Healing Moments

What to eat to boost fertility

Trying to get pregnant: a time that can be exciting, frustrating, confusing, freeing, joyful, and/or terrifying. Sometimes all at once. Wherever you are in your fertility journey, we wish you good health, all the love and support you need, and, above all, the peace to go with the flow and trust your body, the process, and the timing.

We’ve collected a few tips about how to boost your fertility from our Medical Advisory Board which includes experts across Western Medicine, Ayurveda, Hydration, Holistic Nutrition, and Herbalism. Since it often takes two to tango, we decided to include specific recommendations for both the (anatomically) male and female sides of the equation. If you’re working with a donor, a surrogate, or a partner that isn’t on board with these tips, no stress. Creating space within yourself to conceive is already an incredible step. 

For her*:

  • Enjoy pumpkin, flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds. As part of a hormone-supportive practice known as seed cycling, it is recommended that women eat 1 TBS each of ground pumpkin and ground flax seeds every day for the first half of their cycle (day 1 being the day your period starts), and 1 TBS each of ground sesame and sunflower seeds every day for the second half of their cycle (days 14-28+). Research shows that each of these seeds contains beneficial micronutrients for proper endocrine function, including lignans, zinc, omega 3s, selenium, and iron. When hormones are supported and balanced, it’s easier for the body to release an egg, create conditions necessary for fertilization, and nurture an embryo. If you can commit to seed cycling even just for a single cycle, that’s awesome, but boosting your consumption of these seeds at any time of the month can be beneficial. Here are some of our favorite ways to get our seeds:

    • Try our Seeds Cycling Seasonings pair (Cinnamon Maca Seasoning and Sesame Nori Seasoning) to make it easy and delicious to start a full seed cycling practice — they're available in our Fertility Box
    • Blend ground sesame and sunflower seeds into your morning oatmeal, yogurt bowl, or smoothie
    • Add ground flax seeds to your favorite homemade baked goods like granola or muffins

  • Drink herbal infusions of red raspberry leaf, vitex, and red clover. Red raspberry leaf contains B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and iron, which promote energy and immune function. Research shows that vitex reduces symptoms of PMS including constipation, irritability, depressed mood, migraines, and breast pain and tenderness. Red clover is rich in isoflavones, which address breast pain or tenderness, hot flashes, and promote healthy skin.

  • *Note: You may notice that our tips to support fertility (for her) overlap with many of the recommendations in our post, What to eat to support less painful periods. This is because experiencing healthy, regular, painless periods is an indicator that your body may be ovulating regularly and is ready to become pregnant. 

    For him:

  • Add maca into your diet. Maca has been used by many cultures throughout history to promote libido and fertility in men. A study showed that regular consumption of maca root for three months resulted in increased sperm count and motility. Maca also has adaptogenic properties, which means it can reduce stress in the body which has a hugely positive effect on fertility. As if that weren’t reason enough to get on the maca bandwagon, it also has a pleasant butterscotch taste. Here are a few ways to enjoy it:

    • Blend maca powder into your morning protein shake, smoothie, oatmeal or yogurt bowl
    • Add maca powder to your favorite homemade baked goods like granola or muffins
    • Try our Cinnamon Maca Seasoning on oatmeal, toast, yogurt or by the spoonful!

    We also have a food-adjacent tip that will boost neurochemical and hormone secretion to support fertility at the cellular level:

    For both partners: 

  • Incorporate gentle, restorative movement into your week. Gentle, restorative movement calms the central nervous system and increases circulation of blood and resources to all parts of the body, including the reproductive system. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system — the “rest and digest” state — which tells the body, “All is well here, we don’t need to run, fight, or struggle, and we are safe enough to bring offspring into the world.” This is a critical message for the body to receive, and not receiving the space to restore often enough can change your hormones and neurochemicals in a way that is disharmonious with conceiving. 

  • If you’re looking for easy at-home inspiration, we love Dylan Wener’s yoga classes on Alo Moves. Restore is a particularly great class to try out to get started. 

  • Check in with your sleep quality and quantity. So much incredible healing happens when we sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting out of bed in the morning, that’s a message from your body to check in with your sleep habits and to see what you can improve. For our full list of recommendations, check out our post, What to eat to support restful sleep.

  • As always, these tips work best in conjunction with eating high-quality, whole, fresh foods that you enjoy at regular times of day and striving for a healthy gut. Gut health (aka agni) is a critical underlying component of all forms of health and recovery, because it enables us to properly absorb and incorporate the nutrients our immune system needs to heal. For more about Agni’s food philosophy, check out What to eat to fuel your Agni.

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