Fertility diet: Foods for you and your man

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  • Nutritionist Victoria Greaves gives advice on a fertility diet and the top foods to eat if you're trying to get pregnant.

    According to some experts, when you want to get pregnant, there’s more to it than just having sex on the right days.

    If you’re already expecting then you may know what to eat during your pregnancy, but eating the right foods while you’re trying to conceive is just as important. And it’s not just up to you to watch what you eat – it’s just as important for your partner too.

    What you and your partner eat can have a big impact on how easily and quickly you fall pregnant. Here, nutritionist Victoria Greaves explains what you and your partner should eat if you’re trying for a baby.

    Fertility boosting food: Eight-a-day

    Getting your five-a-day is always important for your overall health but when you’re trying to get pregnant it’s even more important for you and the health of your baby. It’s good to actually try to eat eight portions of organic fruit and veg daily Victoria explains, saying, ‘These contain low levels of pesticides and have higher nutritional content than non-organic.’ She also suggests switching all animal products over to organic, too as ‘non-organic meat and dairy products contain growth hormones and antibiotics.’

    Fertility boosting food: Wholegrains

    The next switch is ditching all white refined foods in favour of brown wholefoods. It’s estimated that 80 per cent of zinc is removed from wheat to make white bread last longer. This is a problem because zinc deficiencies have been linked to male infertility so make sure you and your partner are eating plenty of nutritious wholegrains like brown rice.

    Filling up on fibre from wholegrains, fruit and vegetables is important because it keeps the bowels regular, which is essential for fertility.

    Victoria also has a top tip about when to eat. She says, ‘Eat little and often to sustain your blood sugar levels. Excessive drops in blood sugar can release too much adrenaline and this may block progesterone, which maintains pregnancy.’

    Fertility boosting food: Good fats

    It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to be afraid of fats – just eat the good ones. That’s things like oily fish (mackerel, salmon etc), avocados, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

    Your new fertility-boosting shopping list

    If you’re wondering what to pick up next time you’re at the shops then Victoria suggests starting with packing your trolley full of iron and folate-rich foods. Here’s what to look for:

    Iron-rich foods

    • Eggs
    • Wholemeal bread
    • Baked beans
    • Fortified cereal
    • Dried fruit such as apricots and figs
    • Green vegetables

    Folate-rich foods

    • Avocados
    • Bananas
    • Oranges
    • Strawberries
    • Green vegetables
    • Brown fortified bread and cereals
    • Beans and pulses
    • Shellfish – but stop eating shellfish once you are pregnant

    Fertility boosting drinks

    The liquids you drink are almost as important as the food you eat while you’re trying to get pregnant. Victoria says, ‘Drink eight glasses of filtered water or herbal/fruit teas to help flush out excess toxins and cut out caffeine in all its forms – coffee, strong tea and chocolate. It’s been linked to low fertility.’

    Fertility-boosting nutrients

    When you’re trying to conceive it can also be a good idea to up your intake of vitamins and minerals, to make sure you’re getting just the right amount of nutrients. Use the table below to work out what you could be getting a bit more of here and there, and the best foods to try, too.

    Vitamin  Benefits  Daily dose Foods to eat
    Zinc All-round essential for fertility

    Zinc ensures the production of good-quality sperm

    Can reduce the chance of miscarriage

    30mg Oysters

    cashew nuts

    pumpkin seeds

    Crab meat

    B6 Helps to balance hormones 50mg Sunflower seeds

    Tinned salmon



    B12 Needed for cellular reproduction

    Can increase sperm count

    50mcg Clams



    Egg yolk

    Cheddar cheese

    Selenium An antioxidant that can increase male fertility

    Prevents chromosome breakage, which can cause miscarriage

    100mcg Brazil nuts

    Sunflower seeds Raisins

    Vitamin C Increases sperm count

    Stops sperm from sticking together

    Improves mobility

    Prevents abnormal sperm

    1000mg Strawberries

    Kiwi fruit



    Vitamin E Increases sperm mobility and ability to penetrate the egg

    Can reduce age-related ovulation decline

    270mg Sunflower oil

    Sunflower seeds




    Essential Fatty Acids Can prevent poor sperm mobility, low count or abnormal sperm.

    EFAs have also been shown to reduce fibroids and endometriosis

    Eat oily fish 3 times a weeka

    Eat nuts and seeds daily



    Flaxseed oil

    Nuts and seeds