From the time we are babies, we are told to eat our fruits and vegetables. While eating your veggies is healthy for lots of reasons, it can also play a vital role for both men and women who are trying to conceive:
- Increasing the amount of vegetables in your overall diet can help maintain a healthy blood pressure and help increase fertility.
- Women who are trying to get pregnant should increase their intake of folic acid, which helps overall fetal development and prevents neural tube defects. The CDC recommends that women of childbearing age take a supplement containing 400 mcg of folic acid.
- Some other key vitamins and minerals that can help fertility are vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and lycopene.
Get Outside- It’s National Picnic Month!
It’s the perfect time to eat more veggies–and here’s a list of vitamins and minerals they contain that can help fertility.
Like many of the vegetables on this list, dark leafy greens are an excellent source of folic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin E. These dark leafy greens can range from spinach, to swiss chard, and kale. Other veggies high in folic acid are broccoli and bok choy. The easiest way to prepare these very fibrous vegetables like swiss chard or kale are to sauté them in some olive oil with lemon, garlic, and cayenne pepper for a kick!
Vitamin C can help regulate menstrual cycles, which may help normalize ovulation. When vitamin C is mentioned, we automatically think of oranges but there are a few vegetables that have higher amounts of vitamin C! For example, red bell peppers have three times more vitamin C than oranges! Other vitamin C-rich vegetables include: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green bell peppers, spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, tomatoes, winter squash and other leafy greens.
Vitamin E is phenomenal for soft and glowing skin and is commonly found in the oil form or capsules at the supermarket–but it often contains more than the Daily Value. A better way to get these amazing benefits is through your vegetables. Dark leafy veggies like spinach and swiss chard as well as avocado, and red bell peppers, are considered good sources of this powerful nutrient.
Selenium is a type of antioxidant that can help fight cancer and can promote healthy ovarian follicles for the release of eggs. Some great sources of this antioxidant are mushrooms and spinach which can sauteed into a delicious breakfast omelet with just a few added eggs. Although Brazil nuts are not vegetables, just one nut provides all the selenium you need for the day!
To help regulate hormone function and ovulation, including zinc in the diet through shiitake mushrooms, kale, and potatoes (sweet and regular variety) can help. Beans also provide a good to excellent source of zinc—1/2 cup of baked beans contains 26% of the Daily Value for zinc.
Lycopene is also known as a carotenoid which is known as giving fruits and vegetables their red color; it can also boost male sperm quality. Some other examples besides tomatoes are red bell peppers, red cabbage, and sundried tomatoes. Asparagus also has high levels of this nutrient. The bioavailability of lycopene increases if it is cooked, so your tomato sauce topped pizzas or pasta can offer a boost of lycopene to your diet!
Wow! That was a lot of information about vital vitamins and minerals for your fertility but the biggest takeaway is to strive to include more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. Remember to get creative and change things up by including a variety of colored fruits and vegetables by eating the rainbow!
Want more Veggie-licious Ideas: Check out Similar Posts:
- Moody Month. (2AD). A Guide to Female Fertility Vitamins. Retrieved from https://moodymonth.com/articles/a-guide-to-female-fertility-vitamins
- National Institutes of Health. (2020). Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/
About the author:
I am currently a second year Dietetic Intern at NMSU and was born and raised in New Mexico. My answer to the famous New Mexican question: green! When I have time outside of school you can find me hiking with my pitbull Achilles, weightlifting, or baking up a fresh cherry cobbler.