Did you know that what you put in your body when trying to conceive is the single most important thing you can do to boost your fertility naturally? According to the Nurses' Health Study, the longest-running women’s health study in history, the foods you eat can drastically improve your chances of getting pregnant and can even help boost ovulation naturally.  

When my husband and I were struggling with infertility, I began getting super intentional in the kitchen and eating a targeted menu specifically written for fertility. It was more than eating “healthy” — it was eating for fertility. 

So what does the “fertility diet” look like?

Here are 6 tips for what to eat when trying to conceive:

1. Whole Food, Balanced Nutrition

Whether you're trying to reverse your unexplained infertility or struggling with one of the common fertility diagnoses, you always want to start with balanced, whole-food nutrition.  A balanced diet means eating the following:

  • Lean Protein (animal or plant), including chicken, fish, turkey, beans lentils, and seeds.
  • Whole Grains (i.e. brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat)
  • Leafy Greens and Veggies (i.e. kale, spinach, carrots, and cauliflower)
  • Healthy Fats (i.e. avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil)
  • Lots of Fiber (i.e. apple, pear, oats, chia seeds)

Also, consider eating based on “my magic plate,” which breaks your plate into thirds, each containing one of the above categories, as well as adding 1-2 tbsp of good healthy fat and fiber. Eating this way will give your body and hormones everything it needs to boost your fertility naturally and encourage healthy ovulation. 

2. Progesterone-Promoting Foods

Vitamin C is crucial to help increase progesterone production and is also an important antioxidant necessary in bodily processes, such as protein metabolism and the synthesis of neurotransmitters. 

Examples of vitamin C-rich foods are:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Sweet red peppers
  • Citrus fruits like grapefruits and lemons
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Guava
  • Papaya
  • Berries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Lightly cooked broccoli and Brussel sprouts

3. Estrogen-reducing foods

Due to sub-optimal food sources and environmental toxins, estrogen dominance is becoming more prevalent. Estrogen dominance disrupts thyroid hormone conversion (T4 to T3), which can affect your ability to conceive. 

Examples of estrogen-reducing foods are:

  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Bok Choy
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Chickpeas
  • Garbanzo beans

4. Androgen-reducing foods

High levels of male hormones like DHEA and testosterone can reduce the ability to conceive. Signs of excess testosterone may include greater susceptibility to acne, experiencing hair loss on the scalp, and increased hair growth in atypical areas for a female. 

Examples of androgen-reducing foods are:

  • Buckwheat
  • Carob
  • Grapefruit
  • Reishi mushrooms

5. Thyroid function-optimizing foods

Iodine is vital for healthy thyroid function, which converts into two main hormones Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4) that help regulate metabolism and can affect your ability to conceive. Sea vegetables are a great natural source of iodine that your body knows how to properly utilize as opposed to synthetic supplements. 

Examples of iodine-rich foods are:

  • Kelp
  • Kombu
  • Nori
  • Wakame

As you can see, adding certain foods to your diet can help you craft the perfect fertility diet that is specific to you. To help get you started with your own fertility meal plan, I want to share with you one of my favorite meal plans for ovulation. This will help you start to sync your cycle, strengthen your ovulation, and boost your fertility naturally. 

6. Ovulation Meal Plan

If you want to boost your ovulation naturally, follow my handy meal plan below, which includes recipes for every meal of the day! 

Breakfast: Chocolate Berry Dream Smoothie

1 cup chilled chicory tea (if you can find it; if not, sub with almond or coconut milk)
½ cup frozen strawberries
½ cup frozen raspberries
¾ cup steamed and frozen cauliflower
1 cup spinach, frozen
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
Blend until smooth

1-2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp Schisandra berry powder (a powerful liver-cleansing herb)
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder

Pro tip: Steamed cauliflower gives this smoothie a creamy texture (without added sugar from fruit) and you won’t taste it. Cauliflower also helps you to metabolize estrogen, which peaks at ovulation. Some women experience bloating here, and the culprit is excess estrogen. 

Make Me Balanced Smoothie

½ cup frozen mango
½ cup frozen pineapple
¼ cup frozen cherries
½ cup frozen spinach
¼ cup cilantro leaves
1 cup almond milk
Blend until smooth

Add-ins:1 tbsp sunflower butter1 scoop protein powder

Lunch: Give Me Green Salad

1 bunch kale 
1 bunch of purple cabbage, shredded
2 scallions, chopped 
¼ cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds  
1 cup grilled or baked chicken, chopped 

Be the expert in you.

Take the Quiz

Optional herbs to taste: cilantro or mint 

3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil 
¼ cup apple cider vinegar 
¼ tsp Himalayan sea salt 
¼ tsp black pepper 
½ tsp basil, oregano, and thyme

Mix in a bowl, top with 1-2 tbsp dressing, stir to combine.  

Serving size- 2 cups salad and 1- 2 tbsp dressing 

Squeeze lemon on top for extra zest and to make your dressing go further.  

Basic Stir Fry

¼ cup veggie broth 
1-pound chicken or fish
2 cups mushrooms (shiitake, Rimini, oyster, or chicken of the woods) 
1 radish, chopped 
2 carrots cut into matchsticks 
1 tsp grated ginger 
2-3 cups chopped kale 
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional) 
Himalayan sea salt to taste 

Optional: Serve over 1 cup of quinoa, cooked. 

Heat broth in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add meat, mushrooms, carrots, and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, and cook until tender. The kale should be bright green. The serving size is 1-2 cups. Listen to your hunger speedometer.  

Dinner: Gentle Lentil Soup (4-6 servings)

1 cup dried lentils 
6 cups filtered water or veggie stock 
1 onion, diced 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 carrot, sliced diagonally
1 parsnip sliced diagonally 
1 cup kale chopped

Put everything in a Crockpot except the kale, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. During the last 30 minutes, stir in kale and eat. 

Optional toppings: 1 tbsp sesame seeds, ¼ chopped avocado, cilantro, or parsley; Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.  

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

8 12 oz firm white fish (halibut or cod). You can also use chicken.  
½ cup canned coconut milk stirred 
¾ cup unsweetened coconut 
1 tbsp curry powder 
1 tsp sea salt 
4 large romaine lettuce leaves 
1 ripe mango peeled and diced ¼ inch thick 
Add cilantro to taste 
2 tsp grated ginger root, peeled 
Freshly squeezed lime to taste

While following a fertility diet isn't a guarantee that you will get pregnant, it can help boost your chances of conceiving naturally and give you back the sense of control you may need while navigating fertility challenges. Wishing you the best of luck! 

Kela Smith is a professional fitness trainer, wellness educator, and author. To date, she has published two books: The Complete Hormone Puzzle Cookbook and The Hormone Puzzle Method, as well as an online course with the same name. Kela also holds four distinct qualifications as a Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach. As the creator of the Hormone Puzzle Method, Kela helps her clients learn how to cycle sync so they have pleasant periods, boosted fertility, happy hormones, hotter sex lives, and greater creativity, productivity, and well-being at work and in life.