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Fast Fertility Foods – Recipes that boost fertility for you and your partner, which take less than 30 minutes to prepare

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Orange Marmalade Glazed Chops x

Fast Fertility Foods – Recipes that boost fertility for you and your partner, which take less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Our friends at MyNutriCounter have four fast fertility recipes to help boost your fertility.

It is never too late to start making healthy and positive changes that affect your reproductive system. Pre-conception care involves both parents to work as a team, as dad needs a large and high quality sperm count, and mum needs to create a healthy environment for the baby to grow and develop. As well as positive lifestyle changes for you and your partner, a wellbalanced and nutritious diet plays an important role for increasing fertility.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are already part of your pre-conception plan, but did you know that some foods are better for fertility than others? The right amount of nutrients enhances the conditions for making a baby. Although, balance is key. Having too much of a nutrient can have the opposite effect, so ensure you are eating a variety of foods each week.

MyNutriCounter have given you a head start and selected four simple recipes that contain ingredients to improve fertility for both mum and dad.

Orange Marmalade Glazed Chops

Pork is an excellent source of selenium and vitamin B6, which are two important nutrients for fertility. Men that have a selenium deficiency have been linked to small numbers of sperm count and abnormal sperm morphology, which means the sperm is developed in odd shapes and sizes. For the women, the developing embryo has a chance of being harmed by high levels of thyroid hormones so the selenium actually shields the fetus by neutralising the strength of the hormones. While we are on the topic, the B6 in pork actually helps to regulate hormones in women. It can also increase cervical mucus, which is vital in helping the sperm reach the ova.

So what are you waiting for? Get some pork on your fork with this delicious recipe!

Serves 2
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Dietary: Gluten & Dairy Free

Ingredients:
Pork Chops
2 pieces French Pork Chops
salt & pepper to taste
15ml/1 tbsp olive oil
30g/1oz orange marmalade
45ml/1.5fl oz balsamic vinegar
French Green Beans
400g/14oz French green beans
100g/3.5oz shallots
15ml/1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Olive Tapenade
75g/2.5oz black olives, pitted
10g/0.5oz anchovies
15g/0.5oz shallots, thinly sliced
50ml/1.75fl oz olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Method:
Chops

  1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan.
  3. Sear chops for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  4. Add in balsamic vinegar and orange marmalade.
  5. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for about 7 minutes.

French Beans & Olive Tapenade

  1. Combine all ingredients for the tapenade in a food processor, and process until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  3. Add in the french beans and boil for a minute.
  4. Strain out and transfer to an ice water bath for about 2 minutes to stop the cooking process.
  5. Just before serving, sauté the chopped shallots and french beans in a little olive oil.
  6. Top off with the tapenade, give a quick stir, and take off the heat.
  7. Serve while hot.

Pesto Risoni with Mango – Curry Shrimps

Shrimps and mangoes contain zinc, which plays a vital role in reproductive health for both men and women. When levels of zinc are increased in infertile men, it has been shown to boost sperm levels and improve the form, function and quality. Zinc is also a wonder vitamin for women before and during pregnancy. This forgotten nutrient helps to produce mature eggs for fertilisation and maintain follicular fluid levels. Without enough fluid, the egg would have trouble travelling through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. Zinc not only helps with the cell growth of your baby during pregnancy, it also supports your immune system to prevent sickness. We bet you did not think these two ingredients could pack such a powerful fertility punch.

Pesto Risoni with Mango - Curry Shrimps

Serves 2
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Dietary: Gluten & Dairy Free

Ingredients:
Shrimps
150g/5.25oz shrimps/prawns, peeled, deveined
15ml/1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp curry powder
50g/2oz ripe mango, cut into small cubes
15ml/1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt

Risoni
100g/3.5oz risoni, uncooked
20g/0.75oz cilantro/coriander
4g/0.15oz garlic, peeled, crushed
100ml/3.5fl oz olive oil
15ml/1 tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Combine shrimp, olive oil, curry powder, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cook risoni for 8 minutes or until al dente.
  4. While pasta is boiling, prepare the pesto. Combine cilantro, garlic, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Cook the shrimp. In a lightly oiled pan, add the shrimps together with the marinade. Cook for two minutes on one side. Flip the shrimps and add in the mangos. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. Drain the risoni and toss in a bowl with the cilantro pesto.
  7. Transfer risoni to a serving plate and top with the shrimps and mangos.

