Gluten-Free Foods for Fertility
Nutrition is a key player in fertility and women’s health with celiac. When living gluten-free, both a gluten-free diet and celiac disease can impact fertility. Gluten-free foods for fertility can help support any nutrient implications of both a gluten-free diet and celiac.
In this post, we will discuss key nutrients for fertility, gluten-free food sources, and recipes. Keep reading to learn how to support your fertility with celiac disease through food.
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Written by Devorah Steinberg, Revised by Tayler Silfverduk, RDN
Gluten-Free Foods for Fertility
There are many nutrients essential for fertility. Among them are folate, zinc, selenium, Omega 3 fatty acids, iron, and Vitamins E, K, and B12.
Eating a balanced gluten-free diet of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and protein can help for two reasons. Firstly, eating such a diet will provide an abundance of these much needed nutrients, and secondly, keeping gluten out of your diet will allow these nutrients to be absorbed fully and utilized fully by the body.
Below are some gluten-free foods for fertility. Read through these foods and find the ones you like or want to explore!
- Sunflower Seeds: Vitamin E can boost sperm mobility and motility. They are also rich in folate and selenium.
- Full Fat Dairy: High in saturated fat, which has been shown to be beneficial for fertility, and a good source of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K, and K2).
- Beans and Lentils: Good source of fiber and folate. Also high in protein which can help with better ovulation. Some studies show that plant-based protein (as opposed to animal protein) may lower some risks of infertility.
- Walnuts: Rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, both essential to fertility in both men and women.
- Egg Yolks: Rich in iron, calcium, zinc, B6, folate, and B12. If the egg yolks are from pasture raised chickens, they are also full of Omega 3 fatty acids, and Vitamins A, D, E, and K2. Good source of protein as well.
- Salmon: Rich in Essential Fatty acids. Good source of Vitamin D, selenium, and protein.
- Quinoa: A source of whole grains, as well as protein. Also contains zinc and folate.
- Asparagus: High in folate and Vitamin K. Contains a good amount of zinc and selenium.
- Liver (specifically cow): One of the few food sources of Vitamin A. High in absorbable iron, B12, choline, Omega 3 fatty acids, and folate.
- Avocados: High in Vitamin E, folate, and vitamin K.
- Dark Leafy Greens: Rich in calcium, iron, and folate.
- Sweet Potatoes: Contains beta carotene, which helps boost progesterone production.
Gluten-Free Recipes for Fertility
When looking for gluten-free recipes for fertility, recipes with nutrient dense foods are helpful. Especially recipes rich in nutrients specifically at high risk for celiac and gluten-related disorders.
Recipes high in the following nutrients may be especially helpful for both fertility and pregnancy with celiac disease:
- Folic acid also known as folate is essential in preventing birth defects.
- Zinc is essential to the early stages of egg development.
- Iron is essential in support ovulation and egg health. (Click for gluten-free iron-rich foods)
- B12 is can help prevent risk of miscarriage and support ovulation and the development of your eggs.
- Calcium is essential to your future bone health with celiac. Getting enough calcium-rich gluten-free foods will help protect your bone stores as your body will prioritize homeostasis and your babies development over maintaining bone density.
- Vitamin D is another essential nutrient for bone health. Preventing vitamin D deficiency with celiac disease can help support your bone stores to support pregnancy.
Other gluten-free sources of fiber, protein, vitamin K and more may be helpful too. Below are some gluten-free recipes for fertility to inspire you!
Gluten-Free Fertility breakfast
Gluten-free breakfasts that support fertility will often have eggs, whole grains, yogurt, and fruits/vegetables. Below are some gluten-free recipes to draw inspiration from when planning your own breakfast to support fertility.
- Vegetable Frittata 2 Ways – this is an easy, protein-filled breakfast that is chock full of nutrients! Eggs are a rich source of protein, and greens and avocados are a good source of Vitamin K (among many other nutrients).
- Breakfast Lentils with Poached Eggs – Fiber and folate from lentils help make this a fertility-friendly breakfast. And with a double protein whammy from both eggs and lentils – this makes a great breakfast option!
- Greek Yogurt with Honey and Walnuts recipe (Yiaourti me meli) – one of my personal favorites (probably because it’s so easy!), this simple breakfast that can be taken on the go is a great way to get Omega 3/6 fatty acids, protein, and some healthy fats into your diet.
- Quinoa Breakfast Bars with Blueberries – Breakfast bars are so easy to make in advance and freeze. I try to remember to defrost them the night before, but even if I grab them straight out of the freezer as I leave the house I can enjoy them – they’re soft enough to eat within 30 minutes. The quinoa provides zinc and folate and is a great source of protein.
- Breakfast Nachos – featuring kale, beans, and avocados, this recipe has quite a few fertility supporting ingredients. Give it an extra boost by topping it with roasted sweet potatoes and eggs too.
