Infertility is a sensitive issue for all men and women. Unfortunately, infertility is increasing every day, with almost 15% of the global population suffering from infertility.
Even though infertility seems to be a major issue impacting so many women worldwide, it can be treated unless it is caused due to a major illness. Women can follow several natural and artificial ways to improve their fertility.
Although there are several artificial fertility treatments like IVF, ICSI, and IUI, most women first try to treat their infertility through natural means. They seek the help of assisted reproductive techniques (ARTs) only when their infertility can’t be cured naturally.
Below are 16 natural ways women can follow to boost their fertility and increase their chances of getting pregnant.
16 Tips to Increase Fertility in Women
1. Eat foods rich in antioxidants
The free radicals that are present in your body can be very harmful to both eggs and sperm. Antioxidants are very effective in deactivating all the free radicals in your body.
Antioxidants like Zinc, Folate, and Vitamins C and E are some known types of antioxidants that can improve fertility in both men and women. It is not yet known the amount of antioxidants you need to take to improve fertility, but there is sufficient evidence to prove that antioxidants do improve fertility.
Natural and healthy supplements like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains have ample antioxidants like Folate, Zinc, Beta Carotene, and Lutein, which can help boost fertility in both men and women.
2. Eat a bigger breakfast
Eating a healthy and full breakfast may help improve fertility in women. One of the major causes of women’s infertility is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Studies have proven that a healthy and fuller breakfast can improve the hormonal effects of PCOS.
Excess levels of insulin and testosterone can affect fertility. Consuming a high-calorie breakfast reduces insulin and testosterone levels significantly. Eating a bigger breakfast also helps women in ovulation. This is a clear indicator of improved fertility.
This diet will only benefit women who have a bigger breakfast and a lighter dinner. Having a big meal during both times can cause weight gain.
3. Avoid trans fats
Adding healthy fats to your daily diet can boost fertility and overall health of both men and women. However, trans fat has the opposite effect due to its negative effect on insulin levels. This can have an adverse effect on ovulation.
Trans fats are commonly present in processed and baked goods, margarine, fried foods, etc. Studies show that a diet high in trans fat and low in unsaturated fats affects fertility in both men and women.
4. Cut down on carbs if you have PCOS
For women with PCOS, it is recommended to have a low-carb diet, where less than 45% of your meal is made up of carbohydrates. Studies prove that maintaining a low-carb diet has a positive impact on PCOS.
Low-carb diets can aid in maintaining a healthy weight, encourage fat loss, reduce insulin levels, and helps regulate the menstrual cycle.
5. Eat fewer refined carbs
Most people believe that lower the amount of carbs in their diet can reduce the chances of infertility. But it is important to note that the type of carbohydrate you intake also affects fertility.
Refined carbs are especially not good for fertility. Some foods with refined carbs are sugary drinks and foods and processed grains like bread, rice, white pasta, etc.
Glycemic Index (GI) is a metric that shows if a high-carb food will raise the blood sugar level in the body. Refined foods have a high level of GI. They can cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels in the body.
Since PCOS is associated with high levels of insulin, having refined carbs can make the condition worse.
6. Eat more fibre
Fibre can help eliminate excess hormones in the body and maintain a balanced blood sugar level. Some types of fibre can assist in removing excess estrogen in the body by binding it to the intestines.
Some fibre-rich foods you can consume are avocados, sweet potatoes, fruits, vegetables, oats, whole grains, etc. The soluble fibre present in foods has been associated with lower levels of estrogen and progesterone.
Adding fibre to your diet minimises infertility issues in women over 32 years. The recommended fibre per day for men and women is 25 grams and 31 grams, respectively.
7. Swap protein sources
Avoiding animal proteins such as eggs, meat, and fish and replacing them with vegetable proteins like beans, seeds, and nuts reduces the risk of infertility.
Studies show that including about 5% of vegetable protein in your daily diet instead of animal protein can reduce the risk of infertility by over 50%. They also show that having more fish increases the chances of live birth after fertility treatments.
Add proteins from healthy dishes like vegetables, beans, nuts, lentils, and low-mercury fish and reduce infertility.
