Can Your Diet Really Affect Fertility?

by Isabella Griffiths

Infertility is a common problem in the United States. Both men and women struggle with this predicament, with the Office of Women’s Health reporting that a third of infertility issues come from women and another third from men.

Many couples who are having trouble conceiving are told that their eating habits may contribute to their fertility problems. Indeed, a healthy diet can help in many ways, including fertility. To better understand and appreciate the impact of diet on reproductive health, this article will dive into the link between the two.

The link between diet and fertility

The primary way diet affects fertility in women is by affecting their ovulation. Ovulation is when the ovary releases an egg and prepares it for fertilization. A woman’s body needs to develop an adequate hormonal function to ovulate successfully. A poor diet can lead to hormonal imbalances that can make it harder for your body to ovulate and, in turn, make it more difficult to get pregnant. Furthermore, being underweight or overweight due to poor eating habits can also contribute to difficulties when conceiving.

For men, the role that diet plays in sperm quality cannot be emphasized enough. Studies have shown that vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and seafood are positively associated with sperm quality. Having healthy sperm, as seen through movement and shape, is the best way to improve the chances of conceiving and ensure the baby’s health. When men adhere to consistently healthy dietary patterns, they can best protect the concentration and motility of their sperm and increase their chances of conceiving with their partners.

Diet tips to improve your fertility

Having established the link between diet and fertility, here are a few tips to help you aid your reproductive function:

1. Follow a custom diet

You can boost your chances through a balanced diet if you’re trying to conceive. A custom diet specifically designed with fertility in mind can help you get pregnant faster and have healthy babies. If you have trouble with weight fluctuations, one of the custom diet’s features should be a weight loss plan to help make conception and child-bearing more possible. It’s important to note that a custom diet is not the same as a restrictive diet. Instead, it’s a way of eating that helps you create a positive relationship with food, supplies you with the proper nutrients, and ultimately optimizes your chances of conceiving.

2. Check your vitamin and mineral intake

If you’re trying to conceive, you’ll want to ensure your micronutrient intake is on point. It’s essential to get enough nutrients that help regulate your reproductive system and hormone production—including vitamins B6, B9, B12, C, D, E, zinc, selenium, and iron. Although you can get these nutrients from supplements, a balanced diet is still the best source. To this end, healthy fats like avocados and nuts can help by supporting healthy hormone levels. On the other hand, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and tuna, can help reduce inflammation in the body, which may play a role in improving egg quality. Once you are pregnant, omega-3 fatty acids are great for the brain development of babies.

3. Avoid processed foods

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, certain foods you’re eating may be holding you back. Processed foods are high in sugar and fat and contain chemicals, dyes, and preservatives that can negatively affect your body’s hormone balance if consumed regularly over time. These food items contribute to a diet rich in trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars, which studies have shown can negatively affect fertility. They are also often high in sodium, which can contribute to water retention and bloating. They can cause irregular periods or prevent ovulation altogether.

You may not realize it, but what you eat can hugely impact your fertility. By changing your diet and staying consistent, you can increase your chances of successfully conceiving healthy babies.

Dr. Alan Lindemann

Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB/GYN)​

He is an obstetrician and maternal mortality expert with 4 decades of medical practice beginning in Minnesota and presently in North Dakota. He has delivered around 6,000 babies with zero maternal deaths.

Why should you support Rural Doc Alan?

Dr. Lindemann delivered 6000 babies for over 40 years with no maternal mortalities, no eclampsia, and no babies with cerebral palsy. He tells his story here of how he did this in a medical environment that really doesn’t do well with deliveries. He openly admits that much he learned about safe pregnancy came from his patients, not medical books. Donating here will help spread the word to women everywhere so they can learn about safe pregnancy.