foods for infertility

Yes, diet really does make a difference, and some foods for infertility truly stand out.

In this blog, I’ll review the most potent supplements and foods for infertility, including an incredible nutrient that will (literally) light up your conception attempts! 

Of course, we each have unique nutritional needs. Some of us have allergies or intolerances, and it’s important to consider taste preferences—we should definitely be enjoying our meals. 

However, the best foods for infertility start with proper sourcing. 

The Top Foods for Infertility


Fresh, organic, pasture-raised, wild-caught, and local: Sourcing matters. 

Industrial agricultural products and practices deplete nutrients from foods and often contain toxic substances. Pesticides and herbicides can contribute to infertility and harm the developing fetus. 

Your foods should be fresh, local, and organic to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, meat, eggs, dairy, and poultry should come from pasture-raised or grass-fed animals or healthy game animals.

Fish should be wild-caught from clean waters. Choose low-mercury fish such as wild Alaskan salmon and cod. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can damage both parent and fetus.

The fat from oily fish such as salmon and sardines is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are supernutrients for fetal development and nervous system health. Salmon eggs (roe) are very nutrient-dense and a great fertility and pregnancy food to eat when available.

Egg yolks: Liquid gold

Egg yolks contain cholesterol, a critical nutrient for the production of progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen. They are also one of the best sources of choline, a nutrient that helps the baby’s brain and nervous system develop optimally. 

Focus on eating whole eggs during preconception and pregnancy, but don’t reach for the packaged stand-alone egg whites. While egg whites are a fantastic source of protein, they lack the cholesterol and choline found in the yolk and may even lead to biotin deficiency, a nutrient needed for fetal growth development (1). Other excellent sources of choline include liver and tripe, while sunflower seeds are a good choice for vegetarians.

Probiotic foods

Probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, yogurt, kefir, and kvass support digestive, immune, and endocrine functions. Most are easy to make, and vegetable ferments don’t require a starter.

Beet kvass is a fermented beet beverage that supports healthy liver and gallbladder function and, along with other probiotic strains, helps decrease morning sickness—it’s a fantastic drink during preconception and pregnancy.

Prebiotic foods

Probiotics get more attention than prebiotics. However, prebiotics are arguably more important for fertility!


While probiotics assist many specific functions, such as GI motility, mood, and vaginal health, they don’t stick around. 

Contrary to popular belief, there is no substantial evidence that probiotics—any probiotics—colonize the gut. They do wonderful things for the body, including supporting healthy conception and pregnancy, but they don’t stick around for very long. 

On the other hand, prebiotics feed only the beneficial bacteria that live permanently in our gut. Foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, garlic, onions, burdock, kiwi, and oats are excellent sources of prebiotic fibers. 

Fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits

There’s an excellent reason that “eat your fruits and vegetables” has become rote: they’re amazingly beneficial for us and the friendly bacteria in our gut. 

Vegetables and fruits supply antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and the now somewhat controversial phytonutrients, misleadingly called antinutrients. Including a wide variety of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits in our diet helps ensure that we get all the hormonal and conception-supporting nutrients we need, plus the added benefit of a balanced microbiome to pass on to our baby during birthing and breastfeeding.

Harvesting produce from your own garden is an unbeatable source of fresh seasonal vegetables. But not everyone has the space or time. Your local farmer’s market or a community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscription are other great options. Find a CSA near you to ensure a steady supply of seasonal veggies or a combination of veggies and fruit. CSA boxes are a great way to try new vegetables as we tend to buy the same things repeatedly at the store.

Do your best to consume vegetables in a wide array of colors, and aim to eat some combination of cooked, raw, and fermented vegetables.

Depending on your unique needs, eat fruits in moderation—shoot for one to three servings per day. The overconsumption of sugars, even from fruit, can cause blood sugar imbalances in some people. Pomegranates, as well as blueberries and other berries, are packed with antioxidants. Enjoy fresh seasonal berries in a bowl of yogurt or crème fraiche with a drizzle of honey.

Broth and stock

Properly prepared stock or broth made from meat, bones, and connective tissue is a nourishing source of amino acids. Add in veggie scraps for extra minerals. 

Broth is an ideal base for vegetable or blended soups or cooking grains or legumes. And it doesn’t just add nutrients and flavor to your meals. Rather, it helps restore your body as you prepare for conception and growing a baby. The amino acids in broth provide the raw materials to help develop your baby’s bones, joints, and connective tissues. 

