Getting pregnant is not always easy but, thankfully, there are some things that can help the baby making process along, such as food. While diet can't cure functional infertility problems, what you and your partner eat could have an impact on how easily you fall pregnant. There is no better time to focus on maintaining a healthier diet than when you're planning for a baby.
Changing your diet doesn't have to be a chore and you may find that you and your partner enjoy preparing and cooking a variety of healthy, fertility boosting foods together. We hope you find our fertility diet information useful. Good luck!
Food for fertility
The focus on food during conception is really about optimising your chances of conceiving and then progressing to a healthy pregnancy. A diet full of nutrient-rich, unprocessed foods can be a positive way to increase fertility. We have also got tips about foods to avoid, as well as how many unhealthy options (like caffeine and alcohol) are allowed. Try our delicious range of recipes for some culinary inspiration.
Turn back time with an all-star female fertility diet
Female fertility is strongly affected by ageing, so it might help to keep your body’s “internal age” in check by keeping to a healthy lifestyle. A generally healthy diet of unprocessed foods such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds will help get the body ready for action. A few items to pop on your shopping list include:
If you and your partner enjoy a glass of vino in the evening then now could be the ideal time to cut it entirely. You’re unlikely to know straight away once you’ve conceived and the recommendation is for women not to drink alcohol at all during pregnancy. So, a glass of wine during your period is probably fine but kick that and reduce caffeine when it comes to ovulation time. A few other nasties to keep out of sight and out of mind include:
Unpasteurised dairy products
And lastly, reduce those carbs. Not only will your waistline thank you, your baby-to-be will too. Chuck the white bread, white rice and pasta in favour of wholegrains, yummy fruit, veg and protein.
Try exercising three times a week to keep your body fit and healthy – a gentle walk is great, as is swimming, a yoga or pilates class.
Male fertility diet
It takes two to tango, so he doesn’t get off that easily. When it comes to male fertility, a bit of healthy eating can make a big difference. Go for unprocessed foods rich in nutrients, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes and try to convince him to avoid any junk food binges. There are some foods thought to be “sperm friendly” including:
Green leafy vegetables
Supplements that include selenium, zinc and B-group vitamins are also understood to be helpful. Talk to your partner about quitting smoking and recreational drugs, drinking less alcohol and caffeine and avoiding trans-fats.
In South Africa couples are described as infertile. While diet won’t cure medical infertility, it could help if you’re having a tough time getting pregnant.
Fertility Boosting recipes
Grilled Steak with a rocket and bean salad and tomato salsa
Enjoy a hearty steak with this tasty tomato salsa. Serve with sweet potato and oven baked potato wedges for a quick and yummy dinner!
4 x scotch fillet steaks, fat trimmed
130g baby green beans, topped
1 bunch/80g rocket leaves, washed
1 avocado, peeled and sliced lengthways
1 punnet (250g) cherry tomatoes, chopped into small dice
1 red onion, peeled and chopped finely
1/3 cup chopped coriander
2 limes, juiced (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1. Grill the steaks on a BBQ, chargrill or under the griller for 5 minutes each side for medium
2. Blanch the beans in boiling salted water 3 minutes then refresh in iced water till cold
3. To make the salad, combine the rocket leaves, beans and avocado in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the cherry tomatoes, red onion, coriander, lime juice and olive oil for the salsa
4. Serve the grilled steak with the rocket salad, salsa and some sweet potato and potato wedges on the side
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes for the steak (plus 30 mins for the wedges)
Grilled Lemon and Honey Chicken Breasts
This is a simple meal perfect for lunch or a light dinner, with a good balance of nutrients essential for a healthy diet. Serve with a side of mushrooms for a folic acid boost. Folic acid is widely thought to aid fertility and is also beneficial in the early stages of pregnancy.
4 chicken breast fillets
1 ½ onion, chopped finely
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1. Put chicken into a shallow dish. Blend onion, lemon juice, vegetable oil, honey and soy sauce in a bowl. Pour 1 cup onion mixture on the chicken; turn to coat. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for up to 4 hours.
2. Put the rest of the onion mixture into a small saucepan. Boil for approx. 2 minutes (until slightly reduced and thickened) and then set aside for glaze.
3. Put grill on medium-high heat. Brush grill rack with oil. Remove chicken from marinade (make sure to shake off excess).
4. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill chicken until it’s cooked through, brushing occasionally with marinade glaze (about 8-10 minutes per side).
5. Serve with grilled mushrooms, fresh salad or sweet corn and enjoy a tasty healthy meal.
Salmon Avocado Pasta
Add some simple super-foods, like salmon and avocado to pasta, and you’ve got a healthy taste sensation that is packed with Omega-3 essential fatty acids (the good fats!).
1/2 tin pink salmon
1 tsp butter
2 tsp flour
1/4 C milk
1/2 cooked small pasta shells
1/8 C frozen baby peas
1 tbsp cheese (optional)
1. Melt butter in saucepan, and flour and stir to a paste.
2. Add milk and stir until combined and thickened.
3. Mash avocado in a bowl with a fork, then add flaked salmon and mash into the avocado.
4. Stir avocado mixture into milk mixture over low heat until combined, add pasta and peas and continue to heat for approx 5 minutes, or until peas are heated through.
5.Add cheese if desired and serve.
Chicken, Asparagus and Cheese Melt
Asparagus is a naturally occurring source of folic acid, also called folate or folacin. Folic acid is one of the B vitamins and is widely thought to aid fertility and help prevent neural tube birth defects in pregnant women.
3 trimmed bunches of asparagus
4 thin hamburger buns, divided and toasted
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
9 slices cooked Ingham supreme chicken breast
170g grated tasty cheese
1.Preheat oven to 180C.
2. Bring a pan of water to boil.
3. Add asparagus and cook for 2/3 minutes (until they are tender).
5. Place the hamburger buns onto a flat surface.
6. Spread mustard over them and put the slices of chicken, asparagus and cheese at the top. Place rolls onto a baking tray.
7. Bake for about 10/12 minutes (wait until cheese has melted).
8.Serve and enjoy.