8. Choose high-fat dairy
Excess intake of low-fat dairy foods can increase the risks of infertility in women. On the contrary, consuming high-fat dairy products have shown to reduce infertility. Consuming one to two servings of high-fat dairy products daily reduces the risk of infertility in women.
Some high-fat dairy products are a glass of whole milk and full-fat yoghurt. Women can try replacing their low-fat dairy with the above products for increased benefits.
9. Add in a multivitamin
Multivitamins play an important role in improving fertility. Consuming multivitamins is associated with a decrease in the chances of ovulatory infertility. Some studies estimate that women can avoid ovulatory problems if they consume three or more multivitamins a week.
Vitamin E is essential for the health of the uterine lining in women and it can improve sperm health and protect them from toxins. They have also been shown to prevent miscarriages in women.
10. Get active
Being physically active and doing regular exercise is as important as consuming healthy foods. Regular moderate physical activity can reduce fertility problems in both men and women, especially for those with obesity issues. But excessive workouts can have the opposite effect on the body, so don’t overexert yourself.
Excessive physical workouts are often associated with reduced fertility in both men and women. If you wish to increase the intensity of your physical activity, make sure you do it gradually and under the guidance of a coach.
11. Take time to relax
Stress is one of the major causes of infertility. Stress can very much decrease your chances of getting pregnant. This happens due to the hormonal changes that occur in your body when you are stressed.
Receiving emotional support from your friends and family and counselling can aid in reducing anxiety and depression and can improve fertility.
12. Cut the caffeine
There is no concrete proof of whether caffeine and infertility are related. Some studies show that women who consume more caffeine take longer to conceive than women who consume less caffeine. Whereas other studies did not find any connection between caffeine and infertility.
It is better to be safe and limit your daily caffeine intake to one to two cups of coffee.
13. Aim for a healthy weight
Both overweight (obesity) and underweight can impact the fertility of men and women. These unhealthy body weights cause hormonal imbalances in the body which results in infertility.
Obesity is also one of the major factors of infertility. The amount of fat stored in the body can influence the hormones that promote menstruation. Obesity is closely associated with irregular menstrual cycles, lack of ovulation, and impaired egg development.
Work on maintaining a healthy weight to improve your fertility. You can consult a health care provider or join a fitness club to achieve your fitness goals.
14. Check those iron levels
You can decrease the chances of ovulatory infertility by consuming foods high in iron, like supplements and non-heme iron from plant-based foods.
There is no concrete evidence to prove that heme-iron (animal-based) can improve fertility in women. More study is needed to prove whether iron is required for women, especially those with a healthy amount of iron in their bodies.
15. Avoid excess alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can raise the likelihood of infertility. The exact amount of alcohol that can result in infertility is unknown. According to studies, women who drink too much alcohol have a harder time getting pregnant.
Results for women who drink moderate alcohol, however, are inconclusive. Therefore, it is advised to just consume a little amount of alcohol at regular intervals.
16. Natural supplements
Certain natural supplements have been associated with increased fertility. Always consult your fertility doctor before consuming these supplements, as the results are still unclear.
- Some examples of these supplements are
- Bee pollen,
- Bee propolis, and
- Royal jelly.
The health and fitness of the body is an essential factor that determines the fertility of a person. Eating a healthy and nutritious diet and following a healthy lifestyle are one of the best and easy ways to improve fertility naturally.
If you are facing fertility issues and want to resolve them through natural means, follow the above steps regularly. If these steps don’t work for you, you can always consult a fertility doctor who will guide you through infertility and show you the right way to tackle it.
Frequently asked questions
Infertility is the inability to get pregnant naturally through sexual intercourse. Any person who has difficulty or cannot have a child naturally is considered infertile.
Infertility may be caused because either or both partners are having issues with their reproductive systems. There are many causes of infertility in both males and females.
Here are some foods that have a positive impact on fertility in women.
- Beans and lentils.
- Sunflower seeds.
- Fibre-rich fruits and vegetables.
- Greek yoghurt and cheese.
Female infertility can be caused by either of the below issues.
- Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes.
- Endometriosis (a situation where the tissues lining the inner layer of the uterus grow outside the uterus).
- Ovulation disorders. Problems with ovulation (menstrual cycles) caused by PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), obesity, or other hormonal changes.
- Uterine fibroids.
- Genetic diseases.