December is the most fertile month of the year – an estimated 9% of babies are conceived in the holiday season.
If you’re thinking of getting pregnant, these fertility boosting flavours (for him and her) are sure to fit into your festive menus. From beautiful and festive fruits to adorn your table with, to side dishes that go the extra mile – get into the holiday spirit while getting the right vitamins and maximising your chances.
Nuts and Seeds are packed with fertility boosting nutrients and full of ingredients to start new life. Four of the most important are proteins, omega- 3 essential fatty acids, zinc and vitamin E. That means they help regulate hormones, stimulate proper sperm production and keep the body running smoothly – which is critical in the proper development of ova and sperm, the prevention of chromosomal defects and the prevention of miscarriage.
Vitamin E is essential to fertility. It has been shown to be supportive of nerve cells, red blood cells, the liver and the immune system. So go for it during the holidays – have those warm, roasted chestnuts and almonds, sprinkle seeds on festive salads, add them to cookies, make almond milk and serve them raw in their pretty shells.
Brussel Sprouts. According to experts, this green micro cabbage is a baby making superfood. This vitamin rich veggie is a classic holiday side dish and is bursting with folic acid – essential in boosting fertility in both men and women. It is thought to lower cholesterol and has anti-inflammatory properties. It increases sperm levels and helps line the womb with the right nutrients to raise sperm survival chances. It also helps to decrease the risk of miscarriage and birth defects.
A phytonutrient found in sprouts also helps women absorb balanced levels of the hormone oestrogen. In fact, it binds to environmental oestrogens, like pesticides and hormones in meat and dairy products, and helps rid the body of excess hormones to boost fertility.
In may cultures, this ancient fruit is used for treating various conditions as well as to symbolise and promote prosperity and fertility. For the ancient Chinese, it symbolised longevity and abundance. Among its various uses in Ayurvedic medicine, pomegranates are believed to eliminate parasites, lower blood pressure, assist in dental issues and promote fertility. The fruit was revered by Greek goddess Aphrodite. It is thought to be the ‘original forbidden fruit’ in the garden of Eden. Pomegranates have a good level of folic acid and have long been associated with sensuality and aphrodisiac properties.
Milk. Santa isn’t the only one who should be treating himself to a glass on Christmas Eve. Women who have at least one daily portion of full-fat dairy reduce their risk of infertility by more than 25%. The fat in dairy is thought to play a role in ovarian function.
Persimmons are particularly popular during the holiday season in Mediterranean cultures. In Chinese medicine, they are believed to improve the function of the ovaries, regulate hormones, increase blood flow to the uterus, improve semen and reduce the chance of miscarriage. They are also thought to lessen the side effects of drugs used in IVF.
Yellow and Orange Foods. Yes, you read that right. In a study, 200 men followed a diet of various fruit and veg to test the effect on their sperm – and yellow and orange foods came out on top. Foods like pumpkin, sweetcorn, swede are all packed with carotenoids – a chemical which gives them their colour and, according to the research, helps sperm swim towards the egg. Carrots were found to improve performance by as much as 6.5 – 8%.
If these great side options don’t work for you – try sweet potato and melon which were also found to be excellent fertility boosters. And who doesn’t love tangerines at Christmas?