For those of you that have never been to Copenhagen, I will tell you right now that it is the city of babies. Babies absolutely everywhere. Prams, buggies, strollers, snugglies – you can’t go for a walk around the block without running into a least one cool mom and her perfect little progeny.
Then my friends caught the bug. My friends? Is it really that time already? Aren’t we still 18? I guess not. I guess it’s time I actually start thinking about the not-so-distant possibility of starting a family (mom, dad – STOP freaking out. I am not trying to tell you anything…). This is a very exciting prospect of course, but there are so many questions swirling around in my head about where to begin.
A while back a very cool lady named Natalie wrote to me. Natalie is a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a natural fertility specialist living in Australia. As we got to emailing back and forth I realized that this connection could not have been made at a better time. I enlisted her help to write a post for all those ladies out there who have baby-on-the-brain, and perhaps are looking for a little advice on how to prepare the body for just such an undertaking. Natalie believes that the diet is the best place to begin, naturally.
Eat yourself fertile – my top five fertile foods
Enhancing fertility can be confusing – there are so many different do’s and don’ts to deal with, you would be forgiven for popping it in the all “too hard” basket. I believe it is important to begin with the basics and to pare things down – so I am sharing with you my top five fertile foods. These are not just a great boost to your health but also to reproductive function – after all, food is the best medicine!
The recipe for good health and healthy fertility is really simple. It is simplicity. It is about keeping it basic. Basic works.
Fats are high on the list for fertile eating. Be aware here, we are talking good fats found from plants and fish (and eggs), certainly not the variety you find in refined and fried foods are your local donut stand. Never be afraid of good fats in your diet. There are many essential properties found in foods such as avocado, olive oil and nuts. Remember – low fat is out – it’s nutritionally ‘empty’. This means all that “low fat” achieves is you wanting something ‘more’ to fill the gap because it is filled with sugar to make up for the fat taken out. Avocados are brilliant sources of good fats. Today’s research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this fact? It takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit – not just a pretty fruit, but a lovely symbol of fertility and gestation.
For a My New Roots recipe using avocados, click here.
Protein is a key element when it comes to pumping up fertility. For this reason, I’m a huge fan of the egg. They are the complete fertile food; high in omega 3’s, folic acid, B vitamins, iron, calcium, potassium – the list goes on. Like many foods, quality is super important and free range organic is my first choice where possible. Need a vegan option? Pack in the protein from every source possible – nuts, grains (such as millet), and legumes are all great sources and contain some protein. For boosting fertility, the protein game is all about adding up the numbers. 90gms of protein per day is recommended for optimal fertility.
For a My New Roots recipe using eggs, click here.
Figs are also full of fertile goodness. They are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow – just like… you guessed it, testicles. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers too. This means this magic; luscious fruit helps to overcome male sterility. Figs are historically known as an aphrodisiac too – and feeling like lovin’ does just as much for fertility levels as all the eating well in the world!
For a My New Roots recipe using figs, click here.
We’ve already beaten the drum of how great fats are for fertility – and olives provide this and then some. They are a great remedy for inflammation, are high in anti-oxidants and help prevent cancer. They truly are wonderful. How is this good for fertility? Cells are changed by stress – and so adding olives to your plate is useful to assist in maintaining a healthy reproductive environment and nourishing the reproductive organs. You’re body is super clever – stress will absolutely lower fertility, and so adding foods to help our body work well and cope better with stress is essential in our busy lives. When we fail to do this, the body simply shuts down and becomes infertile.
For a My New Roots recipe using olives, click here.
Good quality filtered water is a must. By increasing fluid intake, you are not only flushing toxins through your body everyday, but by keeping your body well hydrated, you are also helping to create more cervical mucus essential for fertilization. Without fertile mucus, the sperm will not be nourished and fed, nor will they reach the egg. This is equally important when it comes for men creating great seminal fluid.
A balanced and wholesome diet is essential for great health. This includes a great range of colourful fruit and veggies, whole-grains, legumes and protein. There are specific qualities that certain veggies contain, that can help to treat menstrual irregularities and hormone imbalances. By increasing your intake and variety of fresh produce, you will do your health and fertility big favors. By being aware of what you’re nourishing your body with, you are setting yourself up for a happy and healthy pregnancy.
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The one thing that surprised me in Natalie’s article was the high amount of protein that she suggested was optimal for increasing fertility. 90 grams?! I get about half that a day, which is right on the money for a woman of my weight. I can’t imagine doubling that amount every day – I’d have to eat…double the food? Never one to shy away from another bowl of lentil soup, Natalie says that if you break it down into meals and snacks, it’s really do-able. Aim for 20 grams of protein at each meal, and 10 grams for snacks.
What does that look like? Well, a cup of cooked lentils runs about 18 grams, plus a cup of cooked quinoa is 8 – right there is 26 grams in one meal. Not bad! Throw in a hemp protein smoothie for breakfast, a handful of almonds for a snack, some broccoli and spinach salad…it adds up pretty quickly. I suppose the hard part is being aware and making that much more of an effort.
Natalie says if you can’t get up to 90 grams a day, “even if you are getting 1/2 – 3/4 this amount you are looking after all things fertile. Some patients find this great and others hate it. I get that. So you need to work within what your body is also telling you is acceptable.”
If any of you have other questions for Natalie regarding her guidelines, ask in the comment section and she will answer them there.
Thank you Natalie for the wonderful advice!
Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist, Natalie Kringoudis is a Natural Fertility Specialist. Her website ‘Fertile Body Heart and Soul’ (www.melbournenaturalfertility.com.au) provides interesting, enjoyable and honest information on fertility and natural medicine . Although based in Melbourne, Australia, Natalie is committed to ensuring that information about health and fertility care is accessible to couples world wide.
Natalie is the owner of The Pagoda Tree (www.thepagodatree.com.au) – Melbourne’s home of Women’s Health, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Alternative Therapies. She provides care with a positive, carling attitude and wholesome approach. Natalie supports couples through their fertility challenges, including natural fertility as well as assisted conception and IVF. She is currently pregnant with her second child, and understand the importance of an integrated approach to health. She advocates food as a wonderful therapeutic tool. Natalie is a lover of natural health and living.