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Foods to Boost Fertility in Men and Women & Can Natural Supplements Help Increase Fertility?

Considering the stressful times that we live in, it is being observed that more and more people are reporting fertility problems. It is estimated that nearly 15 percent of couples face fertility issues.(1)

There can be many causes of infertility in both men and women, making the road to parenthood extremely challenging. Luckily, however, there are many things that you can do to boost your chances of conception and increase your fertility.(2, 3)

For many years, there has been a debate raging on whether certain foods can help boost your fertility. While, of course, there is no one food or fertility diet that can magically increase the chances of conception, it has been seen that consuming a well-balanced and nutritious diet can definitely boost your overall health, which also includes your reproductive health, in both men and women. However, you should note that the food choices you make cannot really help much if the underlying cause of infertility is a serious medical condition. For example, if infertility is due to blockage of the fallopian tubes, it can prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. In such a case, making any dietary changes will not affect the cause of infertility since it won’t remove the blockage and open up the tubes.(4, 5)

Nevertheless, making healthy dietary choices can help boost fertility in both men and women, helping you conceive faster. Here are some foods that help boost fertility in men and women.

Foods to Boost Fertility in Men and Women

Foods to Boost Fertility in Men and Women

  1. Citrus Fruits

    Now citrus fruits are definitely not what you would associate with fertility! Citrus fruits like grapefruits and oranges are some of the richest sources of vitamin C. Oranges and grapefruits are rich in the polyamine putrescine, which some animal studies have shown has the potential to boost the health of both egg and semen.(6)

    However, before having citrus fruits, you should speak to your doctor since grapefruit juice can interact with certain medications, and that too in very dangerous ways. So if you are on any type of medication, make sure to speak to your doctor to enquire whether grapefruit juice will be safe for you to consume.(7)

  2. Reduce Your Intake Of Carbohydrates

    One of the most common causes of infertility in women is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is believed to affect one in ten women of childbearing age.(8) Women with this condition develop a hormonal imbalance as well as metabolism problems, which affects their overall health and may cause infertility.

    Switching to a lower carbohydrate diet plan is usually recommended for women who have PCOS. A low-carb diet has less than 45 percent of calories from carbohydrates. Many studies have shown that managing your carbohydrate intake can have a lot of benefits on some of the symptoms of PCOS. Following a low-carb diet can help you maintain your weight, boost fat loss, reduce insulin levels, and also maintain the regularity of the menstrual cycle.(9, 10, 11)

    A low-carb diet limits the intake of carbohydrates, especially those that are found in sugary foods, bread, and pasta. At the same time, this type of diet is also high in protein and fat content, as well as vegetables. You can choose from many different types of low-carb diets, all of which can help improve your health and promote weight loss, both factors that can improve your chances of conception.(12)

    Here are some things you can eat while on a low carbohydrate diet:

    • Fish
    • Meat
    • Eggs
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Nuts and seeds
    • High-fat dairy
    • Healthy fats and oils
    • Some non-gluten grains

    You have to avoid the following foods:

    • Sugar
    • Seed oils
    • Wheat
    • Starchy vegetables
    • High-fructose corn syrup
    • Trans fats
    • Low-fat products
    • ‘Diet’ products
    • Highly processed foods
    • Refined grains like wheat, rice, rye, and barley
  3. Sunflower Seeds

    Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E, which is an important nutrient that increases sperm count and improves sperm motility. Roasted and unsalted are usually the best way to have these highly beneficial seeds. Sunflower seeds are also potent sources of folate and selenium, which are both essential for male and female fertility.(13) Sunflower seeds are also a great source of omega-6 fatty acids, and they also contain minute amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are needed by the body for a variety of functions.(14)

    Sunflowers seeds make a great snack if had on their own, and you can also add them to your meals, such as sprinkling them on your salad, using sunflower seed butter, mixing them in trail mix, adding them to your yogurt, etc.