Mediterranean Chicken and Couscous

Iron is very important for women who are trying to conceive as research has found that low iron levels can greatly reduce fertility. Chicken contains sufficient protein and iron but only limit to two servings per day as too much protein will actually lower fertility. Not all chicken is healthy though. Make sure you avoid chicken that is deep-fried or prepared with a lot of fat. Our healthy oven baked chicken dish is sure to help you both pump up your iron.

Mediterranean Chicken Cous Cous
Serves 8
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Dietary: Gluten & Dairy Free

Ingredients:

4 butterflied chicken breast fillets
200g/7oz aubergine/eggplant – sliced
4 ripe tomatoes – 200g/7oz total, cut into halves
1 white onion – 100g/3.5oz, quartered
1 courgette/zucchini – about 200g/7oz piece, cut
in half lengthwise
30ml/1fl oz olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
a few tarragon leaves
2 cloves chopped garlic
400g/14oz couscous
500ml/17fl oz chicken stock
1 lemon, juice and zest
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a baking pan, lay chicken breasts, eggplant, tomato, onions, zucchini, chopped garlic, and rosemary. Toss with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast in a pre-heated oven at 180°C/360F for about 12 minutes or until juices run clear.
  3. Remove out of the oven, tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. In a small stockpot, bring chicken stock to a boil.
  5. Add in couscous, give it a quick stir, and cover. Turn off the heat and let stand to cook for 5 minutes.
  6. While the couscous is cooking, chop chicken and all roasted vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
  7. Fluff the cooked couscous with a meat fork and toss in the chopped chicken and vegetables together with the cooking juices.
  8. Fold in the lemon juice, zest, and chopped herbs.
  9. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Choco-Avocado Mousse

This no-cook recipe is deliciously simple and contains two important fertility boosting ingredients, avocados and chocolate. Avocado is full of minerals, essential fats, protein, carbohydrates and fibre, but the most important vitamin in avocados for pre-conception is vitamin E. Vitamin E increases cervical mucus, which is essential for helping sperm to stay alive as well as increasing overall egg health in women. For men, vitamin E is shown to assist in the development of the sperm without defects and improve sperm mobility. Dark chocolate contains a rich source of amino acid L-arginine which is also proven to increase sperm count and volume of ejaculate. This recipe only takes five minutes to prepare and with these two fertility boosting foods, you should definitely make this dessert for your next romantic night in.

Choco Avocado Mousse

Serves 4
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Dietary: Gluten Free & Vegetarian

Ingredients:
150g/5.25oz semi-sweet chocolate (can use dairy-free)
250ml/8.5fl oz almond milk
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
30g/1oz cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
30ml/1fl oz maple syrup

Method:

  1. Combine avocado, cocoa powder, almond milk, vanilla extract, and maple syrup in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Set aside to cool.
  3. Combine pureed ingredients and melted chocolate.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator.

MyNutriCounter is passionate about raising awareness of the positive effects nutrition can have in preventing common health problems.

Their attitude towards healthy eating is it should always be delicious and contain a variety of foods to provide a good balance of nutrients. All their recipes have been lovingly created to maximise the nourishment from every bite.

If you would like to see more tasty meal ideas, visit them at www.mynutricounter.com.

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Fertility 360

Do This ONE Thing to Improve Your Fertility Immediately

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Do This ONE Thing to Improve Your Fertility Immediately

Why is Earth the only planet in our solar system that supports life forms?

Quite simply…water.  No other planet has it.

Drinking water is essential for optimal health.  And you probably think you get plenty of fluids every day.

Yet, up to 75 percent of Americans may be in a chronic state of dehydration, according to research.

Many people understand the importance of drinking enough water but they don’t overcome the perceived inconvenience to make it part of their routine.

The problem is that allowing yourself to become dehydrated causes more inconvenience because it can be a significant contributing factor to your fertility issues.  Something as simple as drinking enough water can be the turning point for you.

Staying hydrated is critical when trying to get pregnant.  You can survive weeks without food. But as little as a few hours without water.  For example, a child left in a hot car or an athlete exercising hard in hot weather can dehydrate, overheat and die in a period of a few hours.

50-70% of your body weight is water.  Your blood is 85% water, your muscles 80%, your brain 75% and even your bones are 25% water, which indicates how important water is for your health.

Water keeps all of your organs and cells functioning properly including the reproductive cells (egg, sperm) and reproductive organs (brain, ovaries, uterus, testes, thyroid).  It also naturally flushes out toxins in the body.

For men, semen production and semen volume can be reduced by not drinking enough water.   If semen is thicker due to dehydration, sperm may have trouble swimming.

For the fetus, staying hydrated is critical for fetal development.  Water helps carry nutrients to the placenta and is an important part of all aspects of development from the time of fertilization. Without water, a developing baby cannot survive, increasing the risk of miscarriage.

For women, dehydration can affect…

  • …which leads to dehydration interfering with or preventing ovulation
  • The cervical mucus, which is important in transporting the sperm to the fallopian tubes for egg fertilization.  Having little to no cervical mucus can be an indication that you’re dehydrated. You should see 2-3 days of egg white, stretchy cervical mucus around ovulation.  Without enough water, the cervical mucus that balances vaginal pH also becomes too acidic, harming the sperm.
  • Implantation –  Water is necessary for cell division and metabolism. The cells of the uterine wall must be healthy for the embryo to implant.

 

How much water to drink?

Because people are busy throughout the day, using thirst as a guide is unreliable.

A general rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces of water.

But more accurately, use your urine as a guide.

The color should be pale yellow like lemonade.  If it is a deep, dark yellow then you are probably not drinking enough water.  If it is colorless, you are drinking too much water which can cause salts & other electrolytes in your body to become too diluted.

A healthy person urinates on average about 7-8 times a day.  If you haven’t urinated in many hours, that’s an indication that you’re not drinking enough.  Time your water intake so that needing to go to the bathroom doesn’t cause you to wake up at night.

Make sure you start your day with a large glass of water to rehydrate.  You breathe out a small amount of water every time you exhale as you’re sleeping.  If you sweat at night, you’re also losing water.

Water bottles

Storing your water in the appropriate water containers is important.  Glass and stainless steel water containers are best.

DO NOT USE plastic bottles!  Even if they’re BPA-free.

BPA (bisphenol-A) mimics estrogen, and therefore can have estrogenic effects in the body causing infertility including low sperm quality.  BPA increases aneuploidy, a defect consisting of abnormal loss or gain of chromosomes, which could lead to miscarriages or disorders such as Down Syndrome.

Plastics, including BPA-free materials, leach chemicals that act like estrogen in our bodies.  Conditions that are known to release these harmful chemicals are heat, putting them in a microwave or dishwasher, or leaving a plastic water bottle in a hot car.  Microwaving the containers or placing hot liquids or food into them releases BPA 55 times more rapidly! But even normal contact with food or water was enough for these chemicals to leach into the food and the water because they are unstable.  Some of the chemicals that are in the BPA-free plastics actually have been found to have greater estrogenic activity than BPA itself.

Water quality

Many people rely on drinking bottled water regularly.  The problem is that you don’t know how long they’ve been in the plastic bottle and what conditions they have been stored in.

Instead, purify your tap water using the best water filtration system you can afford, preferably one with reverse osmosis (RO).

Unfortunately, an effective water filtration system also removes beneficial minerals (magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese).  Because RO water doesn’t have enough minerals, when it is consumed, it also leaches minerals from the body and your food if you cook with RO water. It’s because water wants to bind to everything, and it will take the minerals where it can — like from your body or your food.  This means that the minerals in food and vitamins are being urinated away.

Less minerals consumed plus more minerals being excreted equals serious negative side effects and big health problems, including fertility issues.

A simple solution is to add trace minerals to filtered water.

Here are some easy tips to ensure you’re drinking enough water

  • Have a bottle with you constantly and make it a habit to take a sip whenever you have down time.
  • Use an app to track your water intake.>
  • Set recurring water break reminders on your phone.
  • Buy a bottle with pre-marked timed intervals. You can also make your own stickers to add to your favorite clear bottle.  All you have to do is come up with your own timed drinking goals and write the times on the bottle.

Optimal fertility starts with the basics – water being the most critical ingredient to life.  Make it a daily habit to drink enough for your reproductive needs.

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Can A Vegan Diet Improve Your Chances Of Trying to Conceive?

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Trying to conceive
Trying To Conceive With A Plan Based Diet

There has been a recent surge of people adopting veganism as the #cleaneating movement sweeps social media. Juliet Gellately, nutritional therapist and founder of vegan charity Viva! Health explains why a plant-based diet could hold the key to trying to conceive.

Fertility problems affect one in seven couples in the UK. There are many causes – certainly not diet alone, but its effect is often underplayed. How we eat particularly impacts on the baby in the womb but a calorie intake that is too low or too high, along with vitamin deficiencies, can be a root cause of infertility. Lifestyle choices such as alcohol and drug use may also have an impact. Tobacco smokers are 60% more likely to be infertile than non-smokers.

Diet and lifestyle choices are important for men and women who want to make a baby, and one route to consider is a plant-based, vegan diet. Ideally, a highly nutritious vegan diet that maximises the ideal intake of complex carbohydrates, fibre, protein, omega 3 and 6 ‘good’ fats, vitamins and minerals.

