Power Foods To Boost Fertility
All images: Loren Lazic
Hectic modern life often means that our health gets neglected. When it comes to fertility, this can become even more apparent. So nurture your body and mind with 8 power foods to boost fertility.
With the pressures from society on top of those we put on ourselves, it’s no wonder our beautiful womanly bodies are feeling the strain. To be a loving family member, to strive high in our careers, to maintain friendships on top of maintaining our appearance and weight. It all adds up, leaving little energy for our bodies to focus on that other mammoth pressure we face; conceiving and carrying a baby.
It’s not unusual to find ourselves with all manners of hormonal issues such as acne, excessive body/facial hair and troublesome periods. Making enemies with our symptoms is common practice, yet instead let’s be thankful for the warning signs our bodies give us and respond accordingly.
Here we have a list of fertility friendly foods, each with a recipe idea to help guide you on a path to optimum hormone balance. Sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, and caffeine are reduced, leaving more room for vegetables, good fats and high-quality protein that helps stabilise blood sugar levels. Sleep, managing stress levels and reducing exposure to environmental toxins is also high on the priority list. With these aspects in focus, we bring our bodies back into balance gradually, ready for a healthy, cyclical flow.
8 Power Foods to Boost Fertility
Eggs are a source of pure protein and good fat making them a solid choice to start the day with. High in selenium, magnesium and zinc, as well as choline to support full-term pregnancy, eggs are incredibly versatile. Grating courgette, carrot, parsnip, or all three into fritters is an easy way to up your veg count, especially with a side salad or sauerkraut probiotic hit. Starting on a savoury note in the morning with a protein-high reduces blood sugar spikes and keep you full for longer. Therefore meaning you’re less likely to crave a sweet treat later. Tip: Combining anti-inflammatory turmeric & black pepper in the egg mixture gives the fritters a gorgeous golden hue.
Hear me out, the trendy avocado is not just a fad. They contain a type of monounsaturated healthy fat which is essential to improve egg and embryo quality. Half an avocado most days is ample amount to support egg health in women and sperm motility in men, due to its high potency of vitamin E. Let’s be honest, we’re all bored of avocado on toast and the gluten in bread isn’t helpful for inflammation, so why not try an avocado egg boat instead? Simply scoop the flesh and mash with salty goat’s cheese or smoked salmon, crack a free range organic egg on top and bake in the oven until the yolk has set. Eat with greens or salad to up the fibre intake even more.
There’s a reason chia seeds are classified as a superfood and this long list of benefits says it all. High in omega-3, antioxidants, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium, grain-free chia porridge makes a champion hormone friendly breakfast. It’s especially good for those used to a warming bowl of oat porridge in the morning. Soaking the seeds overnight in plant-based milk (oat, almond, brazil nut, coconut etc) will aid digestion. However if time is tight, stirring over a low heat for 10 minutes will do the same trick. Chia seeds are a complete protein and their high fibre content helps flush the body of unwanted hormones. Fork through a mashed banana, protein powder, almond butter or dessicated coconut and top with yoghurt, fruit, grated ginger, nuts and seeds.
Broccoli’s winning characteristic is its rich source of indole-3-carbinol which helps the body excrete excess oestrogen. Simmer in a simple coconut milk fish curry with curry paste, ribbons of courgette and wilted spinach. Add a dash of chilli flakes for extra heat. Broccoli is also believed to be anti-carcinogenic, along with its other brassica family members like cauliflower and cabbage.
Leafy greens are anti-inflammatory and high in folate, a vitamin needed for healthy cell division and growth. Therefore the more we consume, the better. Opt for certified organic leaves and wash well to reduce any intake of pesticides. A handful of greens, half an avocado and kiwi combine nicely for a smoothie with plant-based milk and filtered water. Add 2 tablespoons of flaxseed/pumpkin seed mix or sunflower/sesame seeds depending on where you are in your cycle for some healthy fats (look up seed cycling for hormone balance) and a scoop of protein powder. Note; this isn’t an ‘on the go’ smoothie – dish it up in a bowl to ensure you take time in your morning to eat consciously for better digestion.
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring or sardines supply the body with important omega 3 oils that promote ovulation and boost blood flow to the reproductive organs. It’s also known to support the health of the baby’s brain. Smoked salmon and avocado pair nicely with a dollop of homemade mayonnaise (olive oil + egg + mineral rich salt & pepper) and feta cheese crumbles. Aim for sustainable and wild caught fish over commercially farmed. However note that with wild fish, the smaller varieties are less likely to be contaminated with heavy metals.
Brazil nuts are a healthy fat containing selenium, a nutrient crucial for thyroid health. Consider making your own rich and creamy brazil nut milk. Simply soak a bowlful of kernels overnight in filtered water, rinsing and blending again with filtered water and a pinch of mineral rich salt. Add a touch of vanilla or cinnamon for a warming aroma and strain the mixture into a jar or glass bottle to store. The milk will last up to 3 days. Tip: Leftover nut pulp can also be thrown back into the blender with dried fruit, seeds, nut butter and coconut oil/flakes to make energy balls. It’s no waste cooking that is a whole lot better for you and skips the shop bought cartons with added sugar and preservatives.
A vitamin powerhouse, asparagus is loaded with high values of folic acid, vitamin K, A, B & C which are vital for reproductive health. Eat the tips lightly steamed, but don’t disregard the nobbly ends either. They can be whizzed up in a blender with extra virgin olive oil, raw garlic, lemon juice and seasoned with salt and pepper for a heavenly pesto. This blend sits perfectly on a bed of courgetti strands, roasted mushrooms and farmer’s market fresh tomatoes. Sprinkle with parmesan shavings and serve as a lip-smacking side salad or light Summer dish to enjoy outside in the sunshine.
Disclaimer: *Please note these are general pointers to promote overall women’s wellbeing – a doctor, certified dietician, nutritionist or naturopath should be seen to assess specific symptoms or fertility issues on an individual basis.