The Ultimate List of Fertility Enhancing Foods

By CNY Fertility Published on

If you’ve been looking for a list of fertility superfoods then your search is over.

The fertility superfoods mentioned in this article are loaded with fertility-enhancing nutrients for both men and women trying to conceive.

While many will still need the assistance of a reproductive endocrinologist and treatment even if they’re down this whole list of fertility superfoods daily, that shouldn’t stop you from loading up your cart with as many goodies of this fertility food list as possible.

Nutrients in these foods have been shown to increase sperm count, motility, morphology, and overall male fertility along with egg quality and pregnancy rates. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying naturally or with treatments like IUI (aka artificial insemination) or IVF, adding a few new fertility foods to your weekly diet, or eliminating some less-healthy options are part of a holistic strategy to increase fertility and improve your chances of getting pregnant.

What is a Fertility Food List

Quite simply, a fertility food list is a list of fertility superfoods that are loaded with specific nutrients shown in clinical studies to improve various aspects of male and female fertility.

While some fertility foods listed here are more beneficial for women and some more so for men, the majority contain nutrients that help both male and female fertility issues. Here are the top 10 foods that made it onto our fertility superfood list.

Food A D Folate B12 Zinc Selenium Omega 3 Carnitine

Ribeye (1 lbs)

5%
6%
235%
 
116% 107%
1,088 mg
432 mg
Liver (100 g) 338% 2% 4% 72% 988% 27% 57% 7 mg 3.6 mg
Spinach (3 Cups) 188% 47% 49% 4% 1%
138 mg
Oyster (6) 2% 5% 67% 2% 272% 509% 76%
565 mg
2.4 mg
Guava (1 cup) 21% 628% 20% 3% 1% 185 mg
Salmon (1/2 fillet) 2% 175% 12% 105% 8% 104%
3,996 mg
5.5 mg
Walnuts (1 cup) 3% 29% 24% 8%
10,623 mg
Avocado (1 fruit)   4% 20% 30% 6% 1% 150 mg
Heavy Cream (1 cup) 35% 1% 16% 1% 4% 2% 1% 646 mg
Eggs (2) 10% 9% 12% 22% 7% 45% 74 mg

For the remainder of this article, we will take a deep dive into each fertility superfood listed above and discuss relevant clinical studies focusing in on specific nutrients that specific food is particularly high in.

Beef

Who It’s For: Men and women, though possibly more important for men.
Main Benefit: Sperm & egg quality

Beef and other red meats have been hotly contested topics of debate: good for you or not? While some earlier observational studies concluded there was a link between red meat and colon cancer, more recent examinations of these studies found insufficient evidence to support the association. And modern randomized studies have supported a very different conclusion, finding that red meat consumption showed no significant associations with an increased risk of cancer or heart events.

So with any health-damaging concerns squashed, is beef actually fertility superfood?

You better believe it. Beef is a near-perfect package of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fats that your body needs and are difficult to find in other food sources. So much so, beef may be the number one fertility superfood (particularly for men) and easily deserves a place on any fertility food list.

Here’s why:

Key Nutrients in this Fertility Boosting Foood

1 lb Ribeye Steak Amount

% Daily Value

Zinc 22.4 mg 116%
Selenium 133.3 mcg 107%
Vitamin B12 6.4 mcg 256%
Carnitine 432 mg

Aspartic acid
7256 mg

Arginine
 
5020 mg

Omega 3s
1,088 mg

A 1lbs ribeye steak contains 116% of your daily requirement for zinc.

Zinc is an essential nutrient for all humans but studies show it is particularly important for male fertility. Zinc is more concentrated within the testicles than it is anywhere else in the human body, low zinc levels have been associated with low testosterone, poor sperm quality (like count and motility), and male infertility.

Fortunately, studies also show that supplementing with zinc (or increasing intake in your diet via other means) improves sperm motility and count.

Selenium is another nutrient known to improve sperm motility, morphology, and pregnancy rates and also plays an important role in pregnancy. That same serving of ribeye fulfills 107% of your daily requirement.

Vitamin B12 is another important nutrient for fertility. Surprisingly, this key nutrient can only be found in animal products and many people are deficient, including half of the pregnant population. 

