The eight superfoods that boost fertility in men AND women

The eight superfoods that boost fertility in men AND women: From pumpkin seeds to brazil nuts and the millennial-favorite avocado

  • Eight grocery aisle foods can help a person boost their chances of having a baby
  • While many factors go into fertility, diet is an easy change many can make
  • READ MORE: looked at which ‘fad diet’ is the best

Getting pregnant can be a complicated process that sometimes feels half-luck and half-good timing.

But one easy way to boost their odds of having a baby is by changing diet. Eating a diet full of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables can boost a person’s reproductive health – and fertility.

Superfoods such as salmon and avocados are rich in vitamins and minerals key for sperm health and the production of eggs.

Meanwhile, often overlooked foods such as pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts contain fatty acids that help regulate a person’s hormones and help the development of ovaries.

Spinach and Kale 

Staples of many healthy diets, spinach and kale are great sources of iron, folic acid and vitamin C – all of which can help a person be more fertile (file photo)

The pair of veggies are top sources of iron, folic acid and vitamin C and are great for women’s fertility.

A 2006 study by researchers at Harvard University found that women who boosted their daily iron intake using supplements were less likely to be infertile. 

This is because of the role iron plays in ovulation. 

Women who do not get enough iron are also more likely to suffer anovulation, a lack of ovulation, and poor egg health, making falling pregnant up to 60 per cent more difficult as compared with women with normal iron levels 

Another Harvard research team established a link between folic acid and female fertility in 2014.

In a study of 232 women, they found women who consumed high levels of folic acid were more likely to get pregnant and were more likely to have a successful birth.

Overall, high levels of daily folic acid increased a woman’s likelihood of live birth by 30 percent in the study.

Folic acid is great for the health of a woman’s ovaries and her overall reproductive system, increasing the chance of carrying out a healthy pregnancy. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UK health authorities recommend women get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid a day before they get pregnant. 

Vitamin C is also important in women because it can help regulate the menstrual cycle, elevating estrogen levels while lowering progesterone levels.

The vitamin can also repair damage suffered in both men and women’s reproductive systems, further increasing the odds of a healthy pregnancy. 

For men, vitamin C may improve sperm quality by protecting it from being damaged by free radicals.

A study from 2006 on infertility in men showed that taking 1,000mg of vitamin C supplements twice a day for up to two months raised sperm motility — their ability to move efficiently — by 92 percent. Sperm counts also doubled.

Brazil Nuts 

Brazil nuts are extremely high in selenium, which is critical for the development of follicles in a woman’s ovaries (file photo)

The dry, protein-rich nuts which grow on the most elderly of trees in the Amazon rainforest have nutrients that are thought to help fertility.

This is because of the nuts’ rich selenium content.

One brazil nut contains as much as 91 micrograms (mcg) of selenium — or double the daily recommended intake of 55 mcg per day. 

The element is critical to the body’s creation of DNA, and can help reduce cell damage and protect against infections.

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In women, it is crucial to develop follicles in the ovaries — tiny fluid-filled sacs holding eggs.

Selenium is also an antioxidant and can help prevent damage to eggs from free radicals within the body – molecules that damage cells.

In 2014, a Polish research team wrote: ‘Selenium plays a significant role in the undisturbed functioning of the reproductive system.’

Many studies have addressed the correlation between its intake and fertility and disorders of procreation processes.

Selenium deficiencies may lead to gestational complications, miscarriages and the damaging of the nervous and immune systems of the fetus.

‘A low concentration of selenium in blood serum in the early stage of pregnancy has been proved to be a predictor of low birth weight of a newborn.’

Its antioxidant benefits also stretch to sperm.

In a 2011 study involving 690 infertile men who were given selenium supplements for 100 days, results showed a 52 percent improvement in sperm motility, size and shape. There was also a 10.8 percent pregnancy rate among the men’s partners.

Although a true deficiency of selenium is relatively rare, it can be diagnosed using a blood test or via samples of hair and nails.


