FERTILITY: 10 Most Essential Nutrients for Female, Male & their Food Sources
Pregnancy and birth are often described as “the most natural thing in the world”.
Effects of a good or bad diet on both are key to boosting or weakening the fertility in female. While a body with good supply of all the essential does not guarantee pregnancy; but deficiency of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats can contribute to infertility related problems.
Having a balanced, rich, healthy diet enriches both the eggs and the sperm in order to make body strong enough to become fertile without much problems. This is the reason why doctors highly recommend every couple looking to become parent, a good intake of all the important nutrients.
Listed below are the key nutrients essential for improving fertility in male and female along with the food sources:
(1) Folic acid (B9)
It is the most important nutrient especially for female and baby, as it helps to prevent birth defects and malformations of the baby’s spinal cord and brain. A sufficient supply of the B-vitamin folic acid is essential especially in the very early stages of pregnancy. Folic acid (vitamin B9) play a significant role in cell division processes and in hormone production. It also plays an important role in the maturation of the egg cells and the build-up of the uterine lining.
Male: Generates more sperm
Female: According to gynecologists, regular intake of 0.4 milligrams of folic acid is highly recommended. But for women wanting to become pregnant the intake should be little higher. The recommended daily intake is 1 mg for two months before and three months after conception.
Food Sources: Fortified cereals, legumes, seeds and whole grains, spinach, avocado, cottage cheese, banana, egg and orange.
In men, this helps to increase testosterone levels, the amount of seminal fluid, and promotes sperm production.
In female, zinc contributes to the cell division that occurs during the development of the fetus. Its deficiency decreases the production of healthy eggs, so you must consume it to increase the chances of fertility.
Food sources of zinc: Ginger, sunflower, pumpkin, fortified cereals, chicken, seafood, red meat, liver, egg yolk, milk, lettuce, carrot, tomato, mushroom, spinach, peach and orange.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 acid and an essential component for brain, eye, and nerve health.
Omega-3 fatty acids has harmonising effect on the immune system of the cells, which is particularly important for nesting and maintaining pregnancy. There is a strong correlation between pregnancy chances and the intake of omega-3, containing the two omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (480 milligrams daily).
Check out the review from Harvard researchers on link between Omega-3 fatty acids and fertility.
Men: It assists in invigorating sperm and increases sperm motility.
Women: Promotes hormonal balance, ovarian health and egg development, levels blood pressure, prolongs gestation and ensures fetal growth.
DHA Food Sources: Nuts, pumpkin, avocado, green vegetables, seafood and cold water fish such as salmon, sardine, tuna and cod.
Check out: Omega-3 for fertility
Male: Promotes the mobility and vitality of the sperm, and encourages it to find and penetrate the egg.
Female: Reduces the incidence of pre-eclampsia and safeguards bone health.
Food Sources: dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese, tuna, lettuce, spinach, watercress, cabbage, fig and orange
(5) Group B vitamins
Male: Vitamin B12 improves sperm count
Female: They are essential for hormonal control, ovulation, embryo implantation and fetal development. In particular, B6 increases progesterone levels
You find them in: Liver, beef, chicken, egg, whole grains like rice, wheat, oats, lentils, nuts, peanuts, wheat germ, nuts, legumes and milk
(6) Vitamin C
Male: Protects sperm from oxidative damage, especially in smokers, reduces sperm deformities or abnormalities, and prevents them from adhering to each other
Female: Involved in the bone and dental development of the baby. It also helps the absorption of iron, preventing anaemia
Food Sources: Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, tangerine and other fruits like papaya, raspberry, mango, beet, spinach, broccoli, pepper and cauliflower.
(7) Vitamin D
Male: Increases fertility
Female: Reduces the chances of ovarian and breast cancer
Food Sources: Cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, milk and egg yolk
Read more: What make cod liver oil effective for fertility
(8) Vitamin E
Male: Benefits sperm motility, enhances sperm quality and contributes to proper gonadal function
Female: Decreases the occurrence of vaginitis, reduces abortions and increases reproductive capacity.
Food Sources: vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn, soybean and olive oils, wheat germ and nuts such as hazelnut and almond.
Male: Selenium has rich antioxidant properties and contributes to the creation of faster and better quality spermatozoa.
Female: Aids in the process of fertilization and increases progesterone.
Food Sources: Fish, whole grains, whole grains, dairy, mushroom, radish, garlic, carrot, cabbage, broccoli, cucumber and celery
Male: Reduces the chances of colon cancer
Female: A diet high in fiber and low in fat and sugars decreases the risk of polycystic ovary syndrome (presence of small cysts that can lead to sterility)
This article has been written by Nilam Mehta and she is one of the owner of this site/blog.
Nilam has worked in Pharmaceutical industry and have studied – Lifestyle Medicine from Doane University; Science of Exercise from University of Colorado Boulder. She believes that many of health problems can be cured naturally.
You can reach her on [email protected]