Research indicates that vitamin B-12 helps improve semen quality, particularly sperm count, sperm motility, and DNA Fragmentation.

Women benefit from the Vitamin B12 found in this fertility-boosting food as well. One study showed women with the highest blood levels of vitamin B-12 were two times more likely to have a live birth compared to women with the lowest levels.

Carnitine, Arginine, and Aspartic Acid are a few other nutrients that have been shown to improve sperm motility and testosterone levels and are similarly found in their highest concentrations in red meat.

Carnitine may also be helpful for women, particularly those with PCOS with some studies finding those that supplemented with carnitine to have higher pregnancy rates.

This, along with Beef’s surprising amount of amazing omega 3 fatty acids (more on those later) make beef the best fertility food for men and one of the top fertility foods for women.

Liver

Who It’s For: Men and women
Main Benefit: Egg, sperm health, and fetal health

Key Fertility Boosting Nutrients in Liver 

100g Liver Amount %DV
Vitamin A
16899 IU
338%
Vitamin B12
59.3 mcg
988%
Folate
290 mcg
72%

Liver is an often overlooked fertility superfood for men and women that should be easily making its way onto any fertility food list. Decades ago, it was a staple on dinner tables, but its popularity dwindled until recently when it’s been celebrated as a superfood by many nutritionists.

Liver is a powerful source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, folate and more.  Beef and chicken liver are the best source for folate.

Just 100 g of beef liver provides 338% of the daily recommended vitamin A. Vitamin A, known to reduce inflammation, helps follicles mature properly, improves egg quality and ovarian response, supports implantation and embryonic development, improves the volume and quality of cervical fluid, and protects sperm in men.

Liver also packs a huge punch when it comes to vitamin B12, providing 988% of your daily recommended.  As we know from above, Vitamin B12 is critically important for male fertility and has also been shown important in female fertility.

Liver also provides our bodies with one of the most usable forms of iron which is incredibly important during pregnancy.

Folate is another reason this food helps male and female fertility.

Folate helps with sperm DNA replication (and thus sperm count), and also helps prevent both failed fertilization and implantation failure, improves egg development, increases live birth rates, and protects against neural tube defects in growing fetuses.

This nutrient profile of this fertility superfood, particularly its folate content makes it one of the best fertility foods for women and men.

Spinach (and other Leafy Greens)

Who It’s For: Women and men, though slightly more important for women due to folate.
Main Benefit: Egg, fertility, and prenatal support preventing fetal neural defects, and sperm health.

100 g Spinach (about 3 cups) Amount % Daily Value

Vitamin A

9376 IU
188%
Vitamin C
28.1 mg
47%
Vitamin K
483 mcg
 
604%
Folate
194 mcg
49%

Leafy greens include a flavorful and diverse selection of plants: kale, chard, spinach, cabbage, beet greens, watercress, and bok choy, among others. While some may be slightly better for you than others, just about all make it onto our fertility food list.

They are rich in vitamins A, C, K, folate, and other minerals and antioxidants.

As mentioned previously, folate is linked to many reproductive benefits in both men and women, including improved ovulation, higher quality embryos, and improved sperm health. In fact, one study showed that men who consume high levels of folate had a 20-30% lower overall frequency of sperm abnormalities. Folate helps to inhibit birth defects in the brain and spine during the first few weeks of development.

All these nutrients easily secure spinach and other leafy greens on our list of fertility foods.

Oysters

Who It’s For: May be more important for men, but women benefit as well.

Main Benefit: Helps improve sperm count and motility as well as egg quality, pregnancy rates, and overall female fertility.

Oysters (6 medium) Amount %DV
Zinc 76.3 mg 509%
Vitamin B 12 16.3 mcg 272%
Selenium 53.5 mcg 76%
Vitamin D 269 IU 67%

For centuries, oysters have been touted as an aphrodisiac. While the science on this isn’t conclusive, we do know for certain that oysters are a fertility superfood because they are rich in zinc, Vitamin B12, Selenium, and Vitamin D.

As discussed further up this fertility food list (in the beef section) selenium and zinc are key nutrients that should be looked for when trying to find foods for fertility for men.

Just six medium-sized oysters provide 509% of the recommended daily serving of zinc. Zinc acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, helping sperm to survive until they can reach the egg.

