Nutrition for Fertility: Vitamins and Nutrients
As you go through your day-to-day routine, it can be hard to keep track of your vitamin intake. Plus, when you eat out more than you eat in, it makes it even harder to know what nutrients you are lacking.
On the other hand, when you’re trying to get pregnant (or be healthier in general) there are certain essential nutrients you want to include in your diet. Maybe you already knew that, but did you know that supplements like iron and Vitamin E might reduce the risk of miscarriage? Also, did you know that a deficiency of zinc could reduce testosterone levels, shrink testicle size, and produce unhealthy sperm in men? Lucky for you, we have some healthy tips and a delicious recipe for a fertility-boosting diet.
• Helps prevent miscarriage
• Is the main component of hemoglobin, which transport oxygen to all the parts of the body
• During pregnancy, a woman’s blood supply increases to supply nutrition to the growing fetus
• Coffee and tobacco inhibit the absorption of iron
You can get it from: leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, fish, strawberries, lean organic meats, whole grains, dried fruit like prunes, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds. How much: it can range anywhere from 20 mg/day to 120 mg/day (if diagnosed with iron deficiency)
• Necessary to produce and protect your baby’s genes (DNA and RNA)
• Can prevent brain and spinal cord issues from developing in an embryo
• Vitamin C aids in absorption
You can get it from: dark leafy veggies, milk, asparagus, oatmeal, avocados, oranges, broccoli, organ meats, whole grains, oysters, salmon, dried figs, legumes. How much: 200 mg/day to 400 mg/day, depending on where you are in your pregnancy
• Essential to keep your bones strong during pregnancy
• Helps build your baby’s skeleton properly
You can get it from: milk, yogurt, tofu and soy products, edamame, broccoli, leafy green veggies, sesame seeds. How much: 1200 mg/day
• In women, it helps your body make use of necessary reproductive hormones (maintaining the menstrual cycle)
• In men, it can raise sperm count and is needed in the outer layer and tail of sperm
• Deficiency can damage chromosomes (which reduces fertility and risks miscarriage) as well as reduce testosterone levels, shrink testicle size, and produce unhealthy sperm in men
• Important for cell division
You can find it in: beef, venison, poultry, seafood, eggs, whole grains, beans, whole fat dairy products, seeds like sunflower and pumpkin, almonds, oysters, rye, oats, mushrooms, molasses. How much: around 15 mg/day
• A baby-making essential
• Deficiency could cause faulty ovulation and prevent the making of necessary hormones
• Vitamin C aid absorption
You can find it in: whole grains, green leafy veggies like spinach, carrots, bananas, broccoli, pineapple, legumes, nuts, eggs, oats, and rye. How much: around 2 mg/day
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
• B6 is essential for proper creation and functioning of female sex hormones (encourages production of progesterone)
• Shown to improve fertility rates if taken over a 6 month period
• Deficiency can cause irregular menstrual cycles, an imbalance of hormones, and poor egg and sperm development
• Zinc is needed for absorption of B6
• You will quickly use up your store of B6 by smoking, drinking lots of caffeine, and eating white flour and refined bread products
You can find it in: whole grains, nuts, seeds, brown rice, green leafy veggies, organ meats, egg yolks, fish, poultry, legumes. How much: RDA is around 2 mg/day, but could be much more
• Plays a significant role in sperm production and hormone production
• Deficiency may cause miscarriage and faulty sperm
• Take with Vitamin C and selenium to improve ovulation and boost health of the uterine lining
• Consult a doctor if taking with blood thinners
You can find it in: cold pressed oils, wheat germ, organ meats, eggs, sweet potatoes, leafy veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains, avocados, molasses. How much: 400 mg/day
• Essential for healthy growth and development of your baby
• Crucial for healthy hormone functioning (hormone regulator)
• Increases cervical fluid and blood flow to reproductive organs
• Promotes healthy ovulation in women and healthy semen production in men
• Consult a doctor if taking blood thinners
You can find it in: flaxseed, fish oil, nuts like walnuts, green leafy veggies, fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
How much: 700 mg/day to 1000 mg/day
Fertility-Boosting Recipe: Spinach Lentil Soup
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups water
1 (16 oz) jar of your favorite salsa
1 ¼ cups dried lentils, rinsed
¾ teaspoon salt
1 (10 oz) package fresh spinach, torn
How you’ll make it:
1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, sauté carrots and onion in oil until tender.
2. Add water, salsa, lentils, and salt; bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until lentils are tender.
4. Stir in spinach and simmer 5-10 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted. Recipe yields 6 servings.
5. Serve and enjoy!