As some of you know I was on the CBS Early Show this week talking about foods that enhance fertility. You can watch the piece here if you missed it. It was a blustery day out there on the plaza and the segment was quite brief so I wanted to use this blog to give you more information about diet and fertility. Here is the advice we give our patients who are trying to conceive.
Eat as much unprocessed, seasonal organic food as you canThis means eating food that hasn’t been made in a factory. In Chinese medicine we believe food contains qi so an ear of corn receives energy from the sun, which it uses to grow and passes on to you when you eat it. By the time it’s been broken down and extruded into a cornflake it’s lost some of that energy. Even if you prefer a more grounded explanation than this, processed foods contain less nutrients and more chemicals than foods that are in their natural state. I know that organic food can be expensive and that most of us can’t afford an exclusively organic diet. But eating as much organic food as you can helps you to avoid pesticides and agricultural chemicals some of which can disrupt your hormones.
Fill your plate with colorful fruits, veggies and leafy greens
- Yellow and orange vegetables contain lots of beta carotene, an antioxidant, which has been shown to maintain hormone balance and prevent miscarriage.
- Red vegetables such as tomatoes contain lycopene, a carotenoid, which has been shown to increase sperm counts
- Leafy green vegetables contain folic acid which is important for preventing birth defects and is a vital ingredient for healthy sperm and eggs.
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage contain a phytonutrient called DIM which helps with estrogen metabolism and prevents fibroids and endometriosis. In fact a 2004 study in Italy that found that women who ate the most fruits and veggies had the lowest rates of endometriosis