Certain nutrition and lifestyle strategies, like eating fewer refined carbs and getting moderate exercise, may help increase fertility. Talking with a healthcare professional can help you determine the best strategies for you.

A few natural approaches, including certain eating habits and lifestyle strategies, may help increase fertility.

However, if you have ongoing challenges with fertility, talk with a healthcare professional. There may be an underlying cause or contributing factor that needs medical treatment.

Here’s a look at 16 natural strategies that may help boost fertility.

Antioxidants may help deactivate free radicals in your body, which can damage both sperm and egg cells.

There’s weak evidence suggesting antioxidants may improve both female and male fertility.

If you want to increase your antioxidant intake, consider adding more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains to your diet. These foods tend to be higher in antioxidants like:

  • vitamins C and E
  • folate
  • beta carotene
  • lutein

While you can also get antioxidants from supplements, be sure to research the brand. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not strictly regulate supplements for quality and safety as it does for medications.

Eating a substantial breakfast may help with female fertility, particularly if you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a major cause of infertility.

A 2013 study found that eating a larger breakfast may improve some of the hormonal effects of PCOS that affect fertility.

More recently, a 2021 review of studies found that higher calorie intake earlier in the day may improve PCOS symptoms.

When choosing breakfast foods, consider eating something with fewer carbs. Research suggests carbs may increase inflammation for those with PCOS.

Get inspired by these high protein breakfast ideas.

Eating healthy fats every day is important for boosting fertility and overall health.

Omega-3 fatty acids may be particularly beneficial for increasing fertility. You can find this healthy fat in many foods, including:

  • fatty fish
  • flax seeds and flaxseed oil
  • chia seeds
  • walnuts

Learn more about omega-3 fatty acids and their potential health benefits.

Following a lower carb eating plan, where less than 45% of calories come from carbohydrates, is generally recommended for people with PCOS. For example, if you eat around 1,800 calories a day, that translates to about 200 grams of carbs.

Several studies indicate that managing carb intake provides beneficial effects on some aspects of PCOS.

Just don’t overdo it. Eating too few carbs can lead to health issues.

Speaking of carbs: It’s not just the amount of carbs that have an impact, but also the type.

You may want to pay particular attention to refined carbs. These are found in sugary foods and drinks as well as processed grains, including white pasta, bread, and rice.

The body absorbs these carbs very quickly, causing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Refined carbs also have a high glycemic index (GI). The GI tells you whether a carbohydrate-dense food will raise your blood sugar significantly.

Insulin is chemically similar to ovarian hormones, which help eggs mature. Consistently elevated insulin can cause the body to produce fewer reproductive hormones because it thinks it doesn’t need it. This can contribute to a lack of egg maturation and ovulation.

Research from 2020 found that a diet higher in fiber and lower in added sugar may slightly increase female fertility.

Some examples of high fiber foods without added sugar include:

If possible, aim for the recommended daily intake of 25 grams of fiber.

Protein is a key part of any diet, but certain sources may be especially beneficial for fertility.

A 2019 study suggests that following a Mediterranean-style diet may improve fertility. These types of diets are generally higher in fish and lower in red and processed meats. Mediterranean-style diets also tend to be higher in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

And there’s more reason to consider adding more fish to your diet: A 2018 study found that higher fish consumption was linked to a higher rate of live births following the use of assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization.

There’s an assumption that dairy is bad for certain elements of your health, including fertility. But research suggests this isn’t the case.

A 2018 study notes that research results about the alleged links between dairy and female infertility are inconsistent. Dairy products contain a range of important nutrients, including vitamin D, which may be beneficial for fertility.

While it’s unclear whether dairy increases fertility, there’s no strong evidence that it has a negative effect.

When consuming dairy, males may want to opt for low fat options. A 2013 study suggests that full fat dairy may have a negative impact on sperm, but low fat dairy did not have the same effect.

If you’re trying to conceive, you may want to start taking a prenatal vitamin. These tend to contain higher levels of vitamins known to support both fertility and pregnancy, like folic acid and B vitamins.

Just be sure to do some research before choosing one, as vitamins and supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. Talk with a healthcare professional about which prenatal vitamin may work best for you.

You can also check out our dietitian-approved recommendations for prenatal vitamins.

Exercise has many health benefits, including increased fertility. Increasing moderate physical activity has positive effects on both female and male fertility, especially for those with obesity.

As with most things, moderation is key. Excessive high intensity exercise may have a negative effect on female fertility for some people. Talk with a healthcare professional to determine which types of exercise would be most beneficial for you.

Trying to conceive can bring added stress to your life. There’s some debate about whether stress affects fertility. However, stress can affect your periods, which may affect your fertility.

It may help to talk with a mental health professional if stress or anxiety about conceiving is impairing your day-to-day life.

Not sure where to start? Our guide to choosing a therapist can help.

The association between caffeine and fertility isn’t very clear. While some experts previously recommended limiting caffeine while trying to conceive, a 2020 review suggests this may not be necessary.

However, given the lack of clarity on caffeine’s effect on fertility, you may want to limit your daily coffee consumption to one or two cups or start incorporating coffee alternatives into your routine.

Having overweight or underweight may affect fertility by affecting your menstrual cycle, particularly ovulation.

If you have obesity, 2020 research suggests that losing 5% of your body weight, along with maintaining a lower body mass index (BMI) and managing triglyceride levels, can increase fertility.

Keep in mind that what’s considered a “healthy” weight varies from person to person, and BMI isn’t a perfect predictor of health.

Many factors, including your unique body composition and exercise habits, affect your weight. Talk with a healthcare professional to determine whether losing or gaining weight would improve your fertility.

A 2023 study found a potential link between low iron and reduced female fertility without a clear cause.

If you haven’t had blood work done recently, talk with a healthcare professional to determine what your iron levels are. If they’re on the lower side, it may help to take an iron supplement.

When considering iron supplements or adding more iron to your diet, it may help to prioritize non-heme iron, which comes from plant sources. A 2019 study found that this type of iron had some benefits for females with iron deficiency, while heme iron did not.

Non-heme iron sources are more difficult for your body to absorb, so try combining them with foods high in vitamin C to increase absorption.

A systematic review from 2017 found that alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on female fertility. The highest impact was observed in those who drank more than 12.5 grams of alcohol a day.

For reference, a standard drink in the United States contains about 14 grams of alcohol. Current guidelines for female alcohol consumption are no more than one alcoholic drink per day, which is defined as 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.

If you suspect you may be pregnant, there’s no safe amount of alcohol.

If you’re trying to conceive and there’s any chance you may be pregnant, avoiding alcohol is the safest option. If you do choose to drink and know you’re not pregnant, keep it to one standard drink.

Bee products, including pollen, royal jelly, and propolis, have been used for centuries to improve fertility, but there’s a lack of research involving humans.

A 2023 review suggests bee products may help with PCOS-related infertility. A 2021 review suggests bee products may also benefit male fertility.

However, the authors of both reviews emphasize that any significant effects on fertility have only been observed in animal studies.

Certain health and lifestyle strategies may help increase fertility. If you’re trying to conceive, it may be worth checking in with a healthcare professional early on to determine the best ways to increase fertility.

A healthcare professional can also help identify or rule out any underlying medical issues that may be affecting things.