5 Fall Foods for Fertility
Five Types of Foods for Fertility and Overall Hormone Health
- Forage foods
Eating foods as they come into season, just as our ancestors did, not only makes sense but is better for your budget as those foods are usually at their cheapest. Many of those foods are also superb at supplying your body with the nutrients it needs to be at its best, especially in regards to preparing for pregnancy. So, let’s get started.
The first place to start with when you are looking to improve your hormone health, your fertility, and to prepare for pregnancy is to add healthy fats to your diets. Yum, Yum! We love fats because our body craves them and needs them to be healthy. There are so many reasons that we need healthy fats that I am only going to list a few:
- Cholesterol is used to make your sex hormones-your body needs lots of cholesterol and it makes much of its own but you can help by eating the right types of fats. If you are giving your body inappropriate building blocks (trans-fats and other non-traditional fats like vegetable oils) then your liver has to detoxify and excrete them, putting more pressure on an already busy organ. From there, as you can guess, your body will have a hard time making appropriate amounts of testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.
- Your body can not absorb fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, D, E, and K unless they are in fat. Fat-soluble means they dissolve in fat. Healthy fats like butter, from healthy cows, have these vitamins in them.
- Trans-fats are associated with fertility problems. It is suspected they contribute to insulin resistance and inflammation.
So which fats should you eat for fertility?
Stick with traditional fats that our ancestors used and those that come to mind in the fall are the fats from animals, especially grass-fed or wild animals.
- Fats such as butter from grass-fed cows
- Ghee-Butter with the milk proteins removed. For folks who are sensitive to dairy proteins.
- Lard-That’s right! But make sure it comes from healthy pigs. If you don’t want to buy a bottle of lard, then buy some non-processed bacon and save the lard after you cook it. Yum!
- Tallow-This is beef fat and you can buy it in the store or online. It also has a similar fatty acid profile as our skin, so I use it on my face.
- Chicken, duck, lamb fat-These are harder to find in the store, but available online.
- And coconut oil (it is not an animal fat, but it needs to be on this list)-it is a great source of medium chain fatty acids which also help with hormone health. A tip-replace most of the oils you use in making baking products with coconut oil.
How much fat should you eat?
A regular sized person ought to eat around 6 tablespoons of fat a day. Maybe 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and 4 tablespoons of butter, or 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of tallow. (~600 calories/day for an average person eating 2,000 calories/day.)
There are lots of great fall vegetables that will help with fertility. Remember, eating whole, real foods is always the best way to go, so you can’t go wrong with vegetables. This time of year there are lots of squashes available.
How do squashes like pumpkin and butternut squash help with fertility?
They are chock full of vitamins and minerals needed by the body for egg health.
Pumpkin and butternut squash have beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor, which encourages natural progesterone production and is abundant in the ovaries and supports sperm health.
Here is a link to a discussion on the study regarding sperm health. Sperm and Carotenoid-rich Foods
And, here is a link to a discussion of Beta-Carotene and female health-especially the ovaries. Female Health and Beta-Carotene
They also have anti-oxidants in them which help protect the body from damage and reduce inflammation overall.
Just remember that squash is a carbohydrate, so don’t eat too much, especially if you have blood sugar issues, including PCOS, and make sure you have plenty of healthy fat to eat with it. This will cause you to feel satiated so you won’t overeat and it will help keep your blood sugar from spiking too fast. So feel free to lather on the butter-but not the sugar.
Proteins and fats go hand-in-hand. They are usually found together and are both required for body to properly absorb and use protein.
How does eating protein help with fertility?
- Proteins are made of amino acids, which are building blocks for just about everything in your body.
- They help your body to balance blood sugar by providing a constant supply of energy. Proteins, along with fats, keep you satisfied longer so you are less likely to crave junk foods and snacks between meals.
Fall is the time of year for wild game meats. If you hunt or know someone who does, try to get some wild game and add it to your diet once in a while. Otherwise, buy some ground wild game meats and mix it with your ground beef once in a while. Think meatloaf, meatballs, and so forth.
Eating foods that our ancestors ate is usually going to be the best choice when it comes to increasing fertility.
This is the perfect time to find nuts & seeds in the store. Just remember, store them in the fridge (to protect their fats and keep them from going rancid) and buy organic if you can. Also, it is best if the nuts are raw, not roasted. I remember when I used to dislike walnuts because they were so bitter. I found that it was because the walnuts I was buying (baking nuts) were rancid. Fresh, properly stored nuts and seeds taste delicious.
Pumpkin seeds are perfect this time of year and can be added to oatmeal, salads, and yogurt. They are high in zinc, iron, and magnesium-all of which are important for fertility and sperm health. Zinc especially is an important mineral for both men and women. It is used to make sex hormones and eggs and is needed for a healthy thyroid. Men cannot make sperm without it. The prostate gland, semen, and sperm are loaded with zinc. Men and women need a constant, steady supply of it. Read more about this important mineral at-Zinc and Fertility
Things to do with raw Pumpkin Seeds
- Put them in trail mix
- Sprinkle them on a salad or a soup
- Make a nut butter with them
- Use them in a energy bite
- Add to your oatmeal or porridge
Walnuts are important for their omega-3s. You have probably heard a lot about omega-3s in the news and how they can help lower inflammation, which helps with endometriosis, PCOS, and uterine fibroids. Omega-3s are also important for fertility as they help with regulating hormones, cervical mucus, and ovulation. They also increase blood supply to the reproductive organs. And, they are important for sperm production. Fertility Benefits of Nuts & Seeds
To keep foods from spoiling, this is the time of year our ancestors started many of their fermented foods. Fermented foods help our digestion, and just think-if you are not digesting your foods well, then you are not getting the nutrients you need for your health and fertility.
They help digestion in a couple of ways:
- Fermented foods are full of bacteria that are beneficial to our guts
- These foods provide enzymes that help us to digest our foods
Sauerkraut-I know, I know, yuck! Right! I always thought so until I had fresh fermented sauerkraut which I bought at my local store. It actually has a nice flavor and is not strong. This is perfect to eat with cooked meat as it will help your body to digest the proteins. There are also all kinds of ways to spice your sauerkraut, such as with garlic, or other vegetables, like beets, to change the taste.
Apple Sauerkraut is a recipe I make with cabbage and apples from my garden. It has a sweet and salty flavor and I add it to my green smoothies.
Other ferments are beet kvaas, kombucha, and unpasteurized yogurt (preferably made from raw milk). Beet kvaas (and beets in general) are great for your liver and help support your body’s ability to detoxify. It can also help prevent morning sickness by gently stimulating bile flow from your gallbladder (part of the detoxification process). Beets are also a good source of folate (34% DV in 1 cup cooked beets).
This is just a broad overview of some foods that you can find in the fall to enhance your fertility. Challenge yourself to starting adding these foods into your diet and become more aware of how you feel after you eat. I bet you start to feel better and find you have more energy to put towards enjoying your healthier body, with a loved a one, if you get my drift.
Preparing for Pregnancy or Struggling to Get Pregnant
If you would like to know more about what you can do to prepare your body for pregnancy, let’s work together to develop a plan designed just for you and your needs. If you are struggling with infertility, let’s talk about what you have tried and work to find a path forward. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute consultation.