Anti inflammatory foods for fertility

Inflammation and fertility

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury or illness. However, prolonged inflammation can lead to insulin resistance and studies suggest it is linked to many conditions that may affect fertility, such as endometriosis, PCOS, implantation failure and recurrent miscarriage.

One of the greatest obstacles to successful implantation of the embryos and the reason why IVF fails in some women is an inflammatory environment, which can be caused by autoimmune and other pro-inflammatory conditions of the immune system. If there is inflammation in the body, it could damage embryos and prevent successful implantation. At the Zita West Clinic we do specialist blood tests to see if this is the case or not. If inflammation is detected, we don’t simply rely on medication to reduce this; the internal environment can also be optimised through appropriate nutrition and improvement in lifestyle. It is also extremely important to reduce the effect of stress, which can impact the immune system, and we use other, holistic treatments – such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy – to help with that.

Reducing inflammation through diet

There are certain foods that are inflammatory and others that help reduce inflammation in the body. Let’s start with the good stuff. Try to increase the following in your diet, because these foods are anti-inflammatory:

  • Oily fish – levels of omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish help to counteract the inflammatory effects of omega-6 fats that are found in most meat.
  • Certain nuts, like macadamia nuts, which are high in omega-9 fats and seeds like flaxseed, chia and hemp.
  • Fruit and vegetables – high antioxidant foods help stem the action of free radicals, which cause inflammation. Orange and dark green vegetables are especially important for their beta-carotene levels.
  • Olive oil, which in its raw state contains omega-9 healthy fats and a chemical called oleocanthal, both of which have anti-inflammatory actions on the body. However, once you heat olive oil it becomes pro-inflammatory, so opt for seed oils for cooking instead.
  • Spices such as turmeric, garlic and ginger help to prevent pro-inflammatory enzymes from acting on your body.
  • Green tea
  • Pineapple
  • Rosemary
  • Propolis (honey bee resin) is a source of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE), which has been found to inhibit NF-kB, which promotes inflammation.
  • Apples, onions, berries, brassicas and capers are a good source of quercetin, an important anti-inflammatory antioxidant.
  • Fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and yoghurt, should be included regularly in your diet. The gut is an important site for the development and maintenance of immune health and modulating inflammation. Therefore maintaining a healthy digestion is important for addressing long-term inflammation.
  • Vitamin D-rich foods, such as oily fish, shellfish, egg yolk and mushrooms.
  • Coconut oil contains a beneficial fatty acid called lauric acid, which is also found in human breast milk. Lauric acid converts in the body to a compound called monolaurin, which may help support the immune system. Other fatty acids include capric and caprylic acids, which have antimicrobial properties.
  • Vitamin A-rich foods, such as organic liver and eggs.

In addition, try to eat more white fish, beans and pulses as your main protein sources, rather than poultry and red meat. Although turkey and chicken are fine in moderation, in general animal protein is considered more inflammatory for the body than fish and plant protein. You may wish to limit your intake of red meat and dairy products, as they contain arachidonic acid, which the body can use to make inflammatory eicosanoids.

Unsurprisingly, the pro-inflammatory foods in our diet comprise refined carbohydrates and sugars, excess saturated fats, processed foods, junk foods and hydrogenised (or partially hydrogenised) fats. Avoid them as often as you can. Caffeine and alcohol are pro-inflammatory, too.

Finally, avoid stress. Although this isn’t a dietary cause of inflammation, stress is almost certainly contributing to inflammation in your body. Support all the good work you’re doing with your diet by adapting your lifestyle to reduce stress, too.

For a detailed nutrition consultation tailored for you either in the clinic or by phone, contact us here.

Vegan diets and fertility

Increasingly women are becoming vegan for a lifestyle choice, but my concern here is for fertility. You need to manage your diet really carefully to get the right amount of protein as it’s not only your hormones and the neurotransmitters in your brain that need protein – eggs and sperm need it, too. High-quality protein, such as from lean meat and poultry, as well as fish, eggs and soya beans, contains all eight essential amino acids. These are biological catalysts that enable protein to break down and become what the body needs – be that muscle or other tissue, egg, sperm, neurotransmitter or hormone. Your body can’t manufacture these amino acids for itself (which is why they are essential), so they must come from your diet. Include one portion (about the size of your fist) of protein in every meal. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ll need a full range of plant proteins to ensure that you get all the essential amino acids.

Beans, leafy greens, pulses, nuts and seeds are all good  sources, and I’d also encourage you to use protein powders – including hemp, pea and sprouted-seed-based powders. Finally, be aware that you may be more prone to other nutritional deficiencies that can affect fertility – including low levels of iodine, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Supplement with a multivitamin and -mineral formula to make sure that you keep all your vitamin and mineral levels up, and you may also need to take a specific vitamin B12 supplement, too.

Can a Mediterranean diet help increase IVF success?

Today on The Fertility Show, I am talking about the Mediterranean Diet. There has been lots of interest in the press in this way of eating and crucially how it can maximise your fertility.

We see so many women who are exhausted through lack of sleep and being on the go the whole time. Stress depletes the body of vital nutrients that are needed for fertility.

But looking to the diet of our Mediterranean neighbours will pay dividends.

So what is the Mediterranean Diet?

This way of eating includes a broad range of fresh fruit and vegetables that include oils, good fats, slow-releasing carbohydrates and protein. When you are preparing for IVF, the food you eat helps lay down the foundations. Protein is needed for instance to produce eggs.

