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The Impact of Nutrition on Your Fertility Journey.

Healthy U Nutrition Fertility Guide

Fertility and nutrition is an area that needs a little more love and attention! Over the years, I have experienced an increase in referrals for fertility support (both early stages, and later stages of this journey), and I thought it would be beneficial to spread the ‘nutritious’ word in our blog this month. Each fertility journey is unique and should include a balanced, holistic and supportive plan that is tailored to each individual's values and capacity. The nutrition component related to fertility is focused on a plan that prioritizes nutrient-rich foods, such as those that are high in antioxidants and offer anti-inflammatory benefits; while at the same time, including those indulgent meals and fun experiences that we all need every so often. This blog aims to breakdown the top nutrition / lifestyle categories that have strong evidence to optimize one’s fertility status. 

SELF-QUIZ: Mini Nutrition Assessment

How many servings of vegetables / fruit are you having throughout the day?

  1. Less than 2 cups 

  2. 2-3 cups 

  3. 4-6 cups 

  4. 6 cups or more (this would be ideal to work towards)

How many omega-3 rich foods (fish, walnuts, chia seeds, ground flax seeds) are you having throughout the week?

  1. Less than 1 serving

  2. 1-2 servings

  3. 2 or more servings (this would be ideal to work towards)

Are you choosing whole-grains more often? 

  1. Not yet

  2. Sometimes 

  3. Always (this would be ideal to work towards)

How is your sleep hygiene going?

  1. Going to bed a bit too late, and not enough sleep (<8 hours)

  2. So-so 

  3. Going to bed early enough to build 8-hours of sleep / night (this would be ideal to work towards)

Approximately how many steps throughout the day are you accumulating? 

  1. <5,000 steps

  2. 5,000-7,000 steps

  3. >7,000 steps (this would be ideal to work towards)

Understanding the Stats

Infertility is common. So common. In fact, couples are starting this journey later in life, especially compared to earlier generations, adding to the fertility complexities. Infertility affects around 15% of couples globally. It's quite an equal-opportunity challenge, with about 35% of cases attributed to women, 30% to men, 20% to both partners, and 20% unexplained. SO technically, this newsletter goes out to us ALL! 

The Nutrition Link

Guess what? Research continues to confirm a positive correlation between healthy lifestyle behaviours and optimizing fertility status. Simply put, what you eat will likely have an impact in some capacity in your fertility journey. Lifestyle factors, such food, movement, mental wellness, sleep hygiene, hydration status, etc. play a significant role in fertility. Let's delve into some nutrition nuggets that could make a real difference.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Tiny Heroes

Ever heard of these omega-3s? They are like the superheroes of nutrition! Found in cell membranes, they are crucial for various bodily functions, especially in the brain, eyes, and even sperm cells. Studies suggest that omega-3 supplements might boost fertility in both men and women. Fish, walnuts, ground flaxseeds, and chia seeds are all omega-3 rich goodies worth adding to your plate.

Antioxidants: The Body's Warriors

These warriors fight off free radicals, reducing inflammation and stress in our bodies. For both men and women, antioxidants seem to play a vital role in fertility. Think of colorful fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains as your superhero squad battling oxidative stress. Adding an antioxidant-rich food to each eating time throughout the day would be a great way to boost your intake more consistently and evenly throughout the day. 

Coenzyme Q10: The Age Fighter

As we age, our natural CoQ10 levels drop, causing more free radical action and stress. For women, especially, this decline might impact ovarian function. Supplementing with CoQ10 might just be the boost needed for ovulation rates and preserving that precious ovarian follicle pool.

Insulin Sensitivity: A Horomone Impacted by Carbs and Movement

When our insulin sensitivity is out of balance, it can throw a wrench into our hormonal harmony, affecting ovulation and even the success of conception. Not to worry, we have evidenced-based / easily integrated strategies that can help boost insulin sensitivity (reverse insulin resistance) and support that fertility journey:

  1. Healthy Carbohydrates: It’s all about the quality of carbohydrates. Opt for whole grains (>4g fibre per serving), loads and loads of veggies, colourful fruit with the skin ON, and legumes that are both protein and fibre loaded - these foods release energy slowly, and put less demand on our pancreas, keeping those blood sugar levels stable.

  1. Portion Control: Enjoying our favorite foods is something I encourage, however, keeping an eye on portions can make a world of difference. It’s all about balancing your plate with multiple food groups for all meals and snacks, and sticking to ¼ plate portions for starch! 

  1. Cardio Fun: Get that heart pumping! Regular cardio exercise is not just fantastic for overall health; it can also improve insulin sensitivity. Plus, it’s a great way to lift those spirits as this type of exercise also increases endorphins (happy hormones).  

Food & Lifestyle Tweaks for Harmony

  • Carbs Matter: Opt for whole grains and high-fibre versions. They help regulate blood sugar, which impacts female fertility.

  • Antioxidant Feast: Load up on colorful fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds for that antioxidant power.

  • Avoid Ultra-Processed Foods: Choose foods with limited ingredients (ie. more whole foods), and limit those fast-food meals and packaged goods. They hike up oxidative stress, which is aligned with optimal fertility. 

  • Stress Less: Stress might not directly cause infertility, but managing it positively offers more internal balance, creating a supportive environment in our bodies for fertility. 

  • Sleep Tight: Quality snooze time of 7-9 hours helps regulate those crucial reproductive hormones.

  • Move It, Move It: Physical activity can help regulate ovulation and improve insulin sensitivity, both fertility-friendly perks.


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Major Contributors: Elisa Porretta, Geneviève Perron and Sarah Fallavollita


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