Trying for a baby isn’t all about the bedroom business. There’s a lot both you and your partner can do with your clothes on – including digging into certain foods that boost fertility.
A better diet and lifestyle could improve your fertility by as much as 50 per cent, so there’s no better time to give your diet an overhaul. Making some healthy tweaks can supply your body with fertility-boosting nutrients and ensure you’re stocked up on the essential vitamins and minerals you need to grow a baby. Make sure you have a generally balanced diet, high in fruit and veg and low in fat and sugar.
With great ingredients galore, here are a few fertility superfoods you should try and add to your diet. Get these ingredients on your shopping list and check out when you're ovulating using our calculator.
Packed full of a nutrient called lycopene, which has been found to boost sperm count by up to 70 per cent and increase swimming speed. Two brilliant reasons to encourage your partner to include more tomatoes in his diet.
Just a handful of almonds a day can boost your man’s sperm health. They contain vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps to protect the DNA in both sperm and eggs. Plus, it’s thought to increase sperm production.
A banana should be your go-to mid-morning snack if you’re trying for a baby. Each one is packed with vitamin B6, which regulates the hormones and is needed for good egg and sperm development.
Delicious roasted and teamed with egg or popped in a salad, asparagus is easy to add into your meals – and well worth doing, too. It’s packed with folic acid, which has been found to reduce the risk of ovulation issues and will help protect your unborn baby from neural tube defects if you do conceive. It is also a great source of vitamin K.
Lemons, oranges and limes – they’re all packed with Vitamin C, which improves sperm quality and stops them clumping together. Vitamin C is also believed to help trigger ovulation so it's worth tucking into plenty of citrus fruits as a couple.
This festive food may not be everyone’s favourite veg, but it’s packed with fertility boosting properties. They contain folic acid, great for improving fertility, and are filled with vitamins and nutrients that help women absorb balanced levels of oestrogen and help the body get rid of excess hormones. Forget the mushy products of Christmases past and griddle or roast with a little oil and garlic.
Filled with carotenoids that give carrots their colour, this veg is ideal for boosting your conception chances. Research has found that carotenoids help sperm swim towards an egg, improving sperm performance by up to eight per cent.
It’s loaded with folic acid, which is essential in early pregnancy for preventing neural tube defects (you should still take a supplement, though). Heap broccoli onto your man’s plate, too – in a recent study, men with high intakes of folic acid were shown to have healthier sperm.
But it’s got to be the full-fat version. Why? Women who have at least one daily portion of full-fat dairy reduce their risk of infertility by more than 25 per cent. The fat in dairy is thought to play a role in ovarian function.
As well as being famous for being an aphrodisiac, oysters are bursting with zinc, which is crucial for conception. If you’re lacking in zinc, your menstrual cycle might be interrupted – slowing down the release of your eggs. Zinc is also an essential mineral when it comes to sperm development.
You shouldn’t be as hard-pressed to encourage your man to up his chocolate intake – but make sure it’s high in cocoa levels. It contains amino acid that has been proven to double sperm and semen volume and is also filled with antioxidants, which defend against free radicals and toxins linked to male infertility.
Eggs contain vitamin D, thought to help increase fertility levels in women and linked to healthy semen quality and sperm motility in men. Plus they’re a pretty healthy breakfast option to add to your day.
This fish should definitely be your friend when trying for a baby. It’s bursting with fatty acids that help keep your reproductive system strong and your partner’s cholesterol levels low – allowing his sperm to mature properly.
Packed with zinc – the most important mineral for male and female fertility – sunflower seeds are great for getting your body in baby-making mode.
Garlic is a great conception booster for men. It contains allicin, which improves blood flow to his sexual organs and protects sperm from damage, and selenium, an antioxidant that improves sperm quality.
Packed with antioxidants, which help your body deal with toxins and supercharge the health of all your body’s cells. And there’s some evidence antioxidant vitamins may help improve fertility in both men and women. If you’re not a fan, try other berries, such as raspberries and blueberries, which are all rich in antioxidants.
Excess caffeine can delay ovulation, so ditch the latte in favour of green tea. While it does contain some caffeine, it has much less than coffee, and is packed with antioxidants, important for the health of all your body’s cells (antioxidants have also been shown to help improve male subfertility, so swap his coffee for green tea too).
It’s a great source of essential fatty acids, which can help balance hormones and nourish all the cells in your body. Plus it’s rich in protein, and a recent American study found a diet high in protein tends to result in better quality eggs and sperm. Aim for two weekly servings of oily fish, but no more than that, as it can contain toxins.
Protein is really important for your egg production – and gram for gram chicken is a great source. But hold off on that Atkins diet while trying to conceive, as high-protein diets aren’t advised pre-pregnancy. Get your fill by trying out Mary Berry’s parmesan-crusted chicken recipe or rustle up a delish griddled Vietnamese chicken with salad.
Want to save this list to your phone? Here's a handy list to keep to hand next time you're doing your food shop.