Watch the video to find out more – and as always, you’ll find your cheatsheet below.

How does a Mediterranean diet boost fertility

  • A Mediterranean diet can help with gut health.

Being able to absorb nutrients is really key in order to build healthy eggs, sperm and hormones.

  • A Mediterranean diet supports blood sugar.

Many women are ruled by their moods, food, hormones and crave sweets throughout the day. By managing your blood sugar through a good diet you are going to balance moods and cravings, and optimise egg health as well.

  • A Mediterranean is rich in antioxidants

Your diet should be rich in antioxidants from fruit and vegetables in order to protect cells from free radical damage. These can be damaging to eggs and sperm at a high level.

  • A Mediterranean is contains good fats.

Good fats from fish oils help with boost cell membranes and prevent against inflammation in the body.

There are lots of recipes that are based on the Mediterranean diet in my book The IVF Diet book.


For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.


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Consultations are available at our clinic in London or via video conferencing from the comfort of your own home.


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Call us on 0808 196 4060 or email us at

The supplements that can boost sperm health

In today’s episode of The Fertility Show, I’m talking about male factor fertility and supplements.

Increasingly men are having more issues around fertility and there is so much that a man can do to improve sperm health through diet and supplements. Because men produce sperm 24/7, the changes you make now can help in the near future.

We have a range of four products to help men.


This is multivitamin and mineral which contains folate and is a good all-      rounder for male fertility and sperm health.

Vital DHA

Vital DHA is an omega- 3, which s important for the cell membranes of every cell including the sperm cells.

Vitamen Boost

Increasingly free radical damage is done to the sperm as a result of lifestyle, alcohol and cigarettes. There is a lot you can do to help through diet, and a supplement like Vitamen Boost which is rich in antioxidants

Vitamen Boost 2

This supplement is used when there sperm really is suboptimal sperm. It contains vital nutrients such as Coenzyme Q10, which gives sperm energy and also contains arginine and lycopene which are needed to boost sperm health.

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.


Book now

Consultations are available at our Clinic in London or via Video Conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

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Call us on 0808 196 4060 or email us at

Why Nutrition Is So Important For Pregnancy And IVF Success

I say this all the time, but without a doubt nutrition is the cornerstone to laying down the foundations for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Nutrients play an essential role in creating and maintaining healthy eggs and sperm that will go onto fertilise, implant and grow a healthy baby.

Still, There is so much conflicting advice around diet and supplements when trying for a baby naturally, and we always attempt to cut through the generalisations and develop a personalised and targeted nutritional plan for you as a couple.

In this week’s Fertility Show, I’m sitting down with Isabelle Obert, our clinic nutritionist, and she is giving us her top tips on why nutrition is so important for pregnancy.

Here’s a sneak peek of what Isabella had to say…

‘A lot of people feel out-of-control during an IVF cycle. You know, when’s the next scan? When’s the next injection? By taking control of your nutrition, you can actually be proactive.

We make it as easy as possible. It’s got to be doable. It’s got to be interesting. It’s got to be … I try and be as enthusiastic as possible, so when people leave, they know what they’re doing. They have a diet plan. They feel comfortable. They feel relaxed.

I always want people to leave a nutritional consultation more relaxed than when they came in, feeling happier, and feeling that they can actually be proactive. It makes an enormous amount of difference, because one should not underestimate the mind-body connection.’

For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.


Book now

Consultations are available at our clinic in London or via video conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

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Call us on 0808 196 4060 or email us at


Fig, pear & pistachio muffins to sate your sugar cravings (and boost fertility!)

During IVF treatment, it is vital to avoid refined sugar and junk food, so today I’m going to share a recipe from my book, The IVF Diet Book, that is both nutritious and will help you curb your sweet cravings.

My fig, pear a pistachio muffins are a perfect healthy snack, an on-the-go snack option or can be eaten as a pick-me up when your energy levels are low. Figs have long been renowned for their ability to improve fertility and and for boosting libido. The use of ground almonds provides plenty of protein while Maca powder is useful for supporting adrenal health. These muffins will keep well in the fridge for three to four days or can be frozen up to three months.  

You’ll find the full recipe below the video.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Chilling time: 30 minutes

Makes 8 muffins


  • 250g ground almonds
  • 60g tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 60 g coconut oil or unsalted butter
  • 60 g xylitol
  • 1 pear, cored and grated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 125 ml kefir or almond milk
  • 100 g dried figs, chopped
  • 75 g pistachio nuts, chopped

Step one: preheat the oven to 180oc (gas mark 4). Grease and line eight muffin tin holes with paper cases.

Step two: Combine the ground almonds, tapioca flour, maca powder, baking powder and salt in the food processor.

Step three:   Place the coconut oil or butter in a pan with the xylitol and melt. Stir to dissolve the xylitol.

Step four: Pour the oil and xylitol mixture into the food processor along with the grated pear, vanilla extract, eggs and milk. Blend to combine. Add the figs and most of the pistachio nuts and briefly pulse.

Step five: Divide the mixture between the paper cases and scatter over the remaining nuts.

Step six: Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.  

Step seven: Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.


For weekly tips, advice and wisdom on natural fertility and IVF, subscribe to our Fertility Show on YouTube.

Book now

Consultations are available at our clinic in London or via video conferencing from the comfort of your own home.

Connect with us

Call us on 0808 196 4060 or email us at