The Best Foods To Eat To Support Your Egg Quality
The simple truth: healthy eggs encourage healthy periods. And healthy periods contribute to hormone balance. For this reason—and more—egg quality matters. But more often than not, egg quality is totally glossed over. Today, we’re diving into why egg quality is important, how to eat for egg quality, and the nutrients that support a healthy reproductive environment. Whether or not you’re trying to conceive, taking care of your eggs promotes healthy menstruation.
Why Does Egg Quality Matter?
As mentioned, egg quality is typically overlooked—unless pregnancy is on the horizon! However, egg quality plays a significant role in the regularity and health of menstruation. On a monthly basis, healthy eggs can contribute to a normal cycle length and proper hormone production. However, irregular or abnormal menstruation is typically a sign of underlying health problems, and egg quality is one of the contributing factors.
What Leads To Poor Egg Quality?
Inevitably, the quality of a woman’s eggs declines as she ages. However, other factors can accelerate this timeline. For example, unhealthy lifestyle habits (smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, blood sugar imbalances, etc.). Hormone-related conditions, like endometriosis and ovarian cysts, can impact eggs too. In turn, all of these factors can lead to menstrual irregularities. Luckily, eating a balanced diet—rich in nutrients and healthy fats—can help improve egg quality. In turn, this promotes healthy menstruation.
Egg Quality For Fertility
When it comes to fertility, high-quality eggs have the best chance of developing into an embryo, implanting in the uterus, and resulting in a successful pregnancy. In other words, when a woman’s eggs are genetically “normal,” a woman is more likely to conceive and carry to term.
How Do You Test For Egg Quality?
Fertility doctors can draw blood at any time during a woman's cycle to measure anti-mullerian hormone (AMH). High levels of AMH indicate a strong ovarian reserve. However, low levels of AMH can mean one of two things: fewer eggs available or problems with egg quality. Additionally, the only way to know if an egg is chromosomally normal is to attempt to fertilize it. If fertilization is successful, then a specialist can perform a genetic test on the embryo.
Which Nutrients Improve Egg Quality?
As mentioned, female egg quality plays a vital role in overall menstrual health. Below are a few nutrients that can help improve egg quality.
FOLATE: Folate is a B vitamin that is essential for fetal development during pregnancy. It is also important for healthy egg development. Folate helps reduce the risk of birth defects such as neural tube defects, which occur in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Whole food sources of folate include leafy greens, citrus fruits, and beans.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: Not only do Omega-3 fatty acids support healthy egg development, but they also help reduce inflammation in the body. And, too much inflammation can damage eggs and reduce fertility. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, as well as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
VITAMIN D: Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and can also help improve egg quality. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy products. The body can also produce vitamin D when bare skin is exposed to sunlight.
IRON: Iron is important for healthy blood flow and can also help improve egg quality. Good sources of iron include pastured red meat, organic poultry, wild-caught fish, beans, and leafy greens.
COENZYME Q10: Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant. It’s important for energy production. It can also help improve egg quality! Good sources of this nutrient include fatty fish, organ meats, and whole grains.
L-ARGININE: L-arginine is an amino acid. It helps improve blood flow to the reproductive system, promoting healthy egg development. L-arginine is present in meat, dairy products, and nuts.
Foods To Eat For Egg Quality
Without further ado, below are nutrient-dense foods to eat for egg quality. Aim to incorporate these into a well-rounded, balanced diet!
- Leafy Greens. Think—spinach, kale, and broccoli. These are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They help protect the body from free radicals. Eating leafy greens regularly can improve ovarian function and promote healthy egg production.
- Berries. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are rich in antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative stress. They also help improve blood flow to the reproductive system and promote healthy egg production. Additionally, they contain folate—an essential nutrient for fetal development during pregnancy.
- Fatty Fish. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel all contain omega-3 fatty acids—the building blocks for healthy egg development. These healthy fats help promote blood flow to the reproductive organs and reduce inflammation in the body.
- Whole Grains. 100% whole grains (organic and sprouted, when possible) are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A few examples: wild rice, quinoa, and rye. To improve insulin sensitivity (key for egg quality), pair whole grains with protein (animal or plant-based) and healthy fats (ghee, avocado, coconut oil, etc.).
- Nuts And Seeds. Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, are rich in vitamin E, which is essential for healthy egg production. Vitamin E helps protect the body from free radicals and oxidative stress, which can damage eggs and reduce fertility. Hello, seed cycling!
- Eggs. It may seem obvious, but eating eggs can actually improve egg quality. Eggs are rich in protein, which is essential for healthy egg development. They also contain choline, which is essential for fetal brain development during pregnancy.
- Avocado. Avocado is a nutrient-dense food that is rich in healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins. It contains folate, which is essential for fetal development, and vitamin E, which helps protect eggs from oxidative stress.
- Lean Protein. Lean proteins, such as chicken, turkey, and fish are essential for healthy egg development. They are rich in amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein and are essential for the growth and development of eggs.
Foods To Limit For Egg Quality
To recap—a nutritious diet is foundational for reproductive health. Non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats, complex carbs, and lean protein can help improve egg quality. Additionally, it’s helpful to minimize ultra-processed foods and inflammatory fats (i.e. canola oil). But with that in mind, deprivation isn’t the goal. It’s equally important to relish the foods you love. There’s room for a little bit of everything (including sugar!). Along with a consistent exercise routine, stress management, and getting adequate sleep, you can support a healthy menstrual cycle.