diet and fertility

Diet and Fertility – How your eating habits influence your chances to get pregnant

Women who follow a Mediterranean-style diet — high in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains — are less likely to have trouble getting pregnant, hints a new study from Spain.

In the following article, we compiled more information about diet and fertility that might interest you.

Poor nutrition can negatively affect fertility in both men and women wishing to conceive.
“There is no doubt that a healthy, balanced diet, adapted to the lifestyle and characteristics of each person, as well as avoiding the risk of suffering from a wide variety of diseases associated with a poor diet, contributes to improved fertility,” says Dr Elisa Pérez, Co-Medical Director and Gynaecologist at IVF Donostia.

Diet has an effect on your ‪‎fertility‬‬‬‬

Nowadays, we consume foods that negatively affect our reproductive health on a regular basis. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warns of the need to limit the consumption of saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, salt and sugars, as well as to increase the consumption of fruit, vegetables and physical activity. These are all high-risk factors that increase cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and also infertility.

Important nutritional elements to consider

It is important to take into account the following dietary recommendations:

  • As much natural, unprocessed food as possible, mainly fruit and vegetables.
  • It’s recommended to eat a piece of dark chocolate a day to reduce stress and increase hormone production since it contains tryptophan.
  • Fruits with lots of antioxidants and vitamins such as kiwis, strawberries, oranges and pomegranates help to improve semen quality.
  • Zinc, present in fish, eggs and dairy products, is a must in your diet.
  • Foods containing Omega 3 such as salmon.
  • Red meat, liver and/or cockles to increase iron levels (for women). Bear in mind that iron of animal origin is much more easily absorbed by the body than iron of vegetable origin.
  • Wholegrain carbohydrates such as brown bread with oats or rye, which are richer in nutrients and have less refined sugar, avoid insulin peaks.

On the other side, these are some foods that you should rather avoid if you want to combat infertility:

  • Genetically modified food. According to recent studies by Russian scientists, the consumption of GM foods reduced the fertility of animals in laboratories.
  • Excessive aspartame-based sweeteners as Aspartame negatively influences ovulation.
  • Unfermented soy. We recommend avoiding all soy foods that do not come from organic farming.
  • Canned products with preservatives and artificial flavours such as glutamate.
  • Oily fish containing mercury such as bluefin tuna.
  • Excessive coffee and tea consumption, as caffeine increases stress and can reduce the production of ovulation hormones.

And of course, if you want to increase your reproductive prospects, you should stop consuming alcohol, tobacco and drugs.



Relationship between Body Weight, Diet and Fertility

For both women and men, there is a relationship between body weight and fertility.
Maintaining an adequate weight will influence the chances of pregnancy, and therefore the success of assisted reproduction treatment, if necessary.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in two people in Europe is overweight or obese. Being overweight is determined by the body mass index (BMI), which helps to determine a person’s nutritional status according to certain values.
If a woman is overweight or obese, it can change the maturity of the egg, resulting in a decrease in oocyte quality.

“Similarly, very thin women have issues with the function of important hormones LH and GnRH that regulate the menstrual cycle. Consequently, being extremely thin will lead to a woman not ovulating, i.e. anovulation.”


Infertility is a two-way street.

It is important to remember that any difficulties in conceiving, whether caused by male or female infertility or both partners, must be dealt with as a couple.
Both partners play a key role and can improve their chances of conceiving by going to the doctor, but also by changing some aspects of their daily lives.

A nutritionist can help you improve your diet and achieve the ideal weight, a key factor in improving fertility and your chances of conceiving, however, if you have any other queries please do not hesitate to contact us.