Fertility Food Guide
Chinese Physicians have been treating fertility patients with dietary advice and supplementation for centuries. This is quite a new phenomenon in the West but one that is growing fast with some good evidence based research behind it.
The landmark study I am basing my advice on is from the Harvard Nurses Study, 2008. As the most comprehensive research to date this study associates a slow carbohydrate, whole food and mostly plant based diet with a 6 fold increase in fertility.
A book called The Fertility Diet has extrapolated the results from this study and provides a platform in which to follow to allow your body to nutritionally reach optimal fertility https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2276768/.
So lets take a closer look at the various food groups:
These are the primary determinant of blood sugar and insulin spikes. These spikes are known to disrupt ovulation. The Glycemic index of food is how high the blood sugar rises after consumption. We should be aiming to keep at least 60% of our carbohydrate intake from low/medium GI sources.This provides slow release of sugars avoiding the well known sugar crash.
Examples of the GI of Common Foods
Low GI = 55 or less
- Sprouted grain bread/tortillas
- Sweet potatoes
- Oat bran, or buckwheat bread
- Pasta brown
- Lentils/kidney beans
- Quinoa, bulgur, barley
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole milk
Medium GI = 56 – 69
- Potatoes (new or red)
- Split pea or green pea soup
- Brown rice
- Basmati rice
- Shredded Wheat cereal
- Whole grain bread
- Rye bread/Ryvita™ crackers
High GI = 70 or more
- Instant mashed potatoes
- Potato, baking (russet)
- White and instant rice
- Whole wheat flour bread
- Pancakes, waffles
- Most breakfast cereals
- Energy bars
- Most granola bars
- Sports drinks
Aim for foods with a GI index of less than 70. For a complete listing of the glycemic index or more foods, see www.glycemicindex.com.
Transfats – Avoid as much as possible. These are fats made with hydrogenation of oil.These are present in processed foods & fast foods and cause inflammation and clogging of arteries.
Monounsaturated Fats – are heart healthy and include olive oil, nuts, seeds, full fat butter, avocados…
Oils to cook with include: extra virgin olive oil, unrefined sesame oil, cold pressed flax seed oil, coconut oil.
Omega 3 Fats – are essential to our health. These are found in:
- Deep sea oily fish i.e.Mackerel, Sardines, Salmon & Halibut.
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
Saturated Fats – To be eaten in smaller amounts
- Red meats
- Nut & seed butters
Results from the study showed plant protein is more important for fertility compared with animal protein.
Plant proteins include:
- Seeds are rich in fibre, Iron, Vitamin B
- Soy products i.e.Tofu, Tempeh
Animal proteins include:
- Dairy products- recommend moderate amounts of full fat dairy as opposed to the low fat option
- Folic Acid 1mg/day
- CoQ10 100mg/day (if over 35)
- Vitamin D 1000IU/day (at least)
- Wheat grass
- Omega 3 fatty acids 2/3000mg/day
Supplementation through food:
- Iron 40g/day – can source this from organic red meat, Chick peas, lentils, Kale,Quinoa
- Selenium – a trace mineral that is important for a healthy thyroid. Can be found in Brazil nuts, eggs & oatmeal
Breakfast 1: Scrambled eggs, sour dough (or gluten free bread) add in Turmeric & seeds
Breakfast 2: Sugar free muesli, full fat natural yoghurt, Blueberries
Breakfast 3: Green smoothie
- 1 Frozen Banana
- 200ml Cashew Nut milk
- 1 Large handful of spinach
- 2 Tsps Hemp seeds
- 1 Tsp of Almond butter
- 1 Tsp of Matcha powder
- 1 Medjool Date
Breakfast 4: Eggs & avocado (sprinkle with turmeric)
Breakfast 5: Pancakes Follow ‘The Happy Pear’ video https://vimeo.com/253586396
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Lunch 1: Organic salmon, Spinach salad with bell peppers, tomatoes…, Sweet potato wedges(‘Strong Roots’ brand in Super Value/Dunnes)* Farmed salmon has one of the highest contents of mercury so chose organic
Lunch 2: Roast chicken, roast butternut squash & peas
Lunch 3: Halibut, sweetcorn & baby potatoes
Lunch 4: Vegetable stir fry (buy veg pre-prepared) with brown rice/quinoa. Add in turmeric, ginger & garlic)
Lunch 5: Salmon, asparagus, pesto with sweet potato
*place salmon on a bed of asparagus. Coat salmon with pesto, cover with tin foil and place in oven.
Lunch 6: Steak, roast carrot & parsnip, fried mushrooms, garlic & onion
Lunch 7: Chick pea curry or lentil curry/soup
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Tea 1: Sardine salad
Tea 2: Broccoli, tomato & feta salad with olive oil & balsamic
Tea 3: Mixed bean salad (tinned mixed beans), roasted veg & sundried tomatoes.
Tea 4: Omelet – tomatoes, courgette, peppers, cheese
Snacks: Nuts (Walnuts, Brazil), raw bars, dried fruit, olives, rice cakes & nut butter (cashew, almond-not peanut),guacamole, hummus with chopped veg.