In women, low zinc levels have been found to increase the chances of miscarriage, create hormone imbalances, and inhibit the release of an egg from the ovaries.  

All that zinc in combination with the other fertility-boosting nutrients makes oysters a top 3 fertility food for men with similar importance for women. But, above-normal zinc levels in the body can be harmful as well, so don’t get too carried away at the raw bar.

Guava (and other High Vitamin C Fruits like Kiwi, Oranges, & Berries)

Who it’s For: Both men and women, though probably slightly more important for men.
What’s the Benefit: Vitamin C and antioxidants are beneficial to both male and female fertility.

1 Cup (165 g) Guava Amount % Daily Value
Vitamin C
377 mg
628%

Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants which all improve sperm quality, sperm count, and sperm functioning with regular consumption and support healthy fetal growth.

One study found Vitamin C intake to be one of the biggest factors in sperm health.

Citrus Fruits - Superfood on Fertility Food List

Several other studies have further supported Vitamin C’s important role in male fertility.

Vitamin C may also be an important nutrient in foods for female fertility. One study found women who eat several servings of fruit per day were less likely to have trouble conceiving.

But, don’t overdo it with fruit. Fruit contains large amounts of sugar, which as you may suspect have been shown to negatively impact sperm and many aspects of female fertility. In fact, one study found that just 40g of sugar a day reduced pregnancy rates in females by a quarter and in males by a third. While fruits made their way onto our list of fertility foods, it may be better to get your vitamin C from a male fertility supplement due to the potential downside of sugar.

Salmon (and other Fatty Fish like Herring & Sardines)

Who It’s For: Both men and women

Main Benefit: Most people are majorly lacking in Omega-3s and vitamin D. Fatty fish are loaded with both and can thus help improve sperm count, motility, and morphology and similarly improve egg quality and the chance of pregnancy in females.

1/2 Filet (198 grams) Salmon Amount % Daily Value
Omega 3 Fatty Acids 3996 mg
Vitamin D 526 IU 84%

Omega 3s help support reproductive function in both men and women. They support egg quality, hormone function, and overall female reproductive health in ladies and sperm quality in men. Unfortunately, most people eating a standard American diet are lacking in omega 3s, so it’s important to make fatty fish a regular part of your diet whether you’re trying to conceive or not.

Omega 3 fatty acids are powerful fertility boosters and easy to get with a healthy serving of salmon, herring, or sardines. Men and women looking to increase their fertility can double down and eat fish rich in omega-3s several times a week.

Out of the three fish mentioned above, we recommend salmon and sardines the most. That’s because 1/2 filet of salmon and one can of sardines in oil provide nearly all your entire daily requirement for vitamin D, which supports reproductive function, immune function, and bone health.

All of that solidified Salmon and these other fish as true fertility superfoods and a rightful place on any fertility food list.

Walnuts

Who It’s For: Men and women
Main Benefit: Omega-3s and magnesium to help with sperm and egg development and implantation.

1 Cup (100g) Walnuts Amount % Daily Value
Folate
115 mcg
29%
Magnesium 
185 mg
46%
Omega 3s
10623 mg
 

Walnuts are little powerhouses in a shell and one of the only plant-sources for healthy Omega-3s–and made of about 65% fat. A handful of walnuts is the perfect between meal snack and a fertility boosting food that provides omega-3 fats and vitamin E (which also helps endometrial health), as well as vitamin B6, folate, zinc, and protein.

One study found that walnuts to reduce sperm damage and replenish sperm cells. Just 30 walnut halves (2.5 oz) per day can have a positive effect on sperm vitality, motility and morphology in men.

Walnuts also contain magnesium (about 163% of our daily recommended amount), which helps the body to produce progesterone and improves blood supply to the uterus–both helpful for female fertility. Rather surprisingly, more than 50% of American’s don’t meet their daily magnesium requirements.

This is an even bigger problem for those with PCOS as they are 19 times more likely to be magnesium deficient than the general population. In fact, those with PCOS may need to supplement with magnesium due to the high chance of magnesium deficiency and important role magnesium plays in our body and fertility.

All that omega threes, folate, and magnesium are great reasons to add walnuts to your list of fertility foods for women and men so be sure to grab some next time your at the grocery store.

