfood To Improve Your Fertility.
Mollusks – specifically oysters, clams, and mussels – are nutrient-dense foods that featured widely in the diet of early humans. Diets from back in the day had a best-practice that translates into modern diets – consuming the whole animal. Organ meat in animals is rich in important fat soluble vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients, so consuming shellfish makes this practice rather easy. The same can be said about wild-caught fatty fish – consume the whole fish to ensure you are getting everything that the fish has to offer.
What makes Wild Caught Fish and Seafood so good for fertility?
The obvious answer – all of those essential fatty acids! Loading up on these EFAs allows for increased blood flow to reproductive organs and may help to regulate your reproductive hormones as well. Omega-3 fatty acids can increase cervical mucus, promote ovulation and overall improve the quality of the uterus by increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs. Omega-3’s are also anti-inflammatory, therefore helping to reduce inflammation in the body which can be a mega fertility downer. It’s especially important to reduce inflammation in the pelvic area for healthy fertility.
Beyond the EFAs that fish and seafood provide, they are chockablock full of Vitamin D. For women looking to get pregnant, Vitamin D is of particular importance as several studies indicate that low levels of vitamin D may negatively impact fertility. It is not entirely clear how vitamin D is involved in fertility, but researchers suspect that one of the ways it may improve fertility is by making the uterine lining more receptive to pregnancy. Research also indicates that vitamin D plays a role in hormone production, including production of hormones that control reproduction. Bottom line is that vitamin D is super important for optimal fertility, and wild caught fish is a fantastic food source.
Another mega important fertility nutrient is zinc. Found in high amounts in oysters, clams, and mussels, zinc is capable of improving sperm quality in men – it has been shown to improve sperm count and motility, therefore improving conception rate. Men who increased their seafood intake improved sperm production significantly.
In women, a zinc deficiency can disrupt your menstrual cycle, and negatively impact egg quality – neither of which is ideal for your fertility health. Because zinc is such a potent antioxidant, it plays a large role in egg quality.
To find out more about why Wild Caught Fish and Seafood are great for Fertility, check out this blog post: Wild Caught Fish and Seafood: Superfoods for Fertility.
Broth or stock (as it is commonly called) is a mineral-rich infusion made by boiling bones of healthy animals with vegetables, herbs and spices. It has been used for centuries in many traditional cultures as a healing, and fertility-enhancing food. Ancient South American proverbs tell that broth is capable of decreasing the pain of childbirth. Ancient Chinese Medicine practices dictate that bones are associated with the kidney system and the bone marrow is associated with the kidney jing – the deepest level of our body. Jing represents our foundation, life force, genetics, libido, fertility, memory and brain function. The Jewish refer to bone broth as ‘Jewish Penicillin’ – it cures all things.
What makes Bone Broth good for fertility?
Bone broth is one of our most healing diet staples. It contains valuable minerals in a form your body can easily absorb and use, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur chondroitin, glucosamine, and a variety of trace minerals that are vital for creating a healthy new life.
Gut Health: Your gut health is directly linked to your hormonal health – if you have a leaky gut, your body is unable to properly absorb the nutrients and minerals it needs to produce hormones. That’s how vital your gut health is to a balanced hormonal system! The majority of the women I work with to improve fertility and/or optimize hormone balance have some kind of digestive challenge – constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, IBS, food allergies, and more. Bone broth helps to heal and seal your gut, preventing leaky gut and the resulting food allergy development, while also helping to promote healthy digestion. The gelatin found in bone broth is actually what is responsible for this healing and sealing. It essentially fills in the holes of a leaky gut and should be a part of any gut healing regimen.
Amino Acids: Bone broth is a rich source of the amino acids proline, glycine, glutamine and arginine. These amino acids are essential for hormone production and for proper liver detoxification which allows your body to get rid of the hormones already used up so they don’t continue circulating in the bloodstream, wreaking havoc on hormone balance. Having a strong supply of amino acids in your body ensures the best internal ecosystem for optimum fertility.
To find out more about why Bone Broth is great for Fertility, check out this blog post: Bone Broth: A Fix All Elixir.
The nutritional wisdom of our ancestors has been mostly lost in our modern day society. Traditionally, every native culture had sacred foods that were fed to newly married couples, pregnant women and children. These foods contained a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals that nourish growing babies and children. One of these sacred foods is liver!
What makes Liver good for fertility?
Liver is perhaps one of the most nutrient-dense, and valuable additions for couples who are planning to conceive and who wish to optimize their children’s nutrition in the womb. Liver is a rich source of folate, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin A. All of which are necessary for healthy fertility. It also packs a punch of Vitamin B12, which is required for proper formation of red blood cells and DNA.
Besides being the ultimate source of true vitamin A and folate, liver is also a rich source of essential saturated fat, cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins – all crucial players for fertility, pregnancy, and fetal development.
To find out more about why Liver is great for Fertility, check out this blog post: Liver: A powerhouse of vitamins and minerals.
Lacto-fermentation is an ancient method of food preservation that has been around for thousands of years. Many different cultures around the world have used this technique in some form or another – for food preservation and also for INCREASING the nutritional benefit of various foods. Lacto-fermented foods are not only “preserved” but are nutrient-dense, enzyme rich and alive with probiotics.
What makes Fermented Foods good for fertility?
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worthy of repeating – a healthy gut is one of the first steps in preparing your body for pregnancy. Everything you consume now will affect the health of your future baby. The baby that will soon be growing in your womb? That baby’s digestive tract will be colonized by the same bacteria as yours! How crazy is that?!
