Food for Fertility

Rainbow of food

Food for fertility is really important when starting to consider having a family. When you come to see me for fertility support you will also get advice on food for fertility that can help you. Now, I hate discussing ‘diet’ because that imediatley makes you think weight loss, chinese medicine doesn’t view food in this way. Food is seen as health and medicine, not weight loss so you will get a list of foods from me that will support any imbalances that you have in your diagnosis. This could be for kidney, liver, spleen or blood stagnation. These foods are primarily to improve any imbalances.

We say eat a rainbow of food on your plate because each food has a variety of minerals and vitamins and if you eat a ‘beige’ diet then you are not getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. We also suggest eating seasonally and organically if you can and avoid processed foods wherever possible. Yellow and orange vegetables contain lots of beta carotene, an antioxidant, which has been shown to maintain hormone balance and prevent miscarriage. Red vegetables such as tomatoes contain lycopene, a carotenoid, which has been shown to increase sperm counts. Leafy green vegetables contain folic acid which is important for preventing birth defects and is a vital ingredient for healthy sperm and eggs. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage contain a phytonutrient called DIM which helps with estrogen metabolism and prevents fibroids and endometriosis. In fact, a 2004 study found that women who ate the most fruits and veggies had the lowest rates of endometriosis.

A lot of people don’t realize that you do need some fat in your diet in order to create certain hormones it’s important to include healthy sources of fat in your diet such as olive oil nuts, seeds, avocado, and oily fish. Therefore a low fat diet when trying to concieve is a no no.

Some people don’t get enough protein which is unfortunate because the amino acids in protein are vital for egg and sperm production, and for making LH and FSH which are important fertility hormones. You can get your protein from meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, of course, but there are plenty of vegetarian sources of protein too, including beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa and other whole grains, nuts and seeds (especially sunflower seeds).

One key thing that is often overlooked for fertility is water. It’s really important to hydrate properly for eggs and sperm to be of good quality. None of us drink enough water but it is the key to life and so should be at the top of your priority list throughout the day. Drinking herbal teas is good to help hydrate if you are not a fan of plain water. Dehydration can lead to lower production of the fertile cervical fluid needed at ovulation and can lower semen volume.