Let’s Talk Fertility and Diet
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

How what you eat can impact your conception journey

Fertility and diet image

This is NOT an easy topic for most people, let alone someone who has unexplained infertility, is undergoing fertility treatments or has experienced loss along the way.

For some women, fertility can be a part of what makes us feel like we have succeeded as women, it’s a part of our womanhood. Even as young girls, many of us start to pretend we are moms, caring for our dolls as we see our moms care for our siblings.

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing the relationship between diet and fertility as well as tell you everything you need to know about the best diet for fertility. 

Fertility challenges are not rare

I am not saying even women feel this and that is 100% cool; but for those of us who have dreamt of holding our baby for the first time, the desire to get pregnant is strong once you are ready to have a baby. You are desperate to try anything and everything that will increase your chances of getting pregnant and give you some sort of control. 15-30% of couples face unexplained fertility (that number is HUGE!). This means that if you can relate to anything I’ve said, you are NOT alone. You are also definitely not alone if you have already started eating certain foods daily or in excess in the hopes that it may improve fertility.

I want to start by saying, I have been extremely fortunate to have not had to undergo fertility treatments myself. When my husband and I started trying, I thought we would get pregnant within a couple of months. We were not that lucky, so I did experience some heartbreak when I got my period in the months we were trying, along with feelings of failure and desperation. I know these feelings only intensify as the journey goes on. I have walked alongside friends who have tried to get pregnant for years with no success and have undergone fertility treatments. I have seen the emotional and physical toll it takes on both the women and the men. Each couple has a unique fertility journey. Not everything I post about, including what comes below, will be helpful to you. This is not to discourage you, just to remind you that everyone’s fertility puzzle will come with different pieces (who knew I could be so creative with my metaphors?).

Enough lead up… is there a relationship between fertility and diet

If only there was a magic diet that could make our ovaries dance and sperm act as supermen! There are hundreds of fertility blogs, forums and Facebook groups, all with messages promising if you eat or drink this, or follow diet X, it will help you get pregnant. Is there any truth to these claims?

YES.. there is a ‘diet’ or style of eating that actually carries some solid weight when it comes to increasing your chances of getting pregnant. The tried and true Mediterranean Diet. This diet has been around for decades; the Mediterranean’s seem to know what they are doing – minus the wine. It’s true, not only do you have to not drink for 9 months, there are a few studies that have found drinking more than 2 drinks a day may reduce your chances of getting pregnant. I say if there is any chance of reducing your chances, skip it!

The Mediterranean diet and fertility

I want to break this diet down into a few takeaway points to get you started and make it WAY simpler for you when you head to the grocery store.

1.  Make it Whole…Grains!

Research has linked choosing fiber rich grains while avoiding easy-to-digest grains (like pastries, white flour, sugary cereals, and white rice) to reducing ovulatory infertility. These slower-digesting carbohydrates help to manage blood sugar and insulin levels which can improve the chances of fertility. This means, do not ditch the grains but get your carb fix from barley, oats, quinoa, wild rice, and wheat bran instead of grabbing a white bagel or pastry.

2.  Colour your plate

Fruits and vegetables are superfoods because they contain ANTIOXIDANTS and the more variety in colour, the better. If there is one thing we know for sure, it is that we want to reduce oxidative stress in the body to improve fertility for both males and females. Sperm are also extremely sensitive to oxidative stress, so one thing I cannot emphasize enough is, men, your diet plays a major role in this as well! Okay, back to these antioxidants, what are the big ones we are looking for and where can we find them?


This lovely antioxidant has been found in some research to help with sperm motility. Some everyday food sources that contain lycopene are tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon and red bell peppers.

Vitamin E, C and CoQ10

These warriors are packed together as they can sometimes act as a team. In general, these antioxidants have been found to improve rates of pregnancy and sperm quality. Vitamin E can be found in nuts or avocados, Vitamin C in citrus, berries, red pepper and kale, and CoQ10 in sardines, mackerel or spinach but a supplement is also a great option.


Many of you who have already started your own research on foods for fertility have probably heard about Brazil nuts. These guys are helpful for sperm mobility and ovary health because of the antioxidant selenium. Luckily, Brazil nuts aren’t the only option to get in selenium although they are loaded with it. It is also found in other nuts as well as oysters and many other fruits, veggies and whole grains in smaller amounts.

3.  Add in the Pulses (beans, lentils, split peas)

Plant-based protein is a hot trend right now but one reason I love these guys so much is (aside from the fact that Saskatchewan is the largest producer of them) is that they reduce the risk of ovulatory infertility. One study even found that eating just 5% of your protein from pulses can reduce this risk by 50%!

4.  Make your dairy FULL Fat

A massive 8-year study found that women who consumed 2 or more servings of low-fat dairy products increased their risk of anovulatory infertility by 85% while including full-fat dairy reduced infertility by 27%. These numbers are HUGE! Seriously, bring on the full-fat yogurt and homo milk!

Yogurt parfait in a glass cup along with a glass of orange juice

These 4 points are just to get you started, the tip of the iceberg if you will, but there is definitely a link between fertility and diet. I hope this at least gives you a better understanding of some of the research that is coming out and where to get yourself started on deciding what to eat on your fertility journey.

 Now I want to hear from you:

  • Have you or someone you know struggled with infertility?
  • Have you tried eating any specific foods or diets while trying to get pregnant?
  • Leave me your comments! I would love to hear your thoughts.

Need more support with fertility and diet?

Contact our Calgary Nutritionist / Online Dietitian team for help
As Registered Dietitians that specialize in meal planning, weight concerns, emotional eating, eating disorders, digestive health, heart health, diabetes, sports nutrition and fertility we can help you on your fertility journey. Find out more about our Dietitian Nutrition Counseling Programs here.

As university-trained Registered Dietitians, you can count on us for credible advice and practical meal planning so you don’t have to stress about food anymore. You can achieve a healthy and joyous relationship with food and your body. Let’s talk about what this can look like for you. CONTACT US.

For more women’s health articles, check out these posts below:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This