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Back to Basics – Simple, Tasty Fertility Boosting Foods You Can Find at Your Local Grocery Store

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Simple Fertility Boosting Foods

Whether you’re trying to conceive on your own or with the use of assisted reproductive technology, getting back to the basics of healthy eating may increase your chances of conceiving and help you stay energised through the process.

Exotic super foods are all the rage. Trendy foods from far away lands have captured our interest and taste buds. While I love trying fun new foods as much as the next person, I don’t love how difficult they can be to find and the hefty price tag that often accompanies them.

If you’ve searched the internet for fertility friendly recipes and foods, you may be under the impression you need fancy foods from countries you haven’t visited to boost your fertility. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of the familiar foods in you local grocery store are some of the best foods you can eat to optimise your fertility.

They’re easy to find, affordable, and packed with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to fuel your fertility.

Keep reading for 10 simple foods bursting at the seams with flavor and fertility supporting nutrients.

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon Fertility Benefits

As if being delicious and readily available weren’t enough, cinnamon also boasts antioxidant properties and the ability to lower blood sugar. It can be especially beneficial for women with PCOS. If you’re looking to reduce inflammation and balance your blood sugar, add cinnamon to your meals.

How to Eat More Cinnamon

• Make an herbal tisane by boiling a cinnamon stick in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes
• Make an herbal tisane by boiling a cinnamon stick in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes
• Sprinkle cinnamon on your favorite cereals or yogurt
• Add cinnamon to baked beans or curry dishes

2. Wild Caught Salmon

Salmon Fertility Benefits

Salmon is one of the most nourishing foods you can eat. It’s packed with protein, the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, and omega 3 fatty acids. Bonus, it’s also one of the safest seafood options when you’re trying to conceive or pregnant since it’s low in mercury.

How to Eat More Salmon

• Use canned salmon to make salmon burgers
• Use canned salmon to make salmon burgers
• Opt for a serving of salmon at least once a week (aim to eat at least 2 servings of low-mercury fish per week)
• Top your lunch or dinner salad with a grilled or baked salmon in place of the usual chicken breast

3. Olive Oil

Olive Oil Fertility Benefits

Olive Oil Fertility Benefits

As a major source of monounsaturated fatty acids and a defining feature of the Mediterranean Diet, there are plenty of reasons to make olive oil your oil of choice. One very good reason: research has linked both the Mediterranean Diet and monounsaturated fatty acids to a decreased risk of infertility.

How to Eat More Olive Oil

• Top your toast with olive oil in place of butter
• Make your own salad dressing using a combo of vinegar, olive oil, and your favorite herbs
• Drizzle a bit of olive oil on vegetable side dishes

4. Spearmint Tisane

Spearmint Tisane Fertility Benefits

Spearmint Tisane Fertility Benefits

Spearmint tisane (aka spearmint tea) is tasty, contains no caffeine (for those of you avoiding caffeine right now), and has been shown to reduce androgens. If you have PCOS this is a drink you should rotate into your beverage options.

How to Drink More Spearmint Tisane

• Sip a cup of spearmint tisane in the morning in place of coffee for a caffeine-free pick me up
• Use a cup of brewed spearmint tisane in your morning smoothie in place of plain water
• Enjoy a glass of cold spearmint tea when the weather gets warm

5. Brown Rice

Brown Rice Fertility Benefits

Brown Rice Fertility Benefits

Full of fiber and B vitamins, brown rice is a blood sugar and fertility friendly alternative to processed grains. Since they’re jam-packed with fiber, they’re digested more slowly than white rice, earning them a place among other slow carbs which have been linked to a decreased risk of anovulatory infertility.

How to Eat More Brown Rice

• Choose brown rice when it’s available at your favorite restaurants
• Tired of oats for breakfast? Try brown rice as a hot breakfast cereal. Top it with your favorite sweet or savory toppings and enjoy.
• Add brown rice to your go-to noodle soup recipe in place of noodles

6. Blueberries

Blueberries Fertility Benefits

Blueberries Fertility Benefits

Potent antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients are just a few of the fertility optimizing nutrients these tasty berries boast. As a low sugar fruit, they’re also a great choice for women with PCOS.

How to Eat More Blueberries

• Top full-fat greek yogurt with blueberries for a quick and satisfying breakfast
• Add blueberries to your morning smoothie
• Sprinkle blueberries over a salad for a pop of color and juicy sweetness

7. Chickpeas

Chickpeas Fertility Benefits

Chickpeas Fertility Benefits

Chickpeas are a great source of naturally occurring folate, a very important B vitamin to make sure you’re getting enough of when you’re trying to conceive.

How to Eat More Chickpeas

• Spread hummus on toast or wraps as an alternative to mayonnaise
• Try a chickpea chili recipe
• Snack on roasted chickpeas for a crunchy, savory, and healthy midday snack

8. Garlic

Garlic Fertility Benefits

Garlic Fertility Benefits

One of the best things we can do to support fertility is to support proper detoxification. The good news is you don’t have to go on a juice cleanse or fast to detox. Fortunately, foods like garlic enhance your body’s innate ability to detoxify.

How to Eat More Garlic

• Mince fresh garlic to add to salads, soup, and other savory meals
• Enjoy pesto, packed with garlic and other herbs

9. Full-Fat Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt Fertility Benefits

Full Fat Greek Yogurt Fertility Benefits

When it comes to fertility, full-fat dairy is the way to go. Greek yogurt has the added benefit of probiotics for healthier digestion and extra protein to balance blood sugar levels.

How to Eat More Full Fat Greek Yogurt

• Switch out regular reduced fat yogurt in favor of full-fat greek yogurt
• Blend full-fat greek yogurt into your morning smoothie
• Make a yummy fertility boosting parfait by layering greek yogurt, seeds, nuts, cinnamon, and blueberries

10. Watercress

Watercress Fertility Benefits

Watercress Fertility Benefits

This spicy leafy green is a great source of fiber, folate, and phytonutrients. Those phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that protect our reproductive organs, eggs, and sperm from oxidative damage.

How to Eat More Watercress

• Blend watercress into your pesto
• Use a blend of spinach and watercress for your next salad
• Add watercress to veggie soups

Whether you’re trying to conceive on your own or with the use of assisted reproductive technology, getting back to the basics of healthy eating may increase your chances of conceiving and help you stay energised through the process. Consider adding these 10 foods to your meals and snacks to fuel your fertility simply.

Kendra Tolbert MS, RDN, CDN, CLC is a registered dietitian and certified aromatherapist specializing in women’s health nutrition. You can find more nutrition and wellness fertility information from Kendra at Live Fertile.

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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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