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Can Certain Foods Increase Women's Fertility?

author image Sara Ipatenco
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.
Can Certain Foods Increase Women's Fertility?
In the U.S., 7.4 million women have pursued infertility services. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

About 1.5 million women in the United States are infertile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is defined as trying to get pregnant for at least a year without success. Infertile women have access to many fertility treatments, including artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. Talk to your doctor about infertility treatments, but in the meantime, changing the way you eat might also have an impact on your ability to get pregnant, though there is no guarantee that eating certain foods will result in a baby.

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Boost Your Zinc

Sunflower and sunflower seeds
Sunflower and sunflower seeds Photo Credit: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

A zinc deficiency can cause reduced fertility, according to the Riordan Clinic, located in Wichita, Kansas. Zinc is necessary for women to produce reproductive hormones, such as estrogen, the clinic notes. The mineral is also crucial in the formation of healthy sperm. Men should aim for 11 milligrams of zinc per day, and women need to have 8 milligrams. Speak to your doctor about boosting your intake, which might help increase your fertility. Adding foods such as red meat, poultry, eggs, whole grains and sunflower seeds will help you increase your intake of zinc.

Incorporate Iron

Beef sirloin with herbs and spices
Beef sirloin with herbs and spices Photo Credit: Kesu01/iStock/Getty Images

Iron is an essential mineral that helps your body make healthy red blood cells, and it's crucial to getting pregnant and growing a healthy baby. According to the BabyCenter website, building up your iron stores before you get pregnant is a wise idea because if you're deficient, your baby will sap your iron stores, leaving you at a higher risk for postpartum anemia. In fact, you should ask your doctor to check your iron levels before you get pregnant, the BabyCenter website notes. If you're deficient, your doctor might recommend iron supplements, but eating red meat, poultry, beans and fortified cereals and grains can also help boost your intake.

Go for Colors

Green beans in colander
Green beans in colander Photo Credit: FreezeFrameStudio/iStock/Getty Images

Your preconception diet should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce is brimming with phytochemicals and antioxidants, which protect your body from damage caused by pollution, environmental contaminants and sunlight. Pollution, environmental contaminants and sunlight can damage reproductive organs, ova and sperm, which might make it more difficult to get pregnant, according to BabyCenter. Add fresh produce, such as apples, oranges, bananas, pineapple, berries, melons, leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, squash and green beans to your diet to increase your intake of phytochemicals and antioxidants.

More Foods You Need

Pan fried trout with potatoes and herbs
Pan fried trout with potatoes and herbs Photo Credit: vikif/iStock/Getty Images

Include fish in your healthy eating plan. Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which you need to achieve and maintain fertility, according to BabyCenter. Add 12 ounces of salmon, trout, canned light tuna, sardines or herring to your weekly menu to boost your intake of omega-3s. Foods with folate, such as leafy greens and citrus fruits, and with folic acid, such as fortified grains, are also essential before you get pregnant. Your male partner also needs to pay attention to his diet by eating plenty of zinc-rich foods, fruits and vegetables to ensure that his sperm is healthy and strong enough to fertilize an egg.

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