  4. Increase Foods High In Antioxidants

    Antioxidants such as zinc and folate can help boost fertility in both women and men. They help deactivate free radicals present in the body, which causes damage to both the egg and sperm cells. A study from 2012 carried out on young, adult men found that consuming just 75 grams of walnuts daily helps improve sperm quality. Walnuts are an excellent source of antioxidants.(15)

    Another study found that higher folate intake helped increase the rate of implantation, live birth, and clinical pregnancy in 232 women.(16)

    Foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, and grains are packed with antioxidants like vitamins C and E, zinc, folate, lutein, and beta carotene. Consuming more of these foods will help you improve your overall health as well.

  5. Full Fat Dairy

    Dairy products that are rich in saturated fat are excellent for improving fertility. Pastured dairy is also an ideal choice for those who want to get pregnant and can tolerate dairy products. Dairy products are an excellent source of getting many fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, K, and even K2.

    In fact, a study done by Harvard found that women who regularly ate full-fat dairy products were much less likely to experience problems in ovulation as compared to those women who mostly consumed low-fat dairy products like low-fat milk or skimmed milk, yogurt, sherbet, and cottage cheese. Full-fat products included in this study were whole milk, cream cheese, ice cream, and other types of cheeses.(17)

    If you consume dairy and you are able to tolerate it well, the best way to get full-fat dairy in your diet is to make a switch to having whole-fat products. For example, switch over to whole milk from skim milk, and use full-fat yogurt instead of low-fat yogurt. Occasionally include a serving of full-fat ice cream as well.

Can Natural Supplements Help Increase Fertility?

You will be surprised to learn that there are certain types of natural supplements that are known to increase fertility. However, always make it a point to consult your doctor before taking any such natural supplements, as most of the studies on these supplements have been done on animals, and their efficiency in humans has not been studied extensively.

Some of the best natural supplements to take to improve fertility include:

  • Bee Pollen And Bee Propolis: Bee pollen has been found to improve fertility, immunity, and also overall nutrition in the body. In an animal study, it was found that regular intake of bee pollen could improve sperm quality and overall male fertility.(18) However, no human studies have been done on this. At the same time, a study on women who had endometriosis found that consuming bee propolis two times a day could lead to a 40 percent increase in the chances of conceiving after nine months. Again, more studies are needed to confirm this.(19)
  • Maca: Derived from a plant found in central Peru, animal studies done on maca found that it helped improve fertility. However, in human studies, the results were found to be mixed. Some reported improvements in sperm quality, while others found no change.(20, 21)
  • Royal Jelly: Royal jelly, another product made from bees, is rich in many amino acids, lipids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, calcium, iron, and even sugars. Studies carried out on animals discovered that royal jelly may help boost reproductive health in rats.(22)


Consuming a well-balanced and healthy diet is crucial for having a healthy body and reproductive system. It can boost your chances of becoming pregnant. Apart from eating a nutritious diet, making certain positive lifestyle changes can also help increase fertility in both men and women and also prepare a woman’s body to get ready for pregnancy. And not to forget that such positive changes combined with a healthy diet are always going benefit your overall health and well-being as well. So if you are trying to get pregnant, it is essential to watch what you eat. Also, reduce your stress and worry and talk to your doctor to make other best choices to improve your fertility.


