As millions of women know, fertility can be a tricky little thing. And by “tricky little thing,” I mean sometimes very difficult, very complex, somewhat stressful thing! I wrote a blog a while back about some of my fertility tips, but today I’m going to focus on fertility foods. While none of these recommendations have been 100% proven, when a woman is trying to get pregnant, I think we’ll try just about anything (maybe not anything), but ALMOST anything that might help.
Firstly, I still swear by Lori Bregman’s fertility smoothie. She's THE baby guru. Her Rooted for Life Program is AH-mazing, and she will help you through every step from pre-pregnancy to pregnancy to motherhood. Not only is her smoothie seriously DE-lish, but it’s filled with so many nourishing things our bodies need, especially when trying to start a family. As Lori says, it’s so, so, so important to cleanse and detox the body pre-pregnancy. But at the same time, you must replenish with foods that will enrich your body, mind, and spirit. As she explains, every day new cells are being born in our body, and this smoothie contains everything we need to feed the new cells being made. I added a few extra ingredients this time, just for extra, extra added nutrients.
- Frozen mixed organic berries. (You can buy fresh berries and freeze them.)
- Almond, rice milk, or hemp milk. (I prefer these—not big on dairy.) You can also use organic milk if you choose.
- Protein powder. (I like something natural and clean with out a lot of additives or soy.)
- 2 shots of wheat grass (You can use powder, but tastes better when using fresh shots or I use a frozen one by Evergreen.)
- Maca root powder
- Acai or goji berries
- Mixed powered greens
- Royal Jelly (If you're allergic to bees do not use!)
- Bee pollen (Again, don’t use is you have a bee allergy!)
- Liquid omegas or coconut oil
- *1 banana
- *1 tbsp almond or cashew butter
- *1 tsp cinnamon
NOTE: * = I added this ingredient. It is not a part of the original recipe.
In addition to the fertility smoothie, there are tons of foods that have been thought to increase fertility. An awesome website, What to Expect, has some AH-mazing suggestions. Below is a list of different foods groups, specific foods, as well as reasons as to why they may help!
1. Dairy - Calcium in dairy is so, so, so important for reproductive health. You don’t need too much of it though. One serving of full fat yogurt or cheese a day is just enough to possibly decrease the risk of infertility.
2. Berries - Specific berries like blueberries contain antioxidants which protect cells, including reproductive cells, from damage. They also keep eggs healthy, which is a must, must, must.
3. Yams - They have been said to stimulate ovulation, and in some cultures are even believed to increase the chances of twins. Crazy!
4. Oysters - These contain zinc, which is super important when it comes to conception. Having low levels of zinc can disrupt the menstrual cycle and negatively affect the production of good eggs, so if you can, try to find foods that naturally contain zinc like oysters, spinach, nuts, and mushrooms.
5. Complex carbs - Like whole wheat and beans. There are aspects of refined carbs that can increase insulin and blood sugar, which can disrupt reproductive hormones. On the other hand, complex carbs contain folic acid which may increase fertility!
6. Lean protein - Some studies show a connection between fertility and iron, which is found in these lean proteins like lean chicken or turkey. It is also found in tofu or quinoa if you don’t like to go the meat route.
7. Fatty fish - Fish like salmon and herring are known to have benefits that regulate reproductive hormones as well as relieve stress, which is SO, so, so important during pre-pregnancy. If you aren’t a fish person, these benefits can be found in other foods like walnuts, pumpkin seeds and eggs.
While all of these foods are important to keep in mind during pre-pregnancy, there are some foods you should try to avoid! Fish containing high mercury, like swordfish and mackerel, have been linked to infertility and can be dangerous for brain development. For a more detailed list of fish to avoid, check out the American Pregnancy Association. It’s also important to avoid trans fat, commonly found in processed or fried foods like donuts or unhealthy snacks. Remember: labels, labels, labels! Reading labels is KEY to nutrition, especially when trying to conceive.
There are so many things we as women can do to prep for pregnancy, and I know it can sometimes feel like we’re surrounded by lists of theories and ideas. And while all these foods have specific qualities that may boost fertility, it’s important to remember to keep it simple. In other words, just make healthy choices. Create a healthy environment for your baby to grow in. All of these food groups are a much added bonus! But if you don’t start with a healthy foundation, it may defeat the purpose. Try to remain as stress free as possible. Take a spa day. Light lavender candles. Do things that make you happy. Because while the process can be seriously stressful, the result makes it so worth it.
This is my beloved fertility doll. I was in Cape Town, South Africa when I traveled on a safari to a place called Singita. While I was there I went into an AH-mazing boutique where I saw these dolls. I asked the lovely woman working there if these were traditional dolls from Singita, and she said it was a fertility doll! Instantly, she was mine. I bought her in South Africa in May of 2011. I got married in September of 2011. And I got preggers on my honeymoon! Superstition or not people, this doll works!
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.