We don’t know about you, but when we think about oysters, we think of a food synonymous with romance and seduction, a seafood delicacy (perhaps a bit slimy for many of us) that may pave the way to a night of unbridled passion!

However, according to Harley Street Fertility Clinic nutritionist Neema Savvides there’s a lot more to oysters than you may think…

“Oysters are full of zinc, which in many studies, has been proven to increase fertility in both men and women.  Zinc is needed for testosterone metabolism, testicle growth, sperm production, motility, count and reducing excess oestrogen in male reproductive tissue. In addition to this, zinc promotes healthy cell division in the beginning stages of conception, and therefore can increase your chances of having a healthy start on your journey to conceive.  They are also an excellent source of protein – a dietary must for couples wanting to conceive”.

Boosting male fertility

As well as being an antioxidant, zinc is a key nutrient for the production of healthy sperm, boosting motility and for helping to remove excess oestrogen from the body (high levels of which is linked to low sperm count), and is a commonly lacking is most people’s diets. Zinc is lost through ejaculation so consuming good sources such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, lean meat and poultry, eggs and pulses can help to replenish stores.

Boosting female fertility

As well as being an antioxidant, zinc is a key nutrient used in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body.  Without it, your cells can’t divide properly and your hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) get out of balance.  Low levels of zinc have been linked to miscarriages in the early stages of pregnancy. Good sources include oysters, lean red meat, poultry, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, eggs and pulses.

Moreover the old wives tales that oysters act as an aphrodisiac may have some truth in it. Fairly recent research has found that raw oysters and other bivalve molluscs contain a rare amino acid that stimulates the production of sex hormones.

Of course, the fact they’re tastier, and cheaper than Viagra, makes the idea easier to swallow! So there you have it- some of the world’s most romantic and sexy foods can provide some more lasting joy.

“One of the most healthy and traditional way to enjoy oysters are raw as this amps their nutritional content” says Neema .

Here’s a great recipe for Mignonette sauce to give your raw oysters a little zing!

Recipe: Mignonette Sauce for Oysters

Despite raw oysters being delicious with just a squeeze of lemon, try something different by adding a splash of mignonette sauce.

Makes 1/2 cup/ small bowl

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black peppercorns
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
Salt to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and serve with raw oysters.

Best enjoyed with a glass of chilled champagne

Where to next

Visit our conception section