Learn more about how to make broth and stock here.

Zinc-rich foods: Getting the most out of the pyrotechnic mineral

Did you know that when fertilization occurs in mammals, sparks literally fly? 

In 2016, scientists captured the burst of light that occurs when a sperm and egg join. 

Experiments in mice show that “sparks of zinc exploded at the point of conception.” In fact, at the instant when a sperm enters the egg, billions of zinc atoms are released!

And, the more zinc that’s released, the better chances are that an embryo will form (2). You can read the full summary and watch video footage of this amazing phenomenon here

I can’t help but wonder if this is why humans have traditionally considered oysters, the most zinc-rich food on earth, to be an exceptional food for sexuality and fertility.

The bottom line is that sufficient zinc levels support pregnancy.

Zinc is a mineral that protects sperm from oxidative damage and increases sperm motility (movement). If a male’s zinc levels are low, this lessens the chance of conception.

Females need sufficient levels of zinc just as much as men. In fact, stretch marks during pregnancy are partly due to zinc insufficiency. Additionally, if you have ever seen white spots on your nails, you may be low in zinc. 

Oysters, red meat, poultry, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, chickpeas, and nuts are fantastic food sources.

Dietary Diversity

A disproportionate percentage of the Standard American Diet comes down to just a few foods—corn, wheat, and soy—repackaged in many different shapes and sizes. 

But there is also a risk of detrimental repetition in the holistic health world. 

Unfortunately, I have witnessed a fear-based, restrictive eating pattern based on the wish for “clean” eating. This can happen when there’s an understandable desire to fix health issues. 

It can be easy to believe that once we attain the perfect level of restriction of all the “bad” foods.

The reality is that we all have health problems. Many of them can be resolved or significantly reduced through a joyful, varied, and nutrient-dense way of eating. Yes, you may need to remove one or some foods short-term or long-term to enjoy optimal health and support fertility. But keep in mind that the less variety of foods one consumes, the less oral tolerance one ultimately retains—the tolerance a person has to all the thousands of compounds in food that will eventually interact with their immune system and ultimately impact conception.

Additionally, the more restricted one’s dietary choices, both in terms of macronutrients and variety, the less balanced overall health will be, with a higher likelihood of insufficient micronutrient intake and/or lack of health-supporting phytonutrients. 

Unneeded restriction ultimately limits fertility. It creates deficiencies in the necessary building blocks for healing, detoxification, neurotransmitter, and hormone balance. The bottom line: sometimes, elimination and restriction are necessary and important. However, it’s equally important to maintain balance and perspective.

The Top Supplements for Infertility 


While all the supplements discussed here are backed by research, it’s imperative to check with your doctor or licensed practitioner before beginning any new nutrient protocol or herb. This is especially true if you take prescription medication. 

Omega-3 fatty acids

When you think of omega-3s, think of low-mercury fish, such as cod and salmon, flax, chia, and hemp seeds, and even certain veggies, like purslane. These are all fantastic omega-3-rich foods for infertility. 

Omega-3s are sometimes hard to get into our diet but stand out when it comes to conception. In one observational study, women who supplemented with omega-3s were more than 1.5 times more likely to conceive versus women not taking the nutrient (3).

It’s best to find an omega-3 supplement separate from your prenatal: these oils are fragile and can easily go rancid when combined with other nutrients. 

And testing matters. The brand you choose should employ third-party testing for heavy metals and other contaminants commonly found in omega-3 oils. 

foods for infertility

Yes to (High-Quality) Prenatals

A high-quality prenatal vitamin is essential during the three months preceding conception to bolster nutrient reserves and reduce the risks of neural tube defects. There are several suitable prenatal vitamins out there, but the formulation I recommend the most is the Needed prenatal multi capsules.

If you’d like to learn more about the tests I use to assess nutrient needs in preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum, click here to enroll in our 6-week class all about blood test analysis in the reproductive years.

While females need prenatals, males will benefit from extra nutrients, too. Sperm formation, medically known as spermatogenesis, occurs in two to three-month cycles. 

So, males should plan on increasing nutrient intake, reducing alcohol and drug intake, as well as achieving a healthy body composition and addressing issues such as high blood sugar and blood pressure at least two to three months before conception attempts begin (4). 

General supplement suggestions for females:

General supplement recommendations for males:



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