Avocados

Who It’s For: Men and women
Main Benefit: Omega-3s, among other nutrients, make avocados nutritious and can help support fertility-related problems in both men and women.

1 Avocado (about 134g) Amount % Daily Value
Vitamin C 12 mg 20%
Vitamin K 28.6 mcg 36%
Folate 121 mcg 30%
Omega 3s 150 mg
Vitamin E 2.7 mg 13%
Potassium 689 mg 20%

Break out the tortilla chips and get your guac on! Okay, actually hold the tortilla chips, as those would be on the list of foods to avoid when trying to get pregnant.

Interestingly, the name avocado comes from the Aztec word āhuacatl, which means “testicle.” Coincidence? Maybe not. Avocados have a nice broad spectrum fertility-boosting nutrient profile with things like vitamin E, folate, Omega 3, potassium, and vitamin K, which helps our bodies absorb certain vitamins properly.

Vitamin E works as an antioxidant and helps improve the lining of the uterus.

In part, because they contain Omega-3 fatty acids, avocados improve sperm health and provide enzymes that help sperm form and mature.

For women, consuming omega-3 fatty acids found in avocados can improve egg quality, regulate ovulation, and may even help slow down the aging process of the ovaries.

Avocados also contain minerals such as iron, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Some studies have shown that this food multiplies the success of fertility treatments. One study found women who ate the highest amounts of monounsaturated fats, like those found in avocados, were 3.4 times more likely to have a child after IVF than those who ate the lowest amounts. Avocados also don’t increase glucose levels in the blood.

Heavy Cream (or other Full-Fat Dairy Products)

Who It’s For: Mostly women, but men benefit as well
Main Benefit: Supports ovulation function and immune health

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream Amount % Daily Value
Omega 3s 646 mg
Vitamin A 1764 IU 35%
Vitamin D 62.4 IU 16%

The lymphatic system is part of our circulatory and immune systems. Eating fat lubricates the lymphatics and helps filter out harmful pathogens, which is critical to maintaining a person’s optimal health and fertility. The saturated fats found in butter, cream, whole milk, full-fat yogurt, and even full-fat ice cream (like Dr. Kiltz’s Ice Cream) are needed to keep the lymphatic system running its best. Full-fat dairy is also a rich source of cholesterol that’s needed for hormone synthesis.

Full-fat dairy contains protein and other fertility-supporting nutrients like zinc, choline, selenium, vitamin A and vitamin D.

Vitamin A is essential for reproduction in both men and women. In females, vitamin A supports egg quality, ovarian response, embryonic development, and placental function. 

Full-fat dairy also contains lots of calcium. In addition to supporting bone, heart, muscle, and nerve health, calcium is involved in sperm production in men.

It is important to ensure you are eating full-fat products as the calcium found in skim and other lesser-fat products does not absorb as effectively. And, unfortunately, during the process of separating out the fat to make low/no-fat products, much of the nutrients in dairy are lost as well.

In fact, a Harvard study found that women who ate full-fat dairy products were less likely to experience ovulation problems when compared to women who ate primarily low-fat dairy products. Eating just one serving (about half a cup) of full-fat dairy can decrease a woman’s chances of ovulatory infertility.

Eggs

Who It’s For: Mostly women
Main Benefit: Protein for energy and protecting fetal neurological development.

2 large eggs Amount % Daily Value
Vitamin A 487 IU 10%
Folate 47 mcg 12%
Vitamin B12 1.3 mcg 22%
Selenium 31.7 mcg 45%
Choline 251 mg

Ask anyone with a background in nutrition and they’ll tell you that eggs are a near-perfect food–low carb, high fat, high protein, perfectly packaged, and full of omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals.

Egg whites provide protein, while the yolks contain choline, the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, folate, and even the beneficial antioxidant lutein. Eggs are a staple of the keto diet, most fertility diets, and are incredibly versatile and affordable.

An often-looked nutrient, choline, has been shown to reduce the risk of some birth defects, so maintaining healthy choline levels before and during pregnancy is essential for women and fetal neurological development.

