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Want to conceive twins naturally? Then this article is for you.
Twins are classified as either identical, where one fertilized egg splits and develops into two fetuses, or fraternal, where two different sperm fertilize two eggs.
Women from Igbo-Ora, a small town in western Nigeria, are known for having the worlds’ highest number of twin births. They often attribute it to their daily diet of yams, cassava, and okra leaves. 
Research has also shown that a diet rich in nutrients and vitamins increases one’s chances of getting pregnant with twins or triplets.
Read on to discover ten nutritious foods that women in West Africa and other parts of the world eat to conceive twins naturally.
Foods to increase chances of conceiving twins
These ten foods are nutritious, readily available, and easy to prepare. They include:
1. White yams
Yams are incredibly healthy tubers. They are rich in essential nutrients and chemicals called phytoestrogens.
The Yoruba women of Igbo-Ora, a small town in south-western Nigeria, believe that a local delicacy, “Amala” made from a blend of dried yams and cassava, is responsible for their high twin births.
Also, one study hypothesized that yams might contain a chemical that fools the brain into thinking there is insufficient estrogen, causing it to release more gonadotropin and increase ovulation. 
They are incredibly versatile and easy to prepare. You can boil it, roast it, fry it, or bake it.
Cassava, also called tapioca, is a root tuber crop that is rich in essential nutrients. It contains small amounts of folic acid and vitamin C.
In Igbo-Ora, the whole unpeeled tuber is harvested, dried, and blended with white yams to prepare a special local diet. 
Although there is no scientific evidence to back it up, it is assumed that the cassava root peels contain chemicals that induce hyperovulation – when women release more than one egg during ovulation.
3. Maca root
Maca root is useful in treating both male and female infertility. It increases sperm count, boosts libido, and eases menopausal symptoms.
Since it promotes fertility, it can be beneficial to women trying to get pregnant with twins.
You can add the dried powdered maca root to smoothies, tea, or yogurt. Find it here online.
Also read: 20 best fertility foods for men and women
4. Okra leaves
Okra leaves are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and protein.
They are used to make a soup that is eaten with amala (yam and cassava meal). The indigenous people of Igbo-Ora strongly believe that this combination is necessary to conceive twins naturally. 
However, more scientific research is needed to determine the active constituent of okra leaves that induce multiple births.
5. Foods rich in folic acid
Folic acid occurs naturally as folate in broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, legumes, liver, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Some studies say that women who take extra folic acid may have a slightly higher chance of giving birth to twins. 
Furthermore, folic acid is necessary for all women trying to get pregnant as it reduces the risk of spina bifida, a congenital abnormality that affects newborns.
6. Dairy products
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are healthy and provide you with essential nutrients.
One study found that women who take lots of dairy products are more likely to conceive twins. The study explained that growth hormones given to animals cause the release of the Insulin Growth Factor (IGF) hormone that induces hyperovulation in women, leading to multiple births. 
Although more research is needed, it is worth trying.
7. Foods rich in zinc
Zinc improves fertility in men and women. It improves sperm count and boosts sperm motility making it easier to conceive twins.
Zinc can be found naturally in oysters, crabs, shellfish, whole grains, legumes, etc. You can also find zinc supplements in drug stores or online.
8. Complex carbohydrates
If you hope to conceive twins, adding complex carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes (cowpeas, chickpeas, lentils), sweet potatoes, and vegetables will help you achieve your dreams sooner than you expect.
Complex carbohydrates provide your body with fiber, folate, zinc, B-vitamins, calcium, and other nutrients needed for a healthy baby.
So start eating them today!
Also read: 15 best African foods rich in dietary fiber
9. Pineapple core
Pineapples are healthy fruits that help in conception and fertility.
The core is rich in bromelain, an enzyme that reduces inflammation and promotes blood flow to the uterus. 
Eating a diet rich in pineapple may boost your chances of becoming pregnant with twins.
10. Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables like banana, watermelon, kiwi, mangoes, cruciferous vegetables, and leafy greens are rich in nutrients that promote twin conception.
Besides, eating lots of veggies and fruits before and during pregnancy keeps your baby healthy.
Other factors that increase your chances of twins
There are other natural factors that can increase your chances of conceiving twins. They include:
- Weight: Slightly heavier women are believed to have a good chance of conceiving twins.
- Genetics: People believe that parents could pass down the gene for twins to their offsprings.
- Height: One study says tall women have growth hormones that may help them easily get pregnant with twins.
- Breastfeeding: During breastfeeding, it is often believed that the follicle-stimulating hormone levels (FSH) may rise and cause hyperovulation leading to high chances of fraternal twins.
- Environmental factors: The people of Igbo-Ora believe that their water and soil play a considerable role in their high twin-birth rate. 
- Ethnicity: African women have a greater chance of giving birth to twins when compared to Caucasian and Asian women.
The bottom line
There is no doubt that several factors are responsible for twin pregnancies.
However, adding nutritious foods to your daily diet will improve your chance of conceiving and carrying your twins to term.
Always remember to fortify your diet with foods rich in essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
- Omonkhua, Akhere A et al. “Community perceptions on causes of high dizygotic twinning rate in Igbo-Ora, South-west Nigeria: A qualitative study.” PloS one vol. 15,12 e0243169. 3 Dec. 2020, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0243169
- Yale Medicine, 1999 What’s in a yam? Clues to fertility, a student discovers < Yale …
- Abbas A. 2019 Frequency of twinning in Nigeria- a review https://www.researchgate.net/publication/338143164_Frequency_of_Twinning_in_Nigeria_A_Review
- Signore, Caroline et al. “Effects of folic acid fortification on twin gestation rates.” Obstetrics and gynecology vol. 105,4 (2005): 757-62. doi:10.1097/01.A.0000154886.40318.5e
- Goldstein, Daniel A et al. “Twinning and higher intake of dairy products.” The Journal of reproductive medicine vol. 52,2 (2007): 140-1; author reply 141-2.
- Roep, B O et al. “Modulation of autoimmunity to beta-cell antigens by proteases.” Diabetologia vol. 45,5 (2002): 686-92. doi:10.1007/s00125-002-0797