“Diet and lifestyle can account for as much as 50 percent of infertility,” says Jorge Chavarro, M.D., an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “And in women going through infertility treatment, it accounts for between 10 to 15 percent of the differences in success rates,” says Chavarro.

The AcuBalance Fertility Diet – click here
This diet was prepared by my colleagues in Vancouver, and has some great information on how we see nutrition for fertility, as well as sections for conditions such as PCOS and Endometriosis.

Get plenty of essential fatty acids, preferably from unprocessed plant sources and deep-sea fish
The essential fatty acids play a key role in ovulation.  Eat fish, fish oil, non-hydrogenated cold-pressed oils such as flaxseed and pumpkin-seed, eggs, unprocessed soy products, raw nuts and seeds.  Avoid trans fatty acids like shortening, margarine, lard and hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are found in many processed foods. A tablespoon of KerryGold grassfed butter is a great source of healthy fat.  Another key fatty acid is omega 3, which can be found in deep-sea fish oil.  They increase the blood flow to the uterus, boost the immune system and are essential in brain development.

Eat organic foods and hormone-free meats whenever possible
The pesticides, chemicals and hormones used to treat produce and animal products contain a synthetic estrogen-like substance that can bind to receptor sites on the ovaries, thereby disrupting our natural hormone function. This has a negative effect on all organ and endocrine systems.  Avoid processed foods, as the processing that food undergoes eliminates much of the natural nutrition present in the original fruits, grains and vegetables.  Most of the canned, prepared foods contain preservatives and minuscule original food value.

Add more cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower to your diet
Cruciferous vegetables contain a compound – DIM, that stimulates more efficient use of estrogen by increasing the metabolism of estradiol.  Excess estradiol is associated with breast and uterine cancer, moodiness and low libido.  Adding DIM to your diet allows the estradiol to breakdown, which can eliminate estradiol’s negative effects.

Eliminate caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
Caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants should be minimized or avoided. Nicotine ages the ovaries and makes the eggs resistant to fertilization.  Alcohol can be damaging if in excess and you fall into the damp, heat or Liver Qi category. Coffee is a vaso-constrictor, which temporarily diverts blood from the unnecessary organs (uterus/ovaries) to the necessary organs (heart/brain/lungs/etc). Green tea should be avoided when pregnant, as it contains an enzyme that blocks the absorption of Folate (Vitamin B9).

If at all possible, avoid unnecessary medication and drugs, including over-the-counter preparations
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can inhibit ovulation. If you have scanty cervical mucus or vaginal dryness, avoid decongestants, antihistamines, Mucinex, and excess supplemental vitamin C.  Best use Guaifenesin, an expectorant that thins all mucus secretions. Avoid vaginal lubricants that are spermicidal.  Add in evening primrose oil to your supplement regimen.

Avoid processed food, excessive stress, too little sleep, too much exercise or anything taxing to the immune system
You should give your body every chance to be its strongest and healthiest so it can nourish your child. Lean Cuisines are easy, but they’re packed with preservatives that can disrupt hormone function. Late hours, bad food or excessive stress of any kind means your body has to dedicate its precious resources to keeping you healthy instead of making a baby.

Incorporate cycle friendly foods. Cooling/yin nourishing for follicular, Warming/yang nourishing for luteal.
Follicular foods:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Berries (blue/rasp/black)
  • Melons
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Tofu
  • Plums
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Black/Wild Rice
  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • Pork

Luteal foods:

  • Warming spices – ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, basil
  • The onion family – garlic, leeks, chives, onions, scallions
  • Fennel
  • Bell Peppers
  • Black beans
  • Walnuts
  • Quinoa
  • Chicken
  • Salmon