I read something the other day that said foods that resemble part of your anatomy are actually very beneficial for that particular body part. There are a lot of fruits that look our reproductive organs so it totally makes sense that they will be important for fertility.
A study that was presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual meeting in Lisbon, found that eating fruit could boost the chance of having a baby. Whilst these succulent little buds can help improve fertility in both men and women, it seems men are ‘lazier’ when it comes to improving their diet than women, so get your man to up his fruit intake.
Fruits are great sources of Vitamin C, which are important to sperm and egg health due to their antioxidant properties, which attach to and remove free radicals that can cause damage to our bodies. But eating a wide variety of fruit will also keep you topped up with lycopene, folic acid and Vitamin B6, which are important when you’re trying to conceive.
There are many, many fruits that you can add to your daily diet but these are my top five fruits for fertility. Eat at least two portions a day for 90 days before trying to conceive to make a difference to your egg and sperm quality.
We all know we should eat our greens, and it’s even more important when you’re trying to conceive. Dark, leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard and spinach are some of the most nutritious veggies you can chow down on, packed with antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients.
I’d always dismissed kale before, thinking it was overpriced, trendy and not that nice, but it comes up time and time again in lists of top fertility foods so it can’t be ignored any longer!
Kale is a phytonutrient, which enhances the immune system, protects cells from damage, and helps to detoxify the body. It’s high in folate, iron, vitamin A and is also a great source of calcium, which helps egg maturation and follicular development.
This lovely light soup is a great way of getting a healthy dose of kale in your diet. It’s delicious served with fresh, crusty bread as well, otherwise you’ll probably be left feeling hungry! Continue reading
I’ve just had my third cycle of IUI, or intrauterine insemination. My first attempt was nine months ago, shortly after I miscarried and was raring to get pregnant again as soon as possible. We went through two cycles, both unsuccessful and then decided to go back to traditional methods for a while as I was finding it difficult balancing the treatments with work and just found the whole process a bit mechanical.
Nearly one year later and we’re back on it. If you’re not familiar with the procedure, you might be wondering, what is IUI? My husband, rather romantically, calls it turkey basting. Essentially it is a way of getting the little swimmers closer to the target. The doctor takes a sample of your partner’s semen, washes it to make it more concentrated, then inserts it in to your uterus through a thin catheter. This increases the chances of the sperm getting to the fallopian tubes. The rest is down to nature. It’s not for everyone, but if you are struggling to conceive it may be an option you want to consider.
I’ve put together a list of a few useful things you might want to know before you try IUI.
Why are nuts and seeds so important when trying to conceive? It varies from nut to nut, but they are said to be good for both fertility and during pregnancy as they are loaded with fibre, protein, minerals and essential fatty acids.
Almonds, sunflower seeds and peanuts are ‘building foods’ because they are a healthy protein. Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are the best sources for zinc, which can help improve the health of both the egg and sperm and balance hormones. Sunflower seeds and almonds also contain Vitamin E, which can help to increase your cervical mucus and improve sperm mobility. And Brazil nuts are said to have the high levels of selenium, which is crucial in the development of healthy ovarian follicles.
Nuts are super easy to add in to your daily diet. Eat them raw as a snack, sprinkle them over salads, porridge or yoghurt, or chop them up and mix with bulgar wheat and big bunches of fresh mint and parsley to make a tabbouleh. If you fancy something a little sweeter try this Sweet Coconut and Nut Mix, which I love having with porridge in the mornings.
I’m a big fan of lentils, especially since I’ve been TTC. Lentils provide 90% of your recommended daily intake of folic acid, so BOOM chuck a few in your dishes!
Green lentils hold their shape pretty well so they are a good alternative to meat, or to add a bit of texture to salads. This delicious lentil and feta salad went down really well with the husband too (although the poor little sausage does ask where the meat is every time I make something vegetarian).
I’ve talked about the benefits of steak on fertility before. It’s a great source of L-arginine, which can improve circulation and in turn boost egg and sperm health. It’s also a good way to get your vitamin B6 (especially if it’s grass-fed beef), which can help to lengthen your luteal phase and increase cervical mucus. My doctor has advised me to eat red meat twice a week so Friday’s have now become steak night!
I’ve paired this steak with a bright, fresh, raw Asian-style salad which is packed full of Vitamin C from the red pepper, mango and lime juice. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for both men and women’s fertility. Vitamin C is said to improve hormone levels in women, while it improves sperm quality and protects sperm from DNA damage, which can help to reduce the chance of miscarriage and chromosomal problems.
Late on a Sunday afternoon, my husband said to me “you should read this article on pregnancy anxiety – I think it will resonate with you”.
Now hang on a minute, I’m not even pregnant yet – how is this going to be relevant to me? Rowan Martin speaks of the intense paranoia she experienced during her pregnancy – after a “missed miscarriage” with her first pregnancy she became, understandably, anxious about what might happen to her baby when she was expecting again. Her fear took over and she became obsessed with monitoring her baby, even going to the extreme of taking more than 100 pregnancy tests within five weeks and spending nearly £2,000 on private clinics, just to check her baby was still growing.
Whilst my situation is not the same, there are certainly elements of Rowan’s story that I can empathise with, even during the process of trying to get pregnant. When things don’t go to plan, you feel like your body has let you down – how can you trust it again?