The road to pregnancy is a challenging one for some people. If you have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), you may be able to relate.
People with PCOS have a higher level of ‘male’ hormones (also known as androgens). This interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). Studies have shown that PCOS accounts for 80% of anovulatory infertility cases.
Naturally, stats like these can sound worrying if you have PCOS and you’re trying to conceive. But rest assured that PCOS is one of the most treatable causes of infertility.
Please note this blog post is not a substitute for official medical advice and is for informational purposes only. If you are concerned about your fertility, suspect you have an underlying health condition or wish to start a new diet/lifestyle/supplement plan, please consult your doctor first. Neither the author(s) nor the publishers of this content take responsibility for any potential health consequences. Nor side effects experienced by any person following this educational content.
10 Foods to Boost Your Fertility
Several lifestyle factors improve fertility, including a nutritious, well-balanced diet to aid the functioning and regulation of the reproductive system.
While there’s no single food item that instantly increases your chance of getting pregnant, there are numerous foods that can increase fertility in men and women. As well as aid in reproductive health, and prepare your body for pregnancy.
Let’s take a look at the best foods for optimizing your diet for fertility.
Nuts are packed with antioxidants, which can deactivate the free radicals in the body that may damage both sperm and egg cells. They are also full of blood-sugar-stabilizing healthy fats, which make them a great snack. Stabilizing blood sugar is important for proper ovulation and egg quality.
Nuts are among the most nutrient-dense foods out there. They can be a key element of fertility nutrition, pregnancy nutrition, and beyond. As they are a valuable source of protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, a key nutrient shown to improve sperm count and sperm motility in some men. What’s more, sunflower seeds are packed with folate (the natural form of vitamin B9 in food, the synthetic form being folic acid) and selenium, both of which are important for female and male fertility. Sunflower seeds have Omega-3 but for all the health benefits of omega-3 fats for PCOS Cysters check out this blog post.
Sprinkle sunflower seeds over your salad, or roast them in olive oil and season with salt, pepper, or a seasoning of your choice.
Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens such as spinach and romaine lettuce contain folate, the B vitamin known to improve ovulation. They are also rich in fiber and great for blood sugar stability.
Incorporate leafy greens into your diet by adding them to soups, stews, and sandwiches. Check out this Mediterranean no-cook bowl from The Cysterhood!
Beans and lentils
Replacing some animal protein (such as meat, fish, and eggs) with vegetable protein sources (such as seeds, beans, nuts, and lentils) is linked to a reduced risk of infertility. One study found that consuming vegetable protein instead of carbohydrates or animal protein was associated with a substantially lower risk of ovulatory infertility. Be sure to be aware of the amount of carbs you are consuming when opting for plant-based proteins.
Beans and lentils are packed with fiber and folate, both of which are integral to regulating a healthy hormonal balance. Lentils also contain high levels of polyamine spermidine, which may help sperm fertilize the egg.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and fat. One serving of chia seeds has more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, and more antioxidants than berries.
Add a scoop to your protein shake or your overnight oats to get your daily serving of chia seeds. They’re also great for your digestion and detoxifying excess hormones. There are lots of chia seed recipes in The Cysterhood, like this blackberry chia seed pudding. It’s our fav ingredient!
According to a study, cinnamon has an insulin-sensitizing effect and improves menstrual cyclicity in women with PCOS. More regular cycles mean more opportunities to conceive, so these are promising findings.
Sprinkle cinnamon powder over porridge or apple slices for a tasty breakfast or snack. Or, consider taking a supplement, once you’ve consulted your doctor.
Fresh, wild salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to balance reproductive hormones, increase blood flow to the uterus, curb inflammation, and regulate the menstrual cycle.
Be mindful of mercury levels in fish when you’re trying to conceive and during pregnancy. Invest in wild-caught salmon, rather than farm-raised, to minimize the risk of mercury contamination and toxic food dyes. Avoid eating raw or cured fish when pregnant.
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are some of the best sources of vitamin C. They’re also packed with potassium, calcium, and that all-important folate. This helps regulate ovulation and create a healthy environment for egg fertilization.
Chop them up and enjoy in fruit salads with a side of nuts for blood sugar stability.
If you love guac, you’re in luck! Avocados are nutritionally rich fruit and a fantastic source of vitamin E, which may improve the lining of the uterus, according to studies. Avocados are also high in potassium, folate, and vitamin K, which aids the absorption of other vitamins. This is ideal for PCOS Cysters, who are commonly deficient in certain vitamins and minerals.
Chop it up and add it to your toast, turn it into guac, or add it to smoothies for a creamy, full-fat dairy alternative. Right now, I’m loving this avocado tuna salad recipe in The Cysterhood!
Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants, as well as key nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and many other vitamins and minerals that support fertility and cell health.
Sprinkle the seeds over your salad, eat them raw as a tasty snack, or drink pomegranate juice.
PCOS Fertility Diet
If you’re looking to manage PCOS symptoms and improve your fertility, you might want to consider making some dietary changes. Many nutrition experts recommend a balanced diet of fertility foods. These include complex carbs, lean protein, daily vitamins, and healthy fats. So, for a great fertility diet, you could try incorporating whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean meats, fish, nuts, and seeds into your meals.
On the other hand, it’s generally a good idea to limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and saturated fats. Additionally, some research suggests that eating anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, ginger, and omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for some people with PCOS. However, it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized advice.
Take action now to improve your fertility by incorporating these 10 nutrient-rich foods into your diet today!
It’s also worth noting that while healthy fats boost fertility and overall health, trans fats may increase the risk of ovulatory infertility. As high quantities impair insulin sensitivity. Trans fats are typically found in hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, and baked goods, such as cakes, pizza, cookies, and crackers. If you need some PCOS-friendly snacking inspo, check out our handy blog post here.
Foods play a significant role in fertility, particularly if you have PCOS. A combination of nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle factors will give you the best possible chance of conceiving.