Nutrition for Fertility (and good health!)

Jan 24

Nutrition for Fertility: Many patients come into the office and ask me if they should eliminate gluten or dairy from their diet to enhance fertility. Although this might be a good idea for some, it seems that In our society when we think of good health, we automatically think about deprivation.  Why is that? How healthy can that be to deprive oneself of all of these things? And why isn’t anyone telling you what to put back in to replace those things? I write this blog to encourage a mental paradigm shift when it comes to healthy eating.

Ask yourself, “What can I add into my diet?” rather than, “What can I take away?”

Seven FERTILE Rules for Nutrition

naturopathic medicine portlandFATS: Embrace healthy fats in your diet. Fats are needed for critical hormone metabolism in your body.  Introduce eggs, whole milk kefir or yoghurt, ghee, avocado, almonds, peanuts, brazil nuts, cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cottage cheese, goat milk products, “safe” fish, and hormone-free organic meat. Also, think about introducing a wide variety of cooking oils into your diet, like avocado, walnut, flax, coconut and grapeseed oil.  If you are trying to lose weight (research shows that a 10% loss of body weight enhances fertility in overweight females), incorporate these “good” fats and increase protein so that your metabolism gets revved up.

E XTREMES are not good in either direction. Instead of deprivation, think nourishment. Ask yourself, what can I add in to my diet to nourish myself and make myself healthier? It is so important to make long-term, sustainable changes to your diet.  When you make dietary changes, it takes about three months to affect your menstrual cycles and your fertility.  If you have made changes that you cannot sustain, that is a sign that you might be doing something too extreme. We can help you with this if you need some nutrition help.

R EDUCE: Yes, you do need to cut out alcohol, cigarettes, coffee (decaf and regular), marijuana, environmental estrogen and anything that is creating a toxic environment within your body.  That being said, please refer to “Extremes” above- and “Enjoy” below.

stress and acupunctureTAKE TIME to nourish yourself in multiple ways.  Whether you are overweight or underweight, we are all human and we all need to fill ourselves with positive things which make us feel good in the long term. For example, take a walk outside, get a massage or acupuncture, connect with others in your community, confide in someone that you have known for a while, etc.

INCLUDE Breakfast: I cannot stress the importance of this enough.  And a granola bar does not count as breakfast.  Here are three breakfasts I love for fertility: 1. Free range eggs and organic breakfast sausage on sprouted wheat bread and goat chevre (fancy!); 2. Steel cut oats with hemp milk, honey and a handful crushed nuts; 3. Sprouted grain bread and almond butter with a side of whole milk yogurt and fruit.

LOAD up on whole foods.  What is a whole food?  If you know what is in it when you look at it, then it is a whole food.  This includes unlimited vegetables, whole grains like quinoa & millet, and complex carbs like yams & potatoes.

nutrition portland oregon ENJOY your food!  Sharing meals with others is one of the greatest pleasures in life.  Depriving yourself of that pleasure will make for an unhappy person.  We want you to be happy.  As my Italian relatives say, “Mangia, Mangia!”

Liz Richards is a practitioner or Oriental Medicine specializing in fertility and pregnancy.  During the last 15 years of practice she has birthed and nursed two sweet boys while simultaneously growing a successful acupuncture practice. To contact Liz, please call 5032870886 or send an email to

Happy Eating! Happy Nutrition for Fertility!

For more reading:  Pre-Conception Health,  5 Foods for the 2 Week Wait