Poultry is the meat best for fertility. It is high in selenium and iron, but does not include the harmful saturated fats and cholesterol found in red meat (file photo)

While red meat, ham and some processed meats may have a man’s fertility, a chicken dinner can boost his chances of conceiving.

Chicken and turkey are an excellent source of selenium, as are other meats. But, red meats include high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol that offset many of the benefits, unlike poultry.

While iron, another crucial nutrient for fertility, levels are higher in red meat, chicken still does include enough to impact a diet.

A Harvard study in 2015 found that men who ate high levels of red and processed meats had lower fertility.

But, men who often ate poultry had a 13 percent increased likelihood of fathering a child. 


The lycopene in tomatoes that give it its iconic red coloring is also a fertility booster in both men and women (file photo)

The same chemical that gives tomatoes their deep red coloring is also healthy for a man’s sperm, research shows.

Lycopene is an organic compound made up of carbon and hydrogen. It gives off a red hue, coloring fruits such as tomatoes and grapefruits.

It is also great for a man’s sperm count and may let them move faster through a woman’s reproductive system. 

A study in 2019 saw 44 men with low sperm counts given 25mg supplements of lycopene for 12 weeks while a control group got a placebo.

By the end of the study, those who got lycopene had significantly more sperm than those who did not get the supplement.

For women, lycopene could prevent the formation of endometriosis, a cause of infertility worldwide. 

The condition occurs when tissue that is supposed to line the inside of the uterus grows outside.

It is estimated that more than one-in-ten American women suffer from the condition. Up to half of these women are infertile because of the state.


Avocados are rich in many vitamins linked to good fertility, including vitamin A, potassium and magnesium (file photo)

The millennial favorite may give a boost to fertility.

Avocados are high in folic acid, vitamin A, potassium and magnesium.

Like with leafy greens, the folic acid in avocados boosts a woman’s likelihood of getting pregnant and of a successful live birth.

Scientists from the University of Wisconsin wrote in 2011 that females who are deficient in vitamin A are less likely to conceive.

They also say the vitamin is essential for the body’s production of sperm and for the overall health of a male’s genitals.

Avocados are also an excellent source of potassium and richer in nutrient than bananas – the fruit most associated with the chemical element.

Shortages of the electrolyte, called hypokalemia, have been linked to infertility in men.

This is because the chemical makes up seminal fluid in men, and a lack of it can lead to low sperm counts. 

For women, potassium deficiencies can lead to the development of ovarian cysts. While these are usually harmless, they could also lead to endometriomas

Magnesium deficiencies have been liked to infertility in women too, including in a 2015 study by Austrian researchers, though experts are not sure why.

Pumpkin Seeds 

Pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of zinc and omega 3 fatty acids (file photo)

The fall favorite pumpkin seeds are rich in multiple vitamins and minerals that are great for fertility, but most importantly in zinc.

The chemical element is a key part of a healthy diet, and can boost the immune system and the body’s metabolism. It is also essential to fertility.

It plays a role in how women’s egg cells divide and become fertilized; deficiencies can make it harder for a woman to get pregnant.

It has also been linked to higher sperm counts and quality in men who get high levels of it in their diets.

Omega 3 fatty acids, which can also be found in pumpkin seeds, can also be a big boost to fertility. 

The fatty acids are known to help regulate hormone systems and help a woman have a more consistent menstrual cycle – making conceiving more simple.


While eggs are often demonized as sources of cholesterol, recent research is starting to bring the breakfast favorite back into a positive light.

This includes research showing the value they have in boosting a person’s fertility.

Egg yolks are rich in iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamin A – all known to help make a person more fertile.

They are also sources of lean protein, which have tenous links to better fertility. 


Known as a wonder food, the nutrients in salmon are great for a person’s reproductive health (file photo)

The popular superfood found in your sushi can boost fertility too. Salmon is rich in fatty acids, selenium and vitamin D, all great for people hoping to have a baby.

Vitamin D plays an interesting role in fertility for both men and women. 

The nutrient most associated with sunlight can help a woman produce more eggs, increasing her chance of getting pregnant.

It has also been linked to sperm mobility, which is the ability for sperm to navigate a woman’s reproductive system and find eggs.

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