By Chef Lauren Cox, from Closer to Your Food
Eating for fertility may seem a little strange, but most holistic practitioners agree that internal health starts with your diet and lifestyle. This means what you eat and how you live can make a much greater impact on your chances of conceiving than you may think. As a general rule of health, you should try to reduce as much stress as possible in your life, and the same goes with times you are trying to conceive. It helps to see a therapist or counselor on a regular basis to resolve personal and emotional issues as they arise, exercise regularly to burn off stress and release endorphins, and try to get a solid eight hours of sleep each night. Surprisingly, there are many little adjustments you can make to your diet as well to increase fertility.
In general, a whole food, organic diet is recommended for optimal health, and it is no surprise that it is best for fertility in both men and women as well. For women, you want to focus on nourishing your body through its various cycles. For example, try to eat foods that are rich in iron during menstruation. Here are two recipes that can help you throughout the month whether you are detoxing or just trying to eat clean so you have the best chances of conceiving and having a happy and healthy pregnancy:
Yams naturally contain phytoestrogens and a natural form of progesterone which help balance women’s hormones and essentially help extend the luteal phase.
Maca is an ancient remedy for fertility and sexual function, an adaptogenic wonder plant. What’s unique about maca is that it helps balance hormones in both men and women without containing any hormones itself. Even if you are not trying to get pregnant, it helps with mood and mental clarity.
¾ cup yam or sweet potato puree
½ banana frozen
¼ cup ice
1 scoop maca powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger, minced fresh is best
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch clove
1 tablespoon local honey
1 teaspoon stevia or Xylitol crystals
1 cup coconut milk
*Optional coconut cream and ground cinnamon for garnish
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy in a blender. Add more coconut milk if it is too thick and enjoy right away.
Brussels Sprouts/Cruciferous Veggies
These include crunchy and leafy greens like brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. What makes them special for fertility is that they help balance your estrogen to progesterone ratio, causing the body to use estrogen (which is needed to prepare the uterus for pregnancy) more effectively.
Figs have been considered an aphrodisiac for millennia, but when it comes to fertility, it is their high levels of iron that makes them so great. Besides being delicious, the iron helps the body produce healthy eggs and plays a crucial role in ovulation. Women want to make sure they are getting enough iron, especially during menstruation.
1 cup fresh figs, halved
1 cup brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
¼ cup high quality balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons almonds or hazelnuts toasted and crushed
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Add the figs, sprouts, balsamic and coconut oil to a baking dish and toss. Roast about 20-30 minutes, or until the balsamic starts to caramelize. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with the toasted nuts. This dish is delicious cold or hot.
Closer to Your Food is a wellness blog focused on eating and cooking for health and sustainability with recipes and lifestyle tips formulated around a plant-based diet and home-grown local foods. Chef Lauren Cox holds a B.A. from the le Cordon Bleu in Culinary Management with over 8 years of fine dining experience in private dining, catering and Michelan star restaurants.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.