A woman's reproductive system is complex and plays an important role in her health and well-being. The ovaries house eggs and produce hormones, while the uterus provides nutrition and a home for a growing fetus. What you eat affects the health of your reproductive system. A diet to keep your uterus and ovaries healthy needs to be filled with nutrient-rich foods in the right amounts, with a special emphasis on vitamin D, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Consult your doctor about your need for additional dietary supplementation.
Start With a Healthy Diet
Good health, no matter what body part you're focusing on, starts with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean sources of protein such as seafood, poultry and beans. Foods rich in folic acid are important for women during the reproductive years. Getting enough folic acid in your diet decreases risk of birth defects. Citrus, leafy greens, beans and fortified breads and cereals can help you meet your needs.
Vitamin D is necessary for bone health. It also plays an important role in ovarian health by altering serum anti-Mullerian hormone, which is a hormone indicative of female fertility, the sensitivity of follicle-stimulating hormone, and progesterone production and release. Vitamin D may be necessary for the growth of your eggs and follicle, which is the shell that surrounds the egg. Vitamin D supplementation may help balance AMH levels in women deficient in vitamin D and women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Your body can manufacture vitamin D on its own through sun exposure, and you can also get it from food, including salmon, egg yolks, mushrooms and vitamin-fortified milk.
As you get older, the antioxidants surrounding your eggs decrease, which affects egg nutrition and quality and may reduce your chances of pregnancy. Supplementing your diet with more antioxidant-rich foods may help improve egg and ovarian health. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C and E, selenium and beta carotene. Fill your diet with fruits and vegetables to up your intake of antioxidants, especially berries.
Omega-3 Fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are good not only for your heart, but also for your ovaries and uterus. They play a role in membrane fluidity and cell health and offer protection against oxidative damage. Omega-3s may also be important for the implantation of the embryo. Fatty fish, including salmon and mackerel, are good sources of omega-3 fats. Flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, soy oil and pumpkin seeds are also rich in omega-3s.
- Cleveland Clinic: Female Reproductive System
- Womens Health: How Food Affects Your Reproductive System
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Healthy Eating for Women
- Fertility and Sterility: Role of Vitamin D in Ovarian Physiology and Its Implication in Reproduction: A Systematic Review
- University of California at San Diego Regional Fertility Center: Lifestyle and Fertility
- Reproduction: Dietary Omega-3 and -6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Affect the Composition and Development of Sheep Granulosa Cells, Oocytes and Embryos
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin D
- Lab Tests Online: Anti-Mullerian Hormone
- MedlinePlus: Antioxidants
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids