7 Fall Foods that May Boost Fertility
If you’re like a lot of the RMA Long Island IVF patients and staff, you might be second-guessing the amount of Halloween candy you indulged in especially with the holiday season around the corner. Don’t worry, we’ve got a fun way to get you back on the track to optimum fertility health in time for Thanksgiving. So, hop on the bandwagon-- or should we say hayride?
Festivals continue on many farms and Long Island farmers markets are literally everywhere. So, grab your non-BPA plastic bottle of filtered water and get out to a local farm or farmer’s market to get some fresh air and gather up a bushel of the fall season’s fertility-friendly foods. You’ll see some of your Thanksgiving favorites, too.
Pumpkin: While it makes a wonderful pie and has beta carotene and other health benefits, it’s the zinc in the roasted pumpkin seeds that can support ovulation in women and increase sperm quality and semen volume in men. Indulge!
Winter squash: Like its pumpkin cousin, various winter squashes like butternut squash can benefit fertility. For example, with fiber and the antioxidant beta carotene, butternut squash can help balance hormones and benefit both egg and sperm health by protecting against free radical damage.
Apples: Apple-picking is right up there with pumpkin-picking on the list of Long Islanders’ favorite fall activities. Apples are also right there on the favorite fall pie list! And while pie and homemade applesauce are wonderful, the real fertility benefit of apples is in the peel where most of the fiber is stored. Eating apples may help naturally detox the body from any excess estrogen. And since cinnamon supplementation may boost fertility as well – – by potentially improving menstrual regularity and ovulation—be sure to generously add it to your pies and applesauce.
Sunflower seeds and sunflower butter: While you have that apple slice in hand, consider slathering it with some sunflower butter – – especially if allergies prevent you from eating nut butters. Sunflower seed butter can generally be used interchangeably with other nut butters in baking and while it may turn your cookies green, it won’t affect the taste. Or you can grab a handful of sunflower seeds and throw them into salads or smoothies. In men, the vitamin E in sunflower seeds may boost both sperm motility and count, plus they contain other important nutrients like zinc, omega fatty acids, folate and selenium. So, when you’re walking around in that sunflower field, nibble on a handful of sunflower seeds.
Walnuts. Not typically found at the farm, but often a staple on the Thanksgiving table or baked into muffins and breads, walnuts are a good source of fatty acids like omega 3s and omega 6s—provided you’re not allergic, of course. In fact, men in a small study who ate about a half a cup of shelled walnuts a day reportedly demonstrated improvements in the vitality, motility, and morphology of their sperm. So, grab that nutcracker.
Cranberries: Many a debate has been waged over whether the Thanksgiving cranberry sauce is better made with whole cranberries or slid onto the plate-- in jellied form-- from the can. Cranberries are a rich source of vitamin C that may benefit both egg and sperm health and boost the production of healthy cervical mucus in women.
Eggs: What trip to the farm or farmers market would be complete without some farm fresh eggs? Eggs are making a comeback after decades of being considered unhealthy. In addition to containing the cholesterol needed to build sex hormones, eggs contain the antioxidant lutein, Omega-3 fats, and B vitamins to benefit fertility.
Those who are interested in learning more about the differences between buying organic vs. conventional produce, including the so-called “Dirty Dozen” produce items that tend to test higher for pesticide residues than other produce, can get more information here. While organic is not always budget-friendly, consuming the nutrients in conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables is generally considered better than a diet devoid of them. As always, ask your doctor any questions regarding diet and supplementation.
Many of the fall fertility-boosting foods can be incorporated into the Thanksgiving meal as well as enjoyed all winter long in baked goods, soups, snacks, and more. What’s your favorite and how do you prepare them?