GF Fertility Lunch/Dinner Recipes
To really pack in nutrients to support fertility at lunch and dinner, think recipes that feature liver, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, and fatty fish like salmon. Below are some recipes to get your brain thinking:
- Wonderfully Tender Beef Liver and Onions – Liver is a magical fertility food. It’s full of iron, B12, choline, Omega 3 fatty acids, folate, and is one of the only food-based sources of Vitamin A.
- Lentil Carrot Tacos with Chipotle Sunflower Cream – This plant-based lunch recipe is a virtual explosion of flavors! It’s not the most uncomplicated recipe, so save it for a day when you have time to putter around your kitchen, but the results will be worth it! Lentils provide protein, fiber, and folate, and if you include avocado as one of the toppings you’ll get some Vitamin E and K too!
- Hormone Balancing Meatballs – The combination of liver and ground beef in this recipe provide iron, B12, choline, Omega 3 fatty acids, and folate. And with the omega 3/6 fatty acids in walnuts, these meatballs definitely raise the fertility bar! Plus meatballs are easy to make in advance and freeze, so you can get multiple meals if you plan ahead.
- One-Pan Salmon Asparagus Recipe – A fast, simple, but still delicious option – this one-pan recipe for multiple fertility-friendly foods is a great option after a busy day. Salmon is rich in essential fatty acids and is a good source of Vitamin D, selenium, and protein. Asparagus adds even more selenium – as well as zinc, folate, and Vitamin K.
- Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato Salad w/Cashew Dressing – Salads are wonderful options for either lunch or dinner. The sweet potatoes in this salad are full of progesterone boosting beta carotene. The kale contributes calcium, iron, and folate. And the black beans are a good plant-based source of protein – as well as more fiber and more folate.
GF Fertility Snacks
Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are probably some of the easier snack foods to include in your diet for fertility. Below are some snacks that incorporate those ingredients and more to help prevent infertility:
- Energy Balls – If you make this recipe with sunflower seed butter, you can add plenty of Vitamin E, selenium, and folate into your diet. Other nut butter combos will have lots of nutrients for fertility too. Note: I personally like to soak the dates for a few minutes before making this recipe, as I find they turn out creamier that way.
- Quinoa Crunch Snack Bars – These are another good “freeze ahead” way to keep a healthy snack on hand easily. And the quinoa, nuts, and nut butter in these bars will ensure you’re getting many different fertility-friendly nutrients into your diet!
- BBQ Marinated Chickpeas – Chickpeas are a plant-based protein option that also add fiber and folate into your daily nutrient repertoire. Easy to make, and easy to eat – these chickpeas are a delicious treat!
- Cinnamon and Honey Roasted Walnuts – Walnuts provide Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. This is a simple and delicious snack option that can be made in large quantities to be eaten over the course of a few weeks.
- Berry Avocado Smoothie – Smoothies are one of my favorite ways of getting nutrients into my body. This particular recipe increases healthy fats, Vitamins E & K, and folate because of the avocado. Don’t be scared of adding it into your smoothie – you can’t really taste the avocado, but it does help make the smoothie rich and creamy…just the way we like ‘em!
GF Fertility Desserts
Dessert is essential to any balanced diet. Restriction easily leads to overeating so making sure you have dessert is essential to fertility. Beyond that, there are some easy ways to boost the nutrients that support fertility in desserts.
Things like add cocoa, incorporating sweet potatoes, and adding in walnuts can all boost fertility benefits of dessert. Below are some examples:
- Greek Yogurt Cake Recipe – I use sugar in this recipe, but I’m sure it would be just as good with the sugar substitute if that’s something you want to try. Full-fat dairy is a good source of fat-soluble vitamins, so this cake will really pack in some nutrients!
- Avocado, Chocolate, and Sweet Potato Pudding – I know that besides the chocolate, this recipe seems more like a savory side dish than a dessert. But don’t trust that feeling! This is most definitely a dessert. And with the beta carotene from the sweet potatoes, and the healthy fats and other vitamins from the avocado, this is a treat for your mouth and your hormones!
- No Bake Walnut Cookies – I appreciate no-bake desserts, especially in the hot summer months when I try to cut down on oven time. These cookies do not disappoint, and the walnuts make them a good way to get more of those omega 3 and 6 fatty acids into your diet.
- Coffee and Walnut Cake – Beware: this recipe is not for the faint of heart! It is complicated and time-consuming, but will not disappoint! If you’re on the lookout for a healthy replacement for a traditional special occasion cake, this is a fantastic option. And the walnuts contribute to the fertility-friendly diet, too!
Foods that support fertility tend to be nutrient dense. Nutrient density can help support fertility especially if you are recovering your gut from celiac disease and need to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients to support fertility.
If you’re worried about your diet and if it supports fertility, consider working with a celiac registered dietitian to ensure you’re doing everything you can to support your fertility.