Foods for Fertility

whole foods fertility conception pregnancy
When you and your partner decide that it’s time for your family to increase by two little feet, you might start wondering what the best things are you can do to prepare. While we know there are plenty of foods to be avoided during pregnancy: what about when trying to conceive? Are there foods for fertility?

woman healthy fertility foods

What we eat has a huge impact on our body’s ability to function properly and this includes our reproduction system! This doesn’t mean that certain foods can cure fertility issues or that you can combat a bad diet by adding a handful of kale (sorry, we wish it did!). What it does mean is that you can maintain a healthy weight and give your body the nutrients it requires to protect or improve your fertility.

So, what are the ingredients we need to prepare for conception? Hormones, healthy blood, healthy circulation, and a healthy brain – both in mental wellness and also its ability to send messages around the body. A diet rich in healthy fats, healthy carbs, proteins and fresh fruit and vegetables are great all the time but can be particularly important when preparing for pregnancy.

What are some foods for fertility?

Good Fats

Healthy fats decrease inflammation and aid in increased blood flow. Studies have also shown that they lead to an increase in sperm quality for Dad to be! Once pregnant, healthy fats are essential for developing bubs weight increase and to grow nervous system connections.

Where to find healthy fats:

Fatty fish: Salmon – an excellent source of omega-3 which is also a building block for hormones. Our bodies can’t produce omega-3 on its own, so it’s important that it’s included in our diets.
Nuts and Seeds: Flax seeds, walnuts and sunflower seeds are fantastic sources of healthy fats and also omega-3 (perfect to substitute that salmon for our vegetarian friends!).
Avocado: Everyone’s favourite. It’s easy to add to breakfast and salads and full of vitamins and riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium! Yum!
Bad Fats: Trans-fats are the bad guys for our diet. These are usually found in commercial baked goods, fries and snack foods (you know, the delicious things!). These fats increase insulin resistance and won’t be helpful at all for healthy bodies or fertility, so try and limit these in your diet.

healthy foods good fats

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbs… our relationship is complicated! While you wouldn’t need to tell most people twice to stock up on the carbs, again there are some good guys and the bad guys. Good carbs are digested slowly by your body, contain fibres and often fantastic sources of fertility friendly B-vitamins, which support ovum release and uterine implantation.

Where to find healthy carbs:

Quinoa – our favourite replacement for rice and pasta. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, while also being high in fibre and protein.
Whole grains – brown rice, whole wheat pasta, millet, barley and polenta.
Bad Carbs: Bad carbs… are again probably mostly our delicious favourites, including rice, pasta, cakes, processed breads and cereals. These increase insulin resistance and the body digests these very quickly, leading to spikes in blood sugar and insulin – which in high levels, can inhibit ovulation.

whole grains quinoa foods good fertility

Protein

Protein is an important building block in tissue repair and also for the production of hormones, enzymes and blood cells. So it’s no wonder that proteins are foods for fertility. Maintaining a healthy intake of protein is essential in looking after your body, but also preparing for the development of bub. Like everything in life though – you can have too much of a good thing, and excessive protein intake has been shown to impair fertility in males and females.

Where to find protein:

Lean meats – are high in protein while being low in calories and ‘bad fats’. Poultry is a great source of protein, but also high in selenium (for preventing cell damage), B3 & B6 (for the production of sex hormones and stress relief) and choline (for nerve function and inflammation reduction).
Beans & Lentils – These are not only packed with protein but also iron, folate and fibre!
Tofu – A great plant source of essential amino acids, calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium

healthy protein diet fertility food

Dairy

Dairy full of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B and protein. Research has found that consumption of full-fat dairy products daily can support female fertility, while the low-fat alternatives may be causing damage. This could be due to the increase in sugars used in the low-fat alternatives which cause the spike in insulin that we also see in ‘bad carbs’.

