Are you trying to conceive, or thinking of expanding your family in the near future? Many couples struggle to get pregnant. So, of course, the big business of health and wellness preys upon this fact.
Because the diagnosis of infertility triggers alarm bells, the medical community can charge an arm and a leg for pills and procedures that increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy. However, you might not have to go that route.
Whether you’re actively trying to conceive or you want to avoid any delays when you’re ready for a baby, there are effective ways to naturally boost your fertility.
Fertility and Hormones
As a nutrition consultant and women’s health coach, I’ve found that an imbalance in the endocrine system is often the root of many symptoms. And this includes infertility.
The endocrine system includes your ovaries and other organs that produce hormones. To safeguard or enhance your fertility, focusing on hormone balance is key.
Firstly, you need to understand that nutrients support the creation of hormones. You might be familiar with the hormone estrogen, which needs the nutrients magnesium, Vitamin E, and zinc to be formed. Your body gets these nutrients from ordinary foods like butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, and leafy dark green vegetables.
If the body is starved of key nutrients for some time, it can cause a hormonal imbalance and less-than-ideal fertility. Fortunately, when you understand what foods contain essential nutrients to build hormones, you can boost your fertility by including those foods in your everyday meals.
Here Are 8 Tips to Naturally Balance Your Hormones and Boost Fertility:
These are some of the eight most effective tips to balance hormones and boost fertility with nutrition and other holistic approaches.
Please note that the tips I provide in this article are for informational purposes only. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read in the information below.
I cannot guarantee that the tips below will cause you to become pregnant. However if you work with them on a daily basis, for the majority of women, they will have a positive effect on your health.
1. Eat a Moderate Amount of Carbs
You may have heard that a low-carb diet can help boost fertility. This is because foods that are high in sugar like desserts and refined carbs like white flour, bread, and pasta cause inflammation and have a negative impact on the body.
That being said, your body requires carbs to be fertile. Research shows that you need about 130g of carbs per day to release luteinizing hormone (LH) which triggers ovulation. Food trends like the keto diet or restrictive weight loss diets that don’t include enough carbs could stop you from ovulating.
To safeguard your fertility and hormone health, I recommend that you include one 1-cup serving of complex carbs with each meal. Complex carbs contain fiber and nutrients, and they won’t spike your blood sugar. Choose fresh berries, sweet potato, squash, brown rice, a rustic sourdough, or beans.
The only exception to this recommendation is if you have insulin-resistant PCOS. If this is you, get assistance from a nutritionist that specializes in hormone balance or fertility.
2. Support Your Thyroid
Low or suboptimal levels of thyroid hormones can suppress progesterone levels, increase the chance of miscarriage, and even contribute to low egg quality. If you are trying to conceive, you need healthy levels of the active thyroid hormone, T3.
If a full thyroid panel indicates you have low T3, work with a functional medical doctor or naturopath to address it. You can also do an at-home test to see if your thyroid is healthy. Simply track your temperature throughout your cycle and look for the healthy spike that occurs post-ovulation.
Eat to promote thyroid health by avoiding gluten and including fermented foods like kraut (or take a good probiotic supplement). Grass-fed liver is high in essential nutrients like zinc, selenium, and B6.
However, if that turns you off you can get it from other food sources like oysters, Brazil nuts, and sunflower seeds, or from a high-quality prenatal supplement that has methylfolate.
3. Include a Variety of Healthy Fats
Your body needs fat to build all of your hormones. So, I recommend that you have some type of healthy fat with every meal. Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with a variety of healthy fats because they all have different benefits.
My favorites are fresh avocado (high in Vitamin E and folate), sunflower and black sesame seeds (high in B6), cod liver oil or another high-quality fish oil supplement, hemp seeds (for magnesium), organic butter or ghee, and egg yolks from pastured hens.
Add nuts and seeds to your smoothies, top your salads with a homemade dressing, or take a supplement daily.
4. Support Your Body Post-Ovulation
If you might be pregnant, you need optimal levels of progesterone to maintain your pregnancy. There are certain nutrients that help build progesterone, like B6. You can get this from sunflower seeds, wild salmon, wild cod, and turkey.
Other key progesterone-builders are magnesium, which you can get from leafy greens, and beta carotene, which you can get from foods like yams.
A perfect post-ovulatory meal would be one cup of roasted sweet potato, a generous helping of steamed kale, and a serving of baked wild salmon. Drizzle it with a warm lemon and tahini sauce to bring it all together. Yum!
5. Take Fertility-Boosting Adaptogens
Certain adaptogenic herbs have been used for millennia to support fertility. A notable example is he shou wu, which has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine. More recently, it’s been classified as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor.
If you struggle with stress-induced infertility, he shou wu prevents dopamine from breaking down. In this way, it renews your energy and libido. This herb is also high in iron and zinc which supports your testosterone levels (essential for libido and male fertility).
Another herb I love is shatavari, which is an Ayurvedic herb that has numerous fertility benefits. Shatavari is mucilaginous and helps encourage healthy cervical fluid, which is essential for the sperm’s survival. This herb also contains phytoestrogens which help balance your estrogen and protect against xenoestrogens from the environment.
Shatavari is traditionally consumed in a drink made with ghee and warmed milk, but I like to include it in an elixir.
Remember to consult your doctor or naturopath if you decide to work with herbs. They will be able to provide the proper dosage and ensure that the herbs will be helpful and not harmful when combined with any other medications you may be taking.
6. Practice Yoga Nidra
High amounts of stress directly impact your sex hormones. When you’re stressed, your body prioritizes the production of cortisol. This stress hormone puts you into fight-or-flight mode (instead of baby-making mode).
Yoga Nidra can be used to unwind, let go of tension, and reduce chronically high cortisol levels. Search YouTube for a Nidra recording you enjoy and make time to listen to it a couple times a week for stress management.
7. Reduce Endocrine Disruptors
Some man-made chemicals such as BPA, dioxin, and phthalates have negative effects on our endocrine (hormonal) systems. Endocrine disruptors directly impact your fertility. They are also known to alter reproductive function and cause developmental issues in children.
These chemicals are often found in household cleaning products, personal care products, building supplies, pesticides, and plastic packaging. To reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors, you can do very simple things. Avoid plastic water bottles, plastic wrap, and canned food (as most cans are lined with BPA).
Buy organic meat and vegetables when you can, and avoid foods packaged in plastic. Check out ewg.org for more info.
8. Learn to Eat for Your Cycle
Did you know that you can supercharge your fertility if you customize your nutrition for the phases of your menstrual cycle? This method is called Eating for Your Cycle.
Because hormone levels rise and fall naturally throughout the four phases of your cycle, you can assist the body by being aware of your cycle and use food to support the dominant hormones in each of the phases. You can learn more about eating for your cycle here.
If you’re trying to conceive, you’re very aware of your ovulatory phase. During your four-day ovulation window, make sure to eat leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, avocados, raw berries, and beets.
Not sure about your cycle? Here’s How to Honor the Phases of Your Monthly Menstrual Cycle With Ease and Grace (A Week-By-Week Guide)
Boost Your Fertility the Natural Way!
If you’re concerned about your fertility, there are simple, natural approaches you can use to safeguard and boost your sex hormones.
Although I discussed a few different angles to increase fertility such as basic tweaks to your diet, a stress management practice, investment into ancient fertility herbs, avoiding chemicals, and being mindful of your menstrual cycle, you don’t have to do it all!
Find what works for you. And then commit to making it a practice.
All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.
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