A balanced vegetarian, or better still, a vegan diet is packed with disease-busting, body and brain nurturing nutrients and is ideal for boosting fertility and for a healthy pregnancy. Just as importantly, a vegan diet particularly lacks the nasties you need to avoid – saturated animal fats, cholesterol, concentrated pesticides, cancer promoters, dioxins and mercury. The latter two are in practically all fish.

And few people realise that cows’ milk contains 35 hormones and 11 growth factors, including those linked to breast and prostate cancers.

The secret of healthy eating for men and women before and during pregnancy is variety but focusing on whole grains (three servings daily), pulses (peas, beans and lentils) of all types plus unsalted mixed nuts if not from an allergy-prone family and seeds (two to three portions daily), and fresh fruit and vegetables (seven to 10 servings daily), as well as some healthy essential fats and vitamin B12 fortified foods. Viva!’s new colourful laminated wallchart, What I Need Each Day (£2) is a friendly food reminder and will help maximise your fertility.

Can you conceive by switching to vegan diet?

Trying to conceive

As two-thirds of Brits are overweight or obese, diet has become a central issue for fertility babies’ health. The biggest study of European vegans to date compared over 1,000 of them to tens of thousands of meat eaters and vegetarians. The meat eaters, on average, were significantly heavier than the vegans. Even allowing for differences in exercise, smoking and other lifestyle factors, vegans came out slimmer in every age group and are usually their ideal healthy weight, or close to it. Less than 2% of vegans are obese, in stark contrast to the rest of the population.

Recent research has shown that mums who eat a high fat and/or high sugar diet during pregnancy can have babies who are predisposed to obesity and when children, to having metabolic syndrome (the precursor to type 2 diabetes).

It’s equally important not to undereat. Many studies show that mums who do so increase their child’s risk of developing obesity and related diseases (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, cancer). It is believed that the baby in the womb makes adaptations to the ‘famine’ to prepare him or herself for life after birth. Far from being protective, these changes make the child more vulnerable to obesity and disease.

Count down
Men who are obese are three times more likely to have a low sperm count than men of the same background and age who are of a healthy weight. Obese men are also more likely to have sperm that has problems swimming and are misshaped. This can reduce fertility or cause infertility. What’s more, obese men have lower levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone, and higher levels of the female hormone oestrogen. This is because fat cells make oestrogen in men and women and is why overweight men often develop breasts.

If a man is obese, the amount of oestrogen subsequently produced may reduce his sperm production. Obese men also tend to have more erectile problems and impotence and may have a lower sex drive. New research has also shown that red meat slows sperm. Meat is not so macho after all, it seems!

Weight is an important issue for women too. A study on almost 50,000 couples in 2007 showed that obese women have almost an 80% greater risk of being subfertile than normal-weight women. For those in need of some dietary guidance, Viva!Health’s V Plan Diet helps men and women regain their mojo by giving tips on a healthy, sustained weight loss.

Vegan diet,  and Fertility foods

All nutrients play a vital part in fertility, so it is important to know which foods are rich sources of the vitamins and minerals you need.

Zinc probably plays the biggest role in reproduction. A deficiency in a man reduces the volume of semen and so fertilisation may be compromised. In a woman, zinc is needed for the right hormone balance, development of the egg, successful fertilisation and for the enzymes of egg implantation. In pregnant women, zinc deficiency increases the chances of miscarriage, low birth weight, labour and delivery problems.

(Rich sources of zinc include avocados, blackberries, raspberries, asparagus French beans, Brussel sprouts, pulses, wholegrains (eg brown rice, wholegrain bread, oats, rye), green leafy veg, nuts (e.g. peanuts), seeds (especially pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds used to make hummus), basil, thyme.)

Folic acid is vital for the prevention of spina bifida and other neural tube defects in babies and is needed in the first 28 days of pregnancy – so should be taken from preconception. It also supports the placenta. Folic acid deficiency can also lead to miscarriage.

(Rich sources of folic acid include berries, mangoes, pineapples, avocados, green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, asparagus, parsnips, pulses (e.g. peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, black eyed peas, edamame and soya products such as tofu, lentils), brown rice, seeds (e.g. sunflower seeds.)

For Him

Ground flax seed or flax seed oil bursting with omega-3, the good fat that is vital for sperm health and for making male sex hormones.

Pumpkin seeds
A great source of zinc, which is needed to make the outer layer and tail of the sperm and to make testosterone.

Garlic
This is a great source of selenium, an antioxidant which helps maintain strong and healthy sperm. It is also high in the B vitamins needed for sex hormones and helps protect blood vessels and heart – both needed for a good blood supply to you know where!