  1. Sharma, R., Biedenharn, K.R., Fedor, J.M. and Agarwal, A., 2013. Lifestyle factors and reproductive health: taking control of your fertility. Reproductive biology and endocrinology, 11(1), pp.1-15.
  2. Brugo-Olmedo, S., Chillik, C. and Kopelman, S., 2001. Definition and causes of infertility. Reproductive biomedicine online, 2(1), pp.173-185.
  3. Zoe, R., 2009. Causes of infertility in women at reproductive age. Health science journal, 3(2), pp.0-0.
  4. Briceag, I., Costache, A., Purcarea, V.L., Cergan, R., Dumitru, M., Sajin, M. and Ispas, A.T., 2015. Fallopian tubes–literature review of anatomy and etiology in female infertility. Journal of medicine and life, 8(2), p.129.
  5. Khalaf, Y., 2003. Tubal subfertility. Bmj, 327(7415), pp.610-613.
  6. Lefèvre, P.L., Palin, M.F. and Murphy, B.D., 2011. Polyamines on the reproductive landscape. Endocrine reviews, 32(5), pp.694-712.
  7. Commissioner, O.of the, Grapefruit juice can affect how well some medicines work. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/grapefruit-juice-and-some-drugs-dont-mix [Accessed August 31, 2022].
  8. Anon, Polycystic ovary syndrome. Polycystic ovary syndrome | Office on Women’s Health. Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/polycystic-ovary-syndrome#:~:text=Having%20PCOS%20does%20not%20mean,you%20can’t%20get%20pregnant. [Accessed August 31, 2022].
  9. Landry, M.J., Crimarco, A. and Gardner, C.D., 2021. Benefits of Low Carbohydrate Diets: a Settled Question or Still Controversial?. Current Obesity Reports, 10(3), pp.409-422.
  10. Crowe, T.C., 2005. Safety of low‐carbohydrate diets. Obesity reviews, 6(3), pp.235-245.
  11. Hursh, H. and Martin, J., 2005. Low-carb and beyond: the health benefits of inulin. Cereal foods world, 50(2), p.57.
  12. Oh, R., Gilani, B. and Uppaluri, K.R., 2019. Low carbohydrate diet.
  13. Salas-Huetos, A., Bulló, M. and Salas-Salvadó, J., 2017. Dietary patterns, foods and nutrients in male fertility parameters and fecundability: a systematic review of observational studies. Human reproduction update, 23(4), pp.371-389.
  14. Anon, Fooddata Central Search Results. FoodData Central. Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170562/nutrients [Accessed August 31, 2022].
  15. Robbins, W.A., Xun, L., FitzGerald, L.Z., Esguerra, S., Henning, S.M. and Carpenter, C.L., 2012. Walnuts improve semen quality in men consuming a Western-style diet: randomized control dietary intervention trial. Biology of reproduction, 87(4), pp.101-1.
  16. Gaskins, A.J., Afeiche, M., Wright, D.L., Toth, T.L., Williams, P.L., Gillman, M.W., Hauser, R. and Chavarro, J.E., 2014. Dietary folate and reproductive success among women undergoing assisted reproduction. Obstetrics and gynecology, 124(4), p.801.
  17. Chavarro, J.E., Rich-Edwards, J.W., Rosner, B. and Willett, W.C., 2007. A prospective study of dairy foods intake and anovulatory infertility. Human Reproduction, 22(5), pp.1340-1347.
  18. Attia, Y.A., Al‐Hanoun, A. and Bovera, F., 2011. Effect of different levels of bee pollen on performance and blood profile of New Zealand White bucks and growth performance of their offspring during summer and winter months. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 95(1), pp.17-26.
  19. Ali, A.F. and Awadallah, A., 2003. Bee propolis versus placebo in the treatment of infertility associated with minimal or mild endometriosis: a pilot randomized controlled trial. A modern trend. Fertility and Sterility, 80, p.32.
  20. Gonzales, G.F., Cordova, A., Gonzales, C., Chung, A., Vega, K. and Villena, A., 2001. Lepidium meyenii (Maca) improved semen parameters in adult men. Asian journal of andrology, 3(4), pp.301-304.
  21. Gonzales, G.F., Cordova, A., Vega, K., Chung, A., Villena, A. and Góñez, C., 2003. Effect of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a root with aphrodisiac and fertility-enhancing properties, on serum reproductive hormone levels in adult healthy men. Journal of endocrinology, 176(1), pp.163-168.
  22. Suzuki, K.M., Isohama, Y., Maruyama, H., Yamada, Y., Narita, Y., Ohta, S., Araki, Y., Miyata, T. and Mishima, S., 2008. Estrogenic activities of fatty acids and a sterol isolated from royal jelly. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine, 5(3), pp.295-302.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 23, 2022

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