You may have heard the old wives’ tales that drinking pomegranate juice and eating pineapple can help you achieve a positive pregnancy test. So, what’s the scoop on these fertility superfoods?
Why pomegranate may aid fertility:
- Antioxidants are known to protect sperm from oxidative stress, which can damage sperm DNA and decrease sperm motility and viability.1
- Dietary supplementation of antioxidants has been linked to improvements in sperm quality (such as sperm motility, concentration and morphology), and may increase the chance of a successful pregnancy.2
- Pomegranate is a rich source of antioxidants, particularly polyphenols, which have been shown to protect sperm from oxidative damage.3
- The antioxidant properties of pomegranate can improve sperm quality, according to a 2014 study of 70 men published in PLOSOne, and have also been suggested to stimulate the uterus.
If you increase your pomegranate consumption, there may be cross-reactivity with certain medications, such as statins (for high cholesterol) and blood thinners. You should consult with your physician if you are on any of these medications before incorporating pomegranate in your diet.
Why pineapple may aid fertility:
- It contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulation (blood thinning) agent that, per a 2012 study, can impact the immune system.
- The idea is that these anti-coagulation effects can improve blood flow,4 including to the uterus and the uterine lining.
- It has also been linked to decreasing inflammation in other conditions in women’s reproductive health, such as endometriosis.5 A decrease in such inflammation may help support a healthy environment for the implantation of an embryo.
- Eating the core of a pineapple, where bromelain content is highest, may have a beneficial effect to the uterine lining following ovulation or an embryo transfer, however research supporting this effect has not been established.
Bromelain may not be safe among women already taking anti-coagulation medication. If you are already on blood thinners, consult with your physician before incorporating pineapple in your diet.
While definitive data regarding these fertility fruits is lacking, there is little harm to incorporating them in your diet. Regardless, a healthy lifestyle and diet are important in boosting fertility. A consultation with a nutritionist may be a useful first step in navigating your fertility journey.
Dr. Michael Simoni, who completed his medical school training at Harvard Medical School, his OB/GYN residency at the Yale School of Medicine and his REI fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, is passionate about translational research and authentic patient care.
Practicing out of RMA New Jersey’s Marlton office, Dr. Simoni provides RMA patients with the full spectrum of fertility care, specializing in embryo implantation issues such as Recurrent Implantation Failure (RIF).
1. Kessopoulou et al., “A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo Cross-over Controlled Trial Using the Antioxidant Vitamin E to Treat Reactive Oxygen Species Associated Male Infertility”; Suleiman et al., “Lipid Peroxidation and Human Sperm Motility.”
2. Salas-Huetos, Bulló, and Salas-Salvadó, “Dietary Patterns, Foods and Nutrients in Male Fertility Parameters and Fecundability”; Salas-Huetos et al., “The Effect of Nutrients and Dietary Supplements on Sperm Quality Parameters”; de Ligny et al., “Antioxidants for Male Subfertility”; Nassan, Chavarro, and Tanrikut, “Diet and Men’s Fertility”; Arab et al., “Dietary Patterns and Semen Quality.”
3. Ly et al., “The Effects of Dietary Polyphenols on Reproductive Health and Early Development”; Zhao et al., “The Effect of Dietary Grape Pomace Supplementation on Epididymal Sperm Quality and Testicular Antioxidant Ability in Ram Lambs.”
4. Jančič and Gorgieva, “Bromelain and Nisin.”
5. Müller et al., “Placebo-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial on the Immunomodulating Activities of Low- and High-Dose Bromelain after Oral Administration – New Evidence on the Antiinflammatory Mode of Action of Bromelain”; Pavan et al., “Properties and Therapeutic Application of Bromelain.”