Couples who are trying for a baby are often advised to avoid certain food items and substances while hoping to conceive- things like caffeine, alcohol, or high-mercury fish, for instance. But how often are you and your partner told to incorporate certain foods into your diets to increase chances of pregnancy and your overall fertility?

In our previous post, we talked about several fertility-boosting foods that help enhance the reproductive systems in both men and women. And while that list (and accompanying recipe) makes for a great start, most of the foods we included were all incredibly wholesome. Because of this, for our next list of dietary additions that can naturally improve fertility, we included a few foods that aren’t quite as (for lack of a better word) strict.

We hope you enjoy adding the following foods to your regular diet to help with conception. Happy eating and happy baby-making!

Bananas: It’s a well-known fact that these very ‘a-peeling’ fruits are high in potassium, but did you know they are also loaded with Vitamin B6? B6 can help to regulate the body’s hormones, as well as a woman’s menstrual cycle. It’s also worth noting that a deficiency of this water-soluble vitamin can lead to poor egg quality in women and as well as poor sperm production in men, so add bananas to your breakfast – or keep one on hand as a snack – if you’re trying for a baby.

Whole Wheat Bread: Perhaps you’ve heard that whole wheat flour versus white flour is better for you, but do you know why? For starters, whole wheat is a complex carb which takes longer to digest, and therefore helps keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable. And when it comes to a woman’s reproductive health, this stability also prevents an imbalance in her hormones. Also, according to a Dutch study from 2010, women with high levels of blood sugar were only about half as likely to get pregnant through the course of the study. So choose complex carbs as a means to naturally improve fertility, and keep those levels stabilized!

Carrots: Carrots may have a reputation for improving eyesight, but they’re also incredibly helpful for improving a man’s sperm quality. These veggies get their bright orange color from carotenoid, which has been linked higher sperm motility. Eating them can increase both sperm quality and quantity by up to 8%! So start using them (and let us suggest, from The Minimalist Baker blog, an amazing recipe of Carrots and Coconut Pancakes)Foods

Ice Cream: What kind of list would this be without a wee bit of indulgence? But it’s an indulgence that’s well worth it! Believe it or not, The Nurses’ Health Study found that one or two servings of whole milk products daily can increase the likelihood of a woman’s ovulation. An additional study published in 2007 found that women who consumed an abundance of low-fat dairy products actually increased their risk of infertility – whereas women who ate a scoop of ice cream twice a week were 38% less likely to experience these infertility issues. So while moderation is still key, it’s also important that when trying for a baby, go ahead and spring for full-fat dairy.

Shellfish: Another relatively counterintuitive food that can naturally improve fertility is shellfish. This seafood varietal is packed with antioxidants, which works to protect both a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm from free radicals. Additionally, shellfish (and other seafood) contains lots of Vitamin B12, which helps to strengthen the endometrium lining in egg fertilization, which can decrease a woman’s risk of miscarrying. Go ahead and break out those oysters to get you and your partner in the mood – they’ll also help get your reproductive system right there with you!