Fertility, the right diet to increase it


  • 1 Fertility: how to improve it?
  • 2 The Mediterranean diet for fertility
  • 3 Mediterranean diet: the benefits for fertility
  • 4 Diet for fertility: which foods to prefer
  • 5 Fertility diet: which foods to avoid
  • 6 Attitudes to improve fertility

In the country, one in five couples have a hard time having a baby. A study published in the international journal "Fertility and Sterility" highlights how a healthy diet can help increase fertility and therefore the chances of conception.

Fertility: how to improve it?

Some factors such as sexually transmitted diseases, endometriosis, alcohol, drug and tobacco abuse, polycystic ovary, pollution, work stress and especially body weight can somehow affect fertility. According to the authoritative journal "The British Fertility Society", a balanced diet combined with a correct lifestyle can promote conception. Harvard Medical School scholars in Cambridge also suggest getting in shape before trying to get pregnant. 

Being overweight and underweight are unfavorable conditions for fertility. In the first case, the excess of hydrogen in the blood prolongs the cycle making the maturation of the follicle (the egg cell awaiting fertilization) ineffective. Being underweight, on the other hand, alters aromatase, the enzyme useful for calibrating estrogen (steroid hormones present in the ovary and placenta in childbearing age). 

Being of normal weight favors pregnancy and helps to carry it out optimally. Naturally, nutrition must be studied with a nutritionist or in any case a specialist doctor. However, experts do provide general guidance on foods and nutrients that promote fertility.

The Mediterranean diet for fertility

The Mediterranean diet is the most suitable for increasing the chances of conception. Therefore it is important to introduce foods rich in Omega 3 in the daily menu. The precious essential fats are present in dried fruit and blue fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies and the like) and contribute to brain development as well as to the adequate maturation of the ovum. 

Following a healthy and balanced diet, without excessive restrictions but with an adequate supply of nutrients, at least six months before a planned pregnancy, increases the chances of success by 60-65%. Therefore, green light for foods that are a source of folic acid, a vitamin belonging to group B (B9). Furthermore, during pregnancy it intervenes in the formation of fetal DNA and in the transmission of hereditary characters. It is also necessary to prefer those foods rich in polyphenols (antioxidants, naturally present in the plant kingdom), vitamins (D and C), iron and proteins of vegetable origin.

Mediterranean diet: the benefits for fertility

More than a list of foods, the Mediterranean diet is a real lifestyle. Inspired by the most popular models of some regions belonging to the Mediterranean basin, it was recognized in 2022 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to The British Fertility Society magazine, it is important to pay attention to carbohydrates to promote fertility. Naturally present in bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, they help raise blood sugar levels. To restore balance, the pancreas secretes insulin which consequently increases testosterone. The hormone is also physiologically present in women, but in minimal quantities so as not to hinder conception. 

This does not mean completely eliminating carbohydrates from the diet, but simply choosing those with low glycemic consumption, such as whole grains, to be included in the first two meals of the day and to accompany protein products such as yogurt, milk, meat, fish. or bresaola. Meat consumption should be limited to no more than five times a week, to be alternated with legumes and blue fish. 

On the table, fruit and a generous dose of fresh seasonal vegetables should never be missing at every meal. Go ahead also for dried fruit (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) but without exaggerating. To dress the dishes, prefer raw extra virgin olive oil and only occasionally use seed oil for possible and sporadic frying or the preparation of low-calorie sweets.

Fertility diet: which foods to prefer

The foods that stimulate ovulation and especially conception are many. The nutrients simply need to be combined with each other in the most appropriate way. In summary, it is necessary to prefer foods that are a source of:

  • Omega 3 which are rich in blue fish, leafy vegetables, dried fruit as well as extra virgin olive oil.
  • Vitamin B (in particular B9 and B12) contained in blue fish and in foods of animal origin, such as pork.
  • Folic acid in which tomatoes, legumes, lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, fresh fruit (strawberries, kiwis and especially oranges) and dried fruit, cereals, brewer's yeast and germ germ are especially rich. grain.
  • Vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant and antihistamine contained in tubers, fresh fruit and in particular in citrus fruits, vegetables and fresh vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and peppers.
  • Plant-based proteins present in legumes and cereals. However, it is recommended not to ban animal proteins entirely.
  • Mineral salts. Zinc helps maintain hormonal balance, while iron reduces cases of miscarriage, as does Co-Enzyme Q10, manganese, magnesium, calcium and selenium. Prefer the consumption of chicken, orange and strawberry juice, tofu, peanuts, spinach and broccoli.

Fertility diet: which foods to avoid

To increase the chances of conception it is not necessary to banish lipids, but only to choose the right ones. In this regard, green light for polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish, linseed, algae, hemp, seed oil, corn, peanuts and grape seeds. The typical fast food foods based on fries, margarine and rectified oils must be absolutely eliminated because they increase the risk of infertility. Limit, if not exclude from the daily diet, all those foods that contain dyes and preservatives, as well as fruit and vegetables exposed to pollution and hormones.

Attitudes to improve fertility

Fertility is a gift that must be preserved. For this purpose it is important to take care of body and mind.

- Alcohol. It is the first thing to banish in order to experience the joy of pregnancy. Alcoholic beverages, in fact, interfere with the proper functioning of the pituitary, hypothalamus and ovaries (endocrine glands that regulate the menstrual cycle, ovulation and entire gestation).

- Cigarettes. This is another bad habit to get rid of. It seems, in fact, that it is the cause of infertility for 13% of women looking for a pregnancy. Smoking is a mix of toxic substances. Nicotine is absorbed by the tissues of the female genital tract resulting in a hormonal alteration, a more difficult fertilization and a rapid depletion of the ovarian reserve which each woman is endowed with from birth. Quitting smoking is therefore crucial for a couple wishing to have a baby.

- Exercise. Fertility can also be stimulated thanks to regular aerobic physical activity, not at a competitive level. In this regard, green light for swimming, light running and walking outdoors at a brisk pace. If possible, avoid going to work by car and prefer cycling.

- Relax. Enrolling in a yoga or pilates course can be useful to remove stress and daily problems related to work, for example. The oriental-type breathing and meditation techniques are a real cure-all for body and mind. Anyone seeking pregnancy should also avoid engaging in physically strenuous activities and grueling shifts. Research published in the authoritative journal "Occupational & Environmental Medicine" has highlighted how night shifts or rotating can somehow compromise female fertility. The study was conducted on a sample of 500 women.

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