Most Americans don’t get enough choline, and only about 10-50% of pregnant women meet the recommended guidelines. Choline helps with liver detoxification and fatty acid metabolism. For women with PCOS, choline can assist with managing insulin levels and normalize fat metabolism for optimal fertility.

Other Helpful Tips

Stop Smoking: Smoking can be incredibly damaging to both male and female fertility.   Fortunately, fertility rebounds fairly quickly after quitting so if you’re still smoking, try to stop.

Consider Supplements: While the nutrients you can get from eating from this fertility food list is quite helpful, fertility supplements are still nearly always recommended by our fertility specialist to fill in any nutrient gaps and provide some nutrients (like CoQ10 and Inositol) that have been clinically shown to improve fertility but are impossible to obtain from diet alone. Male Fertility Supplements are loaded with nutrients shown to increase sperm count, motility, and overall male fertility; female fertility supplements help support egg quality, ovulation, pregnancy rates, and more.

If you’re looking for a good brand to trust, we recommend Molecular Fertility

Limit Alcohol: Like smoking, heavy alcohol consumption has been shown to have some pretty substantial consequences in the fertility realm.   Try to limit things to just a few drinks per week.

Get Some Sun: Like consuming vitamin D orally, vitamin D that your body synthesised in sunlight helps support male and female fertility and reproductive outcomes.

Final Thoughts on our Fertility Food List

To find fertility superfoods for men and women, one need not look much farther than your typical refrigerator or pantry. For the most part, foods that increase fertility are neither exotic nor unfamiliar. They are the staples most of us buy week in and week out at the grocery store or farmer’s market.

But, if your pantry is lacking choices from our fertility food list, consider writing this list of fertility-boosting foods down so you know exactly what to buy next time you’re at the market.

Regularly eating foods like a salad of dark leafy greens sprinkled with walnuts, a hard-boiled egg, or a salmon with a side of sliced avocado pack a nutritional (and fertile!) punch that both men and women need to optimize their fertility. For men, selecting fertile foods means improving sperm health and motility; for women, it’s improving hormones, egg quality, and protecting fetal development during early pregnancy.

So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself some treats from this fertile food list and get ready for some big results!

And if you need a little summary of everything we just learned, feel free to brows the fertility superfood list below.

Fertility Superfood

Key Nutrients High in Superfood Male Fertility Benefit Female Fertility Benefit

Beef

Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin B 12, Protein (specifically amino acids like Carnitine, Arginine, and Aspartic Acid) Reduces DNA fragmentation and Increases sperm count, motility, morphology, and partner pregnancy rates Improves pregnancy and live birth rates.
Liver Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Folate Reduce inflammation and protects sperm. Improves sperm count, motility, and DNA fragmentation.

Reduce inflammation, helps follicles mature properly, improves egg development, quality, and ovarian response, supports implantation and embryonic development, improves the volume and quality of cervical fluid, increases live birth rates, and protects against neural tube defects in growing fetuses.

Spinach (and other leafy greens) Vitamin A, C, K, and Folate

Provides sound antioxidant support and helps increases sperm count, motility, and morphology.  

Helps prevent both failed fertilization and implantation failure, improves egg development, increases live birth rates, and protects against neural tube defects in growing fetuses.
Oysters Zinc, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Selenium

Improves sperm motility, morphology, count, DNA integrity, and pregnancy rates.

Improves egg quality and pregnancy and live birth rates.
Guava (and other high vitamin C fruit) Vitamin C Improves sperm count, motility, and morphology. Supports fertility.
Salmon (and Sardines and Harring) Omega 3s, Vitamin D, Proteins Improves sperm count, motility, and morphology. Improves egg quality, pregnancy rates, and live birth rates.
Walnuts Omega 3s, Vitamin B6, Folate, Zinc Supports sperm count, motility, and morphology. Helps improve egg quality live birth rates, and protects against neural tube defects in growing fetuses.
Avocado Not particularly high in anything, but a broad spectrum of many nutrients. May help support male fertility. May help support female reproductive and fetal health.
Full Fat Dairy Omega 3, Vitamin A, Vitamin D Supports sperm count, motility, and morphology. Helps improve egg quality, pregnancy rates and live births.
Eggs Not particularly high in anything, but a broad spectrum of many nutrients. May help support male fertility. May help support female reproductive and fetal health.

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