Nutrition and Diet

Evaluating Food Quality when Trying to Conceive


As a woman actively trying to conceive, you are likely already aware of the significance of a healthy lifestyle and its impact on fertility. A key factor within this is the quality of food you consume. The journey to motherhood starts with the smallest building blocks of life, including the nutrients that fuel your body. Today, we embark on a comprehensive exploration of evaluating food quality and its relevance to conception.

The Link Between Diet and Fertility

The food we eat is more than just fuel; it's the raw material our bodies use to repair, grow, and function. This is particularly true when it comes to fertility. A balanced diet rich in certain nutrients can help prepare a woman’s body for pregnancy.

Key nutrients for fertility include folic acid, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and zinc. For instance, folic acid aids in preventing birth defects in the baby's brain and spine, while omega-3 fatty acids are essential for both male and female fertility.

Various scientific studies support the link between diet and fertility. A study published in the journal "Obstetrics & Gynecology" found that a diet rich in trans fats and low in unsaturated fats could significantly increase the risk of infertility.

Evaluating Food Quality

So, what constitutes "high-quality" food? High-quality foods are typically whole or minimally processed, nutrient-dense, and free from added sugar, sodium, or unhealthy fats. These foods provide vitamins, minerals, and other substances that may have positive health effects.

Processed foods often contain added sugars and unhealthy fats, which can have detrimental effects on your health. Whole foods, on the other hand, are unprocessed and unrefined before being consumed.

Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. While the jury is still out on whether organic foods offer more health benefits than conventional foods, they do expose you to fewer pesticides, which is a plus when you're trying to conceive.

Essential Nutrients for Conception

As we've mentioned before, certain nutrients are crucial when trying to conceive.

Folic acid (found in leafy greens, beans, citrus fruits) reduces risks of neural tube defects. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E (found in fruits, nuts, vegetables) help protect the body from damage by harmful molecules called free radicals. Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, walnuts) help regulate hormones, promote ovulation and improve the quality of the uterus by increasing the blood flow to the reproductive organs.

Vitamin D (found in fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and sunlight exposure) helps improve fertility by promoting healthy development of both the egg and embryo. Zinc (found in oysters, lean meats, legumes) plays a crucial role in hormone production, functioning of reproductive organs and sperm health in men.

Foods to Include in Your Diet

Optimize your fertility by including a variety of whole foods in your diet. These include fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals; lean proteins such as fish and chicken for essential amino acids; whole grains like quinoa and oats for slow-release energy; and healthy fats from avocado, nuts, and seeds for hormone production.

Remember to drink plenty of water for hydration and consider taking a prenatal vitamin supplement to fill any nutritional gaps.

Foods to Avoid

When it comes to foods that can hinder fertility, the usual suspects are processed foods high in trans fats and added sugars. Excessive alcohol can also affect fertility. Caffeine should be consumed in moderation as studies show a link between high caffeine intake and delayed conception.

Meal Planning and Preparation for Optimal Nutrition

Meal planning can make it easier to maintain a balanced diet. Start by creating a weekly meal plan, incorporating a variety of food sources for each nutrient. Prepare meals in advance when possible, and make healthy snacks readily available.

Maintaining a varied and balanced diet can seem overwhelming, but remember, small changes often lead to significant results.


We hope this comprehensive overview has provided valuable insights into the importance of food quality when trying to conceive. Remember, the journey to motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint. Making one positive dietary change at a time can significantly impact your fertility journey.


  • Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner BA, Willett WC. Dietary fatty acid intakes and the risk of ovulatory infertility. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2007;198(1):114.e1-114.e7.
  • Gaskins AJ, Chavarro JE. Diet and fertility: a review. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018;218(4):379-389.

Remember to consult with your healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.

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