Fermented foods provide beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and lauric acid – all of which promote a happy digestive tract. They promote the growth of health bacteria, but not only in your stomach, but in your vagina too. When you have a balanced pH vaginally, you have optimal cervical mucus which, in turn, is essential to conception. When you’re harboring unhealthy bacteria in your vagina, it can reduce your cervical mucus so much, that your chances are conceiving are dramatically decreased.
To find out more about why Fermented Foods are great for Fertility, check out this blog post: Fermented Foods: The secret ingredient to a healthy gut.
This won’t come as a surprise to you, but cows were grass fed – and only grass fed – long before you and I were born. Before hormones and GMO’s were introduced into the world of farming and food production. Back in the gool ol’ days, a deep orange butter was a sacred food given as a wedding gift to a newly married couple as a symbol of fertility amongst traditional people.
For thousands of years people have been using derivatives of coconuts. Some of the earliest documented evidence for coconut oil uses goes back to the Ayurvedic medicine in Sanskrit from 1500 BC! In traditional medicine, coconut oil has been used to treat a whole myriad of ailments including: asthma, bronchitis, constipation, hormone imbalance, thyroid dysfunction, dysentery, gingivitis, kidney stones, irregular or painful menstruation, nausea, skin infections, and ulcers … among a number of other things!
What makes Grass-Fed Butter and Coconut Oil good for fertility?
Fat intake is essential in preparing your body for a baby. We need a certain amount of saturated fats to produce cholesterol, the mother hormone. All of our major reproductive hormones – specifically estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol – are produced from cholesterol. Cholesterol is literally the mother hormone that turns into each of the necessary hormones to make a baby! Saturated fat like grass-fed butter, ghee and coconut oil is vital for balancing reproductive hormones and virility. And, we know that we cannot conceive a child or have a healthy pregnancy without proper hormonal balance.
Grass-fed butter and coconut oil are amazing healthy fats that provide the building blocks for hormone production. Bright yellow butter – raw and from grass-fed cows – is a wonderful source of fertility-supporting vitamins A, D, E, K2 and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (an antioxidant with anti-viral properties if sourced from grass fed cows). The amazing fats found in butter helps the body absorb and use key minerals like calcium, magnesium, selenium, and iodine.
Coconut oil is extremely good for proper thyroid function, which is essential for regulating hormones and ovulation cycles. Coconut oil also helps with increasing insulin sensitivity which is very important for increasing the likelihood of pregnancy and reducing the occurrence of gestational diabetes. Coconut products also contain a high amount of lauric acid, one of the main fatty acids found in breastmilk that is responsible for building your baby’s immune system properly.
To find out more about why Grass-Fed Butter & Coconut Oil are great for Fertility, check out this blog post: Grass-Fed Butter & Coconut Oil: My favorite fats!
Spirulina is a super nutrient-rich, blue-green algae that have been been consumed for thousands of years by many cultures. The Aztecs gave it to their runners and warriors for strength and endurance.
What makes Spirulina good for fertility?
Spirulina is a true superfood as it is densely packed with vitamins such as non-toxic vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), B vitamins, iron, minerals, trace elements, antioxidants, chlorophyll, and phytonutrients that help to alkalinize the body and nourish the eggs. It’s also a great source of protein.
Unlike most vegetable sourced protein, spirulina is over 50% “complete” protein. The nourishing, regenerating, immune supporting, balancing, and immense benefits of spirulina place it as an incredible fertility superfood.
Honey and Royal Jelly have been known for their healing ingredients since ancient times. Its health benefits became very popular upon use by the pope in the 1950s, who was suffering from both age and asthmatic problems. At that time, so many Catholics and Christians began seeking it that it became scarce and likely why it became expensive. In addition, the Chinese have used it for generations as well as the Asiatic peoples.
What makes Royal Jelly good for fertility?
It’s quite literally the Queen bee’s equivalent of hormonal stimulation. Royal jelly is a rich, creamy, white and opalescent liquid that is produced by worker bees. It is used exclusively for the nourishment of the queen bee, who is recognized for her longevity and fertility (compared with regular worker bees who live for just 1-2 months), energy, and stamina for reproductive capability. When honey and pollen are combined and refined within the worker bee, royal jelly is naturally created.
Royal jelly has been shown to help balance hormones, enhance sexual desire and performance, increase egg quality and quantity, greatly improve energy levels thereby helping eliminate fatigue, fortify the immune system to help your body fight infections and diseases. Royal jelly is a very rich source of proteins and contains eight amino acids, important fatty acids, lipids, glucides, sterols, phosphorous components as well as acetylcholine and specific vital factors that act as biocatalysts in cell regeneration processes within the human body. It contains high levels of vitamins D and E, and also has ample levels of iron and calcium. As all of these are essential to proper health and organ function, it is very easy to see how Royal Jelly can help with in assisting with fertility.
It is extremely important to note that Royal Jelly should not be taken by everyone. As with anything, even those things that are natural, it is possible for an individual to have an allergic reaction from consuming the jelly. If you know that you have an allergy to bee stings or even an allergy to honey, you should not take Royal Jelly, as side effects and reactions can include minor to severe skin irritations, difficulty breathing or even anaphylactic shock.
I’d love to use this space as a forum of sorts, providing inspiration and community among my readers, so … I want to hear from you!
How many of these Superfoods do you already consume on a regular basis?
Incorporating some of these foods into your diet can be tough – do you have any go-to recipes that include any of these Superfoods?
Have you used any of my top ten Superfoods for Fertility to help you successfully conceive?
Spread some Superfoods for Fertility lovin’! Sharing is caring, and I bet you have some friends who would love to read this too :).
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