Fertility Diet: part 2.2 (superfoods for fertility)

If you missed the beginning of the Fertility Diet series you can catch part one – Traditional Diets and Essential Nutrients and part 2.1 Superfoods for Fertility.

Iodine for Fertility

Iodine, a non metallic trace element, is required by our bodies for making thyroid hormones. As in, if you do not have enough iodine in your body you can not make enough thyroid hormones. When our bodies are deficient in this element, it affects our thyroid, adrenals, and entire endocrine system. Not only is it important in a fertility diet, it’s essential in the prenatal and nursing period as well. Infant mortality rates start to climb in areas known for iodine deficiency, and it’s also been linked to higher rates of miscarriage and still birth.

It used to be prevalent in our soil, but unfortunately we’ve destroyed so many of the nutrients with bad farming practices and chemicals that much of what we currently grow is lacking in key nutrients, iodine being one of them. While it’s not found in our soil near as much, it is still prevalent in seafoods. Our bodies can not make it on their own, so you must consume iodine in your diet.

  • Fruits and Vegetables grown by the sea, including coconut products
  • Blackstrap molasses (158 mcg per 100 grams/3.75 oz)
  • Saltwater fish; haddock, whiting, herring  (330 mcg per 100 grams)
  • Butter from cows fed on iodine rich soil
  • Dried Kelp (62,400 mcgs per 100 grams)
  • Spinach (56 mcg per 100 grams)
  • Milk and dairy products (14 mcg per 100 grams) (at least 20% of iodine is lost during pasteurization so raw is best)
  • Eggs (13 mcg per 100 grams)
  • (and while iodized salt is actually quite high in iodine, it’ can be rather hard for our bodies to assimilate)

The recommended RDA is a small 150 mcgs for women and increase to 220 when pregnant and 290 when nursing, but are you even eating foods that contain iodine in them? I recently came across a very unscientific and unmedical theory on how to test for iodine deficiency. You take a small amount of iodine (you can find it at any drugstore and it has a yellow tinge to it) and place a small swab of it on the inside of your arm. If you have enough iodine in your body the test patch will stay there for about 24 hours. And the quicker it disappears, the lower your level of iodine. Interestingly, when I tried this my patch was gone in about 6 hours. As with every area of nutrition, I’m currently researching to find out what this information might mean to me and looking at ways of making sure i get enough iodine into my diet.

On the other side of the deficiency coin, is that to much in your body isn’t a good thing either. And because iodine directly affects your thyroid and hormones it may be something you want to work with a health professional on. Hormones are crazy things and we don’t want to go messing around to much without knowing what we’re doing!

Omega 3 fatty acids for Fertility

There are 3 different types of omega 3 fats; alpha-linolenic acid (ALA- plant based), eicosapentaenioc acid (EPA – animal based), and docosahexaenioc acid (DHA – animal based). Plant based ALA can be found in:

  • walnuts
  • flaxseed
  • hemp.

Animal based EPA and DHA can be found in:

  • Egg yolks from pastured chickens {contain two to four times the amount of omega 3’s as conventional eggs ¹}
  • oily coldwater fish like salmon, herring, tuna, cod, and trout.

These healthy fats have been shown to help increase a womans fertility by regulating hormones and ovulation as well as increasing both the quantity of fertile cervical mucous and the blood flow to the reproductive organs. It is also thought that these good fats help women who are suffering from endometriosis.¹ And a study done last year suggests that women suffering from infertility, on average, have lower levels of omega 3 fats. ² Men who do not have enough omega 3’s in their system may have issues with sperm production since the DHA within these good fats help protect the sperm from free radicals and damage.

So, how often do you eat foods that are high in nutrients for increased fertility? Other the last few weeks we’ve looked at some of the many things our bodies need – where are you lacking?

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. I tried that iodine test myself, and the patch was gone in less than 6 hours…I think it was only like an hour or so. So, I guess I am upping the eggs, and I will work on gagging down that coldwater, oily (nasty) fish! :)

    Sarah Butcher Reply:

    @heather harris,
    I have done it many times since last June and it has never stayed 24HRS once was gone in 1/2hour but I eat several eggs a few times a week…………

  2. Michelle says:

    My Chiro does this test. The first time I made it 12 hours. After taking prolamine iodine from standard process for a month I retested at about 22 hours so I’m going to finish my supply and go from there. If you are lasting less than an hour that means your body is desperate for it!

    donielle Reply:

    @Michelle, My chiro sells Standard Process stuff – I’ll have to see if they have that promaline iodine and look into it. :-)

  3. I think I’m doing pretty well with my Omega 3’s! Woohooo!! :) The others are hard for me bc I’m on special diets for endometriosis (no gluten or animal proteins) & vulvodynia (nothing acidic, very low sugar). I feel blessed in that I can control my symptoms by watching what I consume, though, but it’s still difficult. I am considering going back to 1-2 servings of quality animal protein a week… but we’ll see!

  4. I take iodoral! It is a GREAT iodine suppliment! It was designed by doctors for overall iodine health! It is also pretty cheap, about 70$ per year….30 dollars for 6 month supply and 5 dollars for shipping. I get mine at thegreenpharmacy.com