Fertility and food is a tricky topic simply because fertility is so multi-faceted there is no single diet that can lead to perfect fertility. It is the coming together (no pun intended) of a variety of factors; a balance of mind, body, and spirit.
TCM focuses on conserving Qi by managing stress and other unnecessary expenditures of Qi so as to redirect Qi to improve reproductive function. Eating well is one way to conserve your QI. By giving your body the right fuel, it is often able to go on and do its femme power magic with little assistance from you.
The following foods are brimming with fertile potential!
1 - NUTS & SEEDS
Nuts and seeds are nutritional powerhouses for fertility because they themselves are the reproductive material of the plants they represent. Nuts and seeds contain all the DNA and nutrients needed for a plant to reproduce and that makes them the most nutritious part of a plant!
Walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and all their nutty/seedy pals are great sources of fat, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals like calcium, selenium and iron.
A special shout-out goes to flax seeds because they are also the world's greatest known source of lignans. Lignans are powerful antioxidants and are also great in helping the body eliminate excess estrogen.
2 - WHOLE GRAINS
If nuts and seeds are the ‘egg’ of the plant, whole grains are the fertilized germs cells and thus they contain all the nutrition needed to sustain the growth of the new plant. This makes them very high in ‘fertile potential’.
Refined grains are stripped of the fertilized germ cell and in the process, they lose up to 17 key nutrients. Whole grains release their sugars slowly into the bloodstream, unlike refined grains which catapult your blood sugar levels drastically.
So, more of the brown rice, quinoa, oats, rye, barley and whole wheat please!
3 - BEANS & LENTILS
Like nuts and seeds, beans and lentils are also the reproductive material of the plants they represent and therefore have an impressive list of nutrients. These include folate, manganese, thiamin, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and iron.
Beans and legumes are also a great source of plant protein and fiber. Adding more plant protein in your diet is a great step towards maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your hormones in check. Aim to eat beans/legumes at least 3 times a week and while at it, remember to pre-soak them before cooking as this improves their digestibility significantly.
In case you have SIBO or are celiac, be sure to first check with your health professional before adding beans/legumes to your diet as they may cause your symptoms to flare up.
4 - HEALTHY FATS
Fats and healthy in the same breath can sound a bit like an oxymoron, but your body actually needs fat and more so when you are in the process of creating a brand new little person. Essential fatty acids are needed for making new cells, for hormone production and for brain development.
That said, not all fats were made equal, it is advisable to include more unsaturated fats ( liquid at room temperature) and completely avoid trans fats. Example of good fats are;
Fatty Fish e.g Wild-caught salmon
Unrefined vegetable oils e.g Olive oil, Flax oil
5 - EGGS
Eggs just like seeds, are the reproductive material of the chicken and thus contain all the nutrients the little chick needs to hatch. This makes them nutritional giants.
In Chinese medicine, eggs nourish Kidney Yin, which can help with achieving optimal hormone balance for conception. Eggs contain the antioxidant lutein, which is essential for eye health and choline, which plays a huge part in brain development
However, remember this is one of the foods you want to have in moderation. Also the type of egg matters - always go for organic, free range eggs.
6 - FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
It goes without saying that fresh fruits and vegetables are the numero uno of good nutrition! Not only are they packed with powerful antioxidants they are also the most bioavailable sources of vitamins and minerals.
Dark green leafy vegetables contain folate which is very essential in the first few weeks of pregnancy for preventing neural tube defects. These veggies are also very rich in iron and zinc.
When it comes to fruits, citrus fruits are a great option for mamas. This is because they are an incredibly rich source of vitamin C which is a powerful immune booster.
7 - WATER
Water may not be a food but it is such an important nutrient that it earned its way into this list. Water is literally life; one would literally die faster from lack of water than lack of food!
Dehydration puts your body automatically into survival mode. This shuts down all non-essential systems including your reproductive mechanisms. The more water you take, you will see an improvement in your cycles and specifically your cervical mucus production. Oh and BTW, without cervical mucus conception actually cannot occur.
So rev up your water intake not only to promote femme power but also to help your body detoxify from all the toxins you are exposed to in daily life.
So ladies, consider fertility essentially as an abundance of life. For life to abound, the one giving it must be fully taken care of first. Mother nature provides perfect examples of this; An underfed chicken does not lay eggs, a bean plant without sufficient water will not sprout and likewise, an under-nourished mother cannot have a healthy offspring! Eating well is an act of self-love and importantly an act of love towards your future bub.