Mangoes
Rich in folic acid to boost sperm health. Low levels of folate increase the risk of sperm that contain too little or too many chromosomes, which may result in birth defects or increase the risk of miscarriage.

Avocados
Fabulous source of vitamin E, which improves sperm quality; good fats crucial for sex hormones; and vitamin C which protects sperm from free radicals, helps improve sperm quality in smokers and helps stop sperm clumping together.

For Her

Mixed unsalted nuts and seeds rich in good fats, which are crucial for healthy ovulation; protein which is needed for egg production and to make sex hormones. Inadequate protein intake can decrease the frequency of periods and may also contribute to early miscarriage.

Prunes, figs and apricots Brimming with iron, essential for normal ovulation, as well as carrying oxygen to your reproductive parts (and everywhere else!) – and to your baby when pregnant. One third of pregnant women in the UK have mild anaemia.

Oats
Wholegrains such as oats, brown rice and whole wheat contain complex carbohydrates to give you energy for baby-making. They’re also brimming with B vitamins, vital for making sex hormones and healthy eggs.

Broccoli
Superfood packed with folic acid, essential to stop spina bifida in your future baby; beta carotene, which is crucial for the enzymes needed for implantation of your fertilised egg but also helps produce female sex hormones, important for ovulation; and vitamin C, which also improves fertility.

Raspberries
Contain zinc needed for sex hormones, healthy eggs and egg implantation; manganese which helps make energy and metabolise good fats essential for fertility and are full of antioxidants, which promote general as well as reproductive health.

For more information you can contact Juliet Gellately who is a Nutritional Therapist and founder of vegan charity Viva! Health.

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What You Need to Know About Tea and Your Fertility

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Cup of tea for fertility

Tea has a long, storied history. It has been used medicinally, as a part of ceremonies, and as a simple way to slow down and enjoy the day. As the second most consumed beverage in the world, there’s a pretty good chance a cuppa regularly graces your lips.

If you’re trying to conceive, you’ve no doubt heard conflicting information about whether or not you should continue sipping tea. Some say tea should be avoided altogether, others say it can actually play a key role in boosting your fertility. Who’s right?

Once and for all, I hope to answer the often asked question, “does tea help or harm my fertility?” Read on for the information you need to know about tea and your fertility.

What is tea?

Typically when we refer to tea, we’re talking about any beverage made by infusing water with any number of leaves, flowers, stems, seeds, or roots. But technically, only Camellia sinensis and beverages made from its leaves are true teas. All other botanical infusions are just that, infusions or if you’re feeling especially fancy, tisanes.

What does the research say about tea and conception?

Not surprisingly, the research literature is full of conflicting information.

A 2012 prospective study of over 3600 women not taking any fertility drugs or birth control found time to pregnancy was shorter for the women who drank two or more cups of tea a day, while soda increased the time it took for women to become pregnant. There’s a chance there were other lifestyle habits the tea drinkers had that improved their fertility[1].

In 1998 researchers set out to determine how different caffeine-containing drinks affect women’s fertility. They found women who reported drinking at least 1/2 cup of tea a day were more likely to become pregnant than other women in the cohort[2].

One study found coffee and tea (the study results clumped coffee and tea together) only negatively affected fertility rates of women who were also smokers [3].

Conversely, a 2015 study of women undergoing fertility treatment found women who drank tea had a lower of conceiving compared to women who didn’t. However, the information about the study subjects diet was collected prior to the initiation of fertility treatments. There’s no way of knowing whether the study participant started or stopped drinking tea during treatment[4].

Another study, published in 2004, suggested tea can negatively impact how long it takes to get pregnant, but only when cups of tea exceeded 6 cups per day. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to really determine tea’s true effect of tea on fertility since coffee and tea were lumped together, once again, in the analysis[5].

Overall the data suggests tea, in moderate amounts doesn’t lower fertility (and may even positively influence it.) Stick with less than 300 mg of caffeine, about … cups of black tea, … cups of white tea, and … cups of green tea.

  • Fertility and Health Benefits of Tea
  • Antioxidants
  • Stress Reduction
  • Balance Blood Sugar
  • Improve Fertility
  • Which teas and tisanes should I avoid if I’m trying to conceive?
  • Too much tea…

Medicinal herbs if not under the advisement of a healthcare practitioner

How to Sip Tea Safely While Trying to Conceive-Tea takeaways- sipping to boost your wellness and reproductive health.

Tea, the right kind, in the right amounts, can be a valuable ally in your journey to conception.

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