The Fertility Diet: What to Eat to Boost Your Chances of Conceiving

Are you trying to conceive and looking for the best fertility diet to help you do so? You may have heard of friends who ate certain foods and were able to get pregnant quickly, making you wonder if eating particular foods could really increase your chances of getting pregnant. Certain foods—from nutrient-dense superfoods like salmon and eggs to everyday staples like lentils and leafy greens—can help support reproductive health in both men and women. In this blog post, we'll explore the power of a healthy diet to boost fertility, and which foods can best help your chances of conception.

Learn more about services at CentreSpringMD: Fertility Support 

Basics of a fertility diet

There is undoubtedly a significant link between diet and fertility. Even though many questions about the best fertility diet remain unanswered, research shows that

The Standard American diet, with its high calorie foods, processed meats, and refined carbohydrates is not good for fertility in men or women. 

A Westernized diet that’s high in processed foods, simple carbohydrates, and low in fruits and vegetables can cause hormonal imbalance and ovulatory dysfunction, leading to difficulty conceiving (1). 

Eating a nutritious diet with foods rich in antioxidants, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and pastured dairy products support optimal reproductive health.

Fertility foods can also help balance reproductive hormones, help you get to a healthy weight, and ensure that you’re getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals to support a healthy pregnancy.

Related: The Integrative Medicine Guide to Infertility

Fruits & vegetables

Fruits and vegetables promote fertility by providing essential vitamins and minerals and antioxidants which help to support hormonal balance, regular ovulation, and semen quality. Going organic and non-GMO can provide additional protection against pesticide exposure which can interfere with fertility.

Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-rich sources of antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins including folate (folic acid) and B6, all of which are supportive of an optimal environment to conceive.

In fact, men and women who consume 3 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day were more likely to have better fertility health than those who consumed less (2). 

The best fruits and vegetables for fertility include leafy greens (like spinach, kale, arugula), cruciferous veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) and root vegetables like beets. Fruits such as melon, pineapple, all types of berries, and citrus.

Read more: How Do I Know If I'm Fertile? 

Complex carbs & whole grain

To support fertility, aim for more complex carbohydrates instead of "simple" (more processed) carbs. Simple carbohydrates are low in fiber and quickly spike blood sugar, which then causes a flood of insulin into the bloodstream. Prolonged high insulin levels can impede ovulation, known as ovulatory infertility. This is of special concern for those who have PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome (3). 

Complex carbohydrates contain more fiber which makes them digest more slowly and cause a more gradual rise in blood sugar. Think foods like quinoa, barley, sweet potatoes, and other whole grains to improve fertility.

These also tend to be more nutrient-dense with vitamin E, beta-carotene, and other phytonutrients.

Low carb and keto diets do not appear to result in improved fertility in most people, but may improve fertility in individuals who are overweight or obese (4). Keep in mind, however, that adequate carbohydrates are necessary for hypothalamus, pituitary, ovarian, and adrenal health, especially in women.

Healthy fats

Fats are essential for egg quality, hormone balance, circulation, and regulation of inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids—found in fish, flaxseed and walnuts—are especially important to include in your diet if you’re trying to get pregnant for both men and women. Omega-3s are abundant in the membranes of sperm cells, helping maintain flexibility and performance (5). 

Choline, found in highest quantities in healthy fats like egg yolks, is one little-known fertility nutrient necessary for placental development and the delivery of DHA to a growing baby (6). 

Aim to include good sources of unsaturated fats (like olive oil, nuts, avocados, and coconut) as well as small amounts of saturated fat from grass-fed animal products, eggs, and dairy. Avoid trans-fats completely.

Experience the difference: Why You Should See A Functional OB/GYN

Learn about becoming a new patient

High-quality, complete proteins

Proteins should be included in any diet for fertility as they are important for regulating the hormones needed for conception. Protein needs vary from person to person, but a general rule of about 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal appears most beneficial. Proteins are the building blocks to life, so optimal fertility depends on adequate protein. 

Proteins are also a great source of iron, vitamin B12, and zinc, which are needed for both ovulation in women and healthy sperm in men (1). These nutrients can be difficult to consume in adequate quantities for individuals who don’t eat animal protein. It’s for this reason that fertility doctors don’t usually recommend a vegan diet for women trying to get pregnant.

Good sources of lean protein include wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, organic chicken and turkey, eggs (including egg whites), beans, and legumes. Quality dairy products like yogurt and kefir can also provide protein.

Read: Tips to Increase Male Fertility: Diet, Lifestyle, & Supplements 

Foods that negatively affect fertility

Diet is a highly individual factor for reproductive health, but there are certain things that are recommended to avoid if you’re trying to conceive.

  • A diet high in added sugars and processed carbohydrates. These can exacerbate insulin resistance which may inhibit ovulation, especially for women who have PCOS.
  • Highly-processed foods contain preservatives, food dyes, and are usually devoid of nutrients. To optimize fertility, these types of foods should be kept to a minimum.
  • Trans fats have been linked to decreased fertility rates, and should be avoided as much as possible.
  • Alcohol. If you’re actively trying to get pregnant, both men and women should avoid alcohol.
  • Excessive caffeine intake more than 400 mg per day.

Improving egg quality with diet & lifestyle

Developing egg cells mature up to 90 days before ovulation, which provides an opportunity to protect them from oxidative damage and provide them with the best start possible (7).  

To protect developing eggs and increase antioxidant activity, consider:

Get started with your preconception health at CentreSpringMD now.

Get a preconception checkup with functional medicine

Prenatal care at CentreSpringMD starts well before you pick out a prenatal vitamin. Our providers encourage a “preconception physical”

Schedule an appointment with your functional medicine doctor where he or she will evaluate your overall health, address any underlying health conditions, and help you build an optimal environment in which to conceive.

In summary, a healthy fertility diet should include plenty of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats (like olive oil, fatty fish, nuts, avocados, and coconut). Limit or avoid highly processed foods and trans fats, and include adequate protein. Work with a qualified functional nutritionist to ensure your preconception health and give your little one the best start possible.




Fertility, Holistic Medicine, infertility, nutrition

Ready to Get Started?

Shop The Blog

Why Choose to Autoship?
  • Automatically re-order your favorite products on your schedule.
  • Easily change the products or shipping date for your upcoming Scheduled Orders.
  • Pause or cancel any time.