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Fertility Health
Read on for fertility diet and lifestyle tips that may benefit both men and women on their journey to starting a family.

Do certain foods or diet patterns help with fertility? Maybe so. A recent study revealed that certain dietary patterns, like the Mediterranean and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets may help support healthy ovarian function. In addition to the possible fertility benefits, both diets have been shown to support heart health, a healthy weight, and may even help keep you healthy as you age.  

So, what do these diets have in common?

The Mediterranean and DASH diets encourage eating more plant-based foods, lean meats, and fish versus foods higher in fat, salt, and sugar. They are also more than a “diet”— they are about working towards healthier lifestyle choices.

While more research is needed on diet and fertility outcomes, there are overall health benefits to making dietary changes that emphasize more plant-based and nutrient-rich food choices. Here are a few tips to help you support your fertility and work towards a healthier you.  

Visit your doctor.

Many things can affect your fertility. If you’re thinking it’s time to start a family, set up an appointment with your doctor to find out if there is anything you can do to improve your current diet and lifestyle choices to promote optimal fertility and support a healthy pregnancy.

Make healthy eating and lifestyle choices a family affair.

Fertility is a two-way street. It takes a healthy egg and healthy sperm to conceive, so it’s important for both partners to adopt lifestyle factors that can help support fertility. Whether it is stopping smoking, reducing alcohol or caffeine intake, eating more fruits and vegetables, or exercising more, talking about these changes and finding ways to take them on together can improve the likelihood that they will stick.

Keep key nutrients in mind.

While folate is often the most discussed nutrient for women of child-bearing age, other nutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin D, choline, and omega-3 fatty acids, should not be overlooked. Each plays an essential role in supporting both male and female reproductive health. Zinc helps promote healthy sperm quality. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to ovarian health in women and may benefit both male and female fertility. While getting these nutrients from the diet is key, sometimes you may need a little help. . Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if you would benefit from a dietary supplement to bridge any nutrient gaps.

Seek personalized nutrition support.

Given the emphasis on nutrition for promoting optimal fertility, many registered dietitians specialize in this area and often are part of the staff of fertility centers. Meeting with one of these nutrition experts can help you and your partner receive individualized dietary guidance. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers general tips and resources on food and fertility and links to find a dietitian in your area. Your healthcare provider can also connect you to a dietitian available through your healthcare network. In addition to nutrition counseling and education, many dietitians offer cooking classes, grocery store tours, and other practical tools for improving meal planning and preparation skills.  


Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to support fertility. Start by talking about family planning with your partner and healthcare provider, and work on identifying changes you and your partner can make to help you achieve your goal – a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.     

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