Oily fish is one of my top five fertility superfoods, and with good reason. It’s the richest dietary source of the essential omega-3 fat DHA. DHA is vital for foetal brain development, as well as lowering inflammation in both mother and baby. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for cell membrane function, immune health, and sperm and egg health. And, oily fish ticks a lot of important fertility nutrient boxes, including vitamin B12, choline, iodine, iron, selenium and zinc. In studies, women with a sufficient level of omega-3 fats have been shown to have higher-quality embryos in IVF, and a higher chance of conceiving. With this in mind it only makes sense to be conscientious about including oily fish in your fertility diet.
Which oily fish species are best?
Choose fish species with high levels of DHA and low levels of heavy metals (such as mercury) and contaminants. Good choices include:
- Atlantic mackerel
- Rainbow trout (if you’ve not tried trout yet, it’s very similar to salmon)
- Wild Alaskan or sockeye salmon
How often should you eat oily fish?
Include oily fish in your fertility diet two to three times per week and mix things up by trying different varieties. There are plenty of recipes to help you achieve this in the Recipe Hub, and check this popular spiced salmon tray bake recipe from the blog.
Shopping for oily fish
- Wild is best. Steer clear of farmed. Why? Wild-caught fish generally have more nutrients, a better texture, colour and flavour (translation: a more delicious fish meal!).
- Fresh vs. frozen. Unless you’re going to a fish market that has fresh catches of the day (which can be expensive), grab frozen instead. Yes, it’s totally okay, and often better than the ‘fresh’ fish you’ll find sitting on ice… which isn’t so fresh. Frozen fish is flash frozen on the ship right after it’s caught to preserve freshness. Often people tell me they don’t like oily fish as it’s too ‘fishy’. This is likely because the fish wasn’t super fresh, the omega oils start to smell ‘fishy’ as they go rancid. The freshest oily fish won’t smell or taste ‘fishy’, I promise!
Join the Recipe Hub for access to these delicious oily fish recipes
- Strawberry, spinach and salmon salad (pictured below)
- Easy baked salmon ratatouille – you can swap the salmon for rainbow trout in this recipe to mix things up
- Tikka salmon skewers
- Easy buckwheat crêpes with smoked salmon
What if you don’t like oily fish, or you’re veggie/vegan?
If you’re not going to be able to eat oily fish then it’s important to supplement with a high quality fish oil supplement everyday to benefit from the nutrients highlighted above. If you’re happy to take capsules then I recommend BodyBio Fish Oil (use coupon code TFK for 15% discount). Or you might prefer a liquid, in which case you can’t go wrong with Omega 3 Zooki (use coupon code TFK20 for 20% discount). The flavour is mango peach and it’s delicious straight off the spoon, or you can mix it into smoothies or yoghurt.
If you’re veggie or vegan check out Cytoplan Omega-3 Vegan (use coupon code SC0068-35-10 for 10% discount) derived from marine algae.
Do you enjoy oily fish? Do you eat it consistently? If not, what stops you? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below, or post in The Fertility Kitchen Community.