Superfoods for fertility
There is no guaranteed way to eat yourself pregnant, however there are foods that can help boost your chances of conception.
Your health pre-pregnancy is equally important, and there's a whole host of great things to eat that can have a positive impact on for both you and your partner, including reducing the risk of problems related to fertility in both men and women.
Sex and libido foods
For centuries, certain foods have been associated with sexual desire and fertility, mainly because they are thought to resemble the shape of the sexual organs.
These include pomegranates, avocados, bananas, figs, dates, asparagus, almonds, garlic and oysters.
Whether or not these foodstuffs actually have aphrodisiac qualities is open to debate. However, they are certainly rich in vital vitamins and minerals that are good for fertility.
Eating foods containing the amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine may raise levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals play a role in the production of hormones that prepare the uterus to receive an embryo.
Tryptophan is found in parsley, papaya, dates, bananas, celery, spirulina, carrots, dried apricots, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds and almonds.
For foods supplying tyrosine, try lean meats, turkey, fish – such as cod, sea bass and sardines – crab, kidney beans, mung beans or oats.
Foods to protect sperm, and eggs
Sperm cells and egg cells are highly susceptible to damage by free radicals. Eating foods that are rich in flavanoids helps to protect them.
Flavanoids are a group of plant pigments that give colour to a whole range of fruits and have potent antioxidant activity, which helps to neutralize the damage caused by free radicals.
Blueberries, raspberries, cherries, grapes, oranges, peaches, plums and tomatoes are all good sources of flavanoids.
Lack of certain nutrients can affect a man's production of sperm. Two of the most important dietary elements for improving numbers and quality of sperm are zinc and vitamin C.
Good sources of zinc include brazil nuts, eggs, fish, and seeds and grains.
Foods rich in vitamin C include green leafy vegetables, kiwi fruit and tomatoes.
Foods for healthy secretions
The secretions a woman produces each month are alkaline, as is the environment in which sperm are transported.
A fertility diet should be rich in high-alkaline foods, which include many fruits and vegetables.
Try asparagus, bamboo shoots, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, leeks, onions, potatoes, apples, avocados, cherries, mangoes, olives and peaches.
If you're looking for three simple ways to help boost your fertility, try:
1. GARLIC: Packed with vitamins A, B and C, it's a fantastic source of health-boosting minerals such as zinc and potassium.
2. ASPARAGUS: An excellent food if you are planning a pregnancy, providing folates which guard against birth defects.
3. POMEGRANATE: A symbol of fertility in many ancient cultures, the pomegranate contains antioxidants and several vitamins and is rich in iron.
If you are trying to get pregnant or having trouble conceiving, a fantastic book to get your hands on is Plan to get pregnant: 10 steps to maximum fertility, by Zita West. Published by Dorling Kindersley £14.99. Click here to buy.
Six big family moments that matter – and the products that make them easier to navigate
These products from John Lewis & Partners help support the memorable moments of family life.