Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
It’s that time of year again and when TTC festive food can be quite something to navigate so we thought we would ask Sue Bedford to help us each week over the festive period to pick five delicious and nutritious festive foods to pop into our shopping trolley to help us make good choices.
Here’s some top picks to pop into your shopping trolley:
Pomegranate – are an excellent source of flavonoids and polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants along with many other important nutrients including vitamin c, e ,folate and zinc important for health and fertility. In relation to fertility, pomengranates a real gem – the anti-inflammatory properties that pomegranates possess may be helpful in easing some of the symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as Endometriosis. They are also thought to support fertility by helping balance hormones and increasing blood flow to the uterus. Pomegranate is rich in zinc as compared to other fruits. Zinc has been shown to increase sperm count and sperm quality – both are important for successful conception. Folate is also key preconceptionally in helping to prevent neural tube defects in the developing foetus once pregnant. In a 2014 study involving 70 men (published in PLOSOne), the antioxidant properties of pomegranate have been linked to improving sperm quality, this link was also reported in research published in the Journal of Urology 2005.
Walnuts – are the only nut to contain omega 3 (apart from butternut)– linked in studies to improving sperm, motility, shape and quality. A great source of vitamin E – important for endometrial health. Also rich in magnesium the ‘happy mineral’ linked to improving sleep and reducing stress and anxiety. Magnesium also helps in producing progesterone and increasing blood supply to the uterus, which are both important for fertility.
Dark chocolate – 70% and above cocoa is a good source of antioxidants, magnesium (for mood!) fibre and iron- providing protective benefits re insulin sensitivity, heart health and blood pressure. When it comes to fertility dark chocolate can help support male fertility as it is a rich source of the amino acid L-arginine which in studies have been linked to improving sperm count and motility. This amino acid can also support female fertility and has been linked to helping increase the flow of blood to the ovaries and uterus. Only 2 squares a day though!
Sprouts – are mini powerhouses packed full of vitamins and minerals which are vital for fertility…. and the more you eat the more you benefit (within reason of course!! -1 portion is equal to roughly 80g – so let’s not go into the side effects!). Sprouts are fab as they contain nutrients such as sulforaphane, which combined with folate, magnesium and fibre, aid the body in the elimination of excess hormones, this helps give fertility a boost as even a slight imbalance of hormones can have a huge impact on fertility. Sprouts also have a low Glycaemic load (GL). Which means that they are great when it comes to balancing blood sugar levels – this is paramount when it comes to fertility and also great if you are trying to lose weight!
Sprouts are full of B vitamins including folate. Folic acid is essential for fertility as it helps line a woman’s womb with nutrients that nourish the womb and increase the chance for sperm survival. It is also important in the prevention of neural tube defects. Folic acid is important for sperm health too.
Turkey – is a very good source of lean protein and is low in saturated fat. All B complex vitamins are present in turkey meat and these are important for fertility as well as for the mind. Turkey is also an excellent source of selenium, iron, phosphorus and a good source of zinc. Turkey is great for helping to balance out vital hormones too, as it helps to keep post-meal insulin levels balanced out for longer. The great combination of Tryptophan (an amino acid) and B vitamins to be found in turkey has a balancing effect on blood sugar levels which in turn helps to calm the nerves and prevent hypoglycemia and low moods. Turkey is also rich in the important nutrient zinc- a very important mineral for health and fertility.
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