Where to find dairy:

Greek yogurt – packed with protein, calcium and vitamin D (important for regulating menstruation, and balancing sex hormones).
Cheese – cheese made from grass-fed animals is highest in nutrients (vitamins A & B12, zinc, phosphorus and riboflavin) and also contains omega-3.
Vegetarian alternatives – soya beans, peas, lentils, seaweed and leafy greens including spinach, kale, cabbage and brussels sprouts.

dairy and fertility foods

Vitamins & Minerals

Fresh fruit and vegetables are absolutely packed with vitamins and minerals that are needed to support a healthy body before, during and after pregnancy. Here, we wanted to tell you about some amazing vitamins and the delish plants they’re found in:

Vitamin E & C well-documented antioxidants, which help remove free-radicals from your body and prevent damage. The protective barrier around your egg follicle is rich in vitamin E for support. Vitamin C may also be linked to your follicle during ovulation. We also know that vitamin C is important for immune health!
Found in: Oranges, Grapefruit, asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower. Also, colourful fruits including blueberries, strawberries and pomegranates.
Folic acid – a super important nutrient for pre-conception and pregnancy. It’s recommended that folic acid supplements be taken by Mamas to be and pregnant women as it improves fertility and assists with spinal tube development in bub.
Found in: spinach, kale and other leafy greens. Dark leafy greens are also amazing sources of iron, which is important for menstruation, ovulation and egg development.
Zinc – zinc is integral to progesterone production, cell division, egg healthy and sperm motility.
Found in: oats, oysters, asparagus, poultry, lentils, nuts and seeds

foods for fertility healthy foods pregnancy

Morning Sickness Sucks

morning sickness sucks

Morning sickness – also known as “all the time sickness” (urgh!) is the delightful time typically between 4-16 weeks of pregnancy where everything sucks. No one is quite sure what causes the symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, but it’s thought perhaps linked to the changes in certain hormone levels. If you consult the old wives, you’ll find that it’s believed “Morning sickness means a higher chance of having a girl” or if you’re particularly reflux-y, it means your baby is hairy. There is plenty for us still to learn about morning sickness, but first thing is first: we need Morning Sickness Remedies!

So we’ve sieved through all the wives tales and asked all the Mamas we know for their advice and tips on what works to remedy morning sickness. Here’s what we know…

Ginger

Every Mama we know that has fought morning sickness absolutely swears by anything and everything ginger! This little super herb has been proven to aid with all the tummy upsets including motion sickness and recovering from food poisoning. Ginger may help by maintaining blood pressure and keeping digestion stable. Try ginger ale, ginger lollies or Franjo’s kitchen ginger and apricot bikkies!

Keeping something in your tummy

Smaller snacks have been a big hit with our Mamas and plain foods too – little bits of toast, biscuits or sucking on hard-boiled candy. Keeping servings small and eating frequently can help with the nausea, but also having something light in your stomach will be gentler if you are sick.

  morning sickness remedy ideas

Vitamins and when to take them

Vitamin B6 is said to help reduce nausea and vomiting and we’re not entirely sure why! It seems really weird, because B12 can make some ladies feel sick when not taken with food. Either way – if it’s a morning sickness remedy we’ll take it! Also – taking your prenatal vitamins, or B6, with a meal or snacks is always a good idea to keep that tummy settled.

Tea

Tea… one of the greatest inventions ever, especially if we can’t be having caffeine addictions anymore. Some of the ingredients in tea are also nausea-fighters on their own, like zesty lemon or ginger. Hint- try Morning Wellness from Mama Body Tea! Make sure you check the ingredients in your herbal tea though ladies, because some ingredients that are great for the Third trimester are dangerous in the First and vice versa. We’ve written a little handy guide here, but if you’re ever unsure, ask your doctor or just avoid!

  pregnant woman drinking tea

Protein and Iron-rich foods before bed

These are slow release energy foods that can keep your blood sugar maintained through the night and for some ladies, stave off the sickness first thing in the morning. Foods such as leafy greens, eggs and sardines (also great for good fatty oils!) can also help reduce the symptoms.

BRAT

This is one we thought was for the old wives’ tales. It’s Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast and Tea!  But looking back over the advice we’ve seen so far, these actually fit nicely into the foods to consider, to help those sickness symptoms. Maybe my Nanna was onto something…

Nothing working?

Sometimes morning sickness can be a sign of something else going on. Don’t take chances! If you think your morning sickness is worse than it should be, if it’s causing weight-loss or you’re not functioning well at all, Go see your doctor! You may find a medication that works to relieve your symptoms without being a risk to yourself or bub.

Have you been through it all with morning sickness? Head to our Facebook or Instagram and let us know what Morning Sickness Remedies worked for you!