Expert / 27 December, 2020 / Denise Kelly
As a nutritionist I have treated many men and women for all sorts of libido, fertility and hormonal related issues. The first thing to address if you want to see changes in your health is your general nutrition intake.
If you are one of the millions of people that wake up tired and feeling a big groggy, then it’s time to have a spring clean – whatever time of year it is! Plus, if you are serious about conceiving or wanting more energy, or you want to get your hormones back in check, because you feel like your emotions are out of control – then the first thing I would suggest you do is start following an anti-inflammatory diet. This is vital if you have dis-harmony in your body of any description.
You have got to increase your fruits and veggies, such as leafy greens, avocados, blueberries, tomatoes, apples, butternut squash etc. Then add more beans into your diet, because beans and lentils are an excellent source of fibre and folate – both of which are crucial when it comes to maintaining a healthy hormonal balance. Lentils also contain high levels of polyamine spermidine, which may help the sperm to fertilize the egg.
You should also choose better blood balancing grains. For example – eating Quinoa over pasta is a better way to keep your blood sugar balanced and give you the amino acids you require daily. Try eating sweet potatoes, instead of white, because they are a great source of healthy carbs and they are also high in Vitamins C, B and B6. These antioxidants help protect against cell damage – which is vital when it comes to a healthy body.
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Add a daily dose of goodness into your regime with a delicious green smoothie – things like kale, spinach, celery, cucumbers, avocados, berries topped with coconut water. This is a fertility dream drink – improving blood flow, and high in iron, folate, and fibre. You can take steps one-bit further by adding some super powered superfoods to your smoothie. There are so many fantastic powdered superfoods to choose from and they can dramatically enhance your health and wellbeing. Add them to your smoothie, juice, nut milk or protein balls daily – however you like to take them is up to you. And for those of you that can’t resist a bit of chocolate, raw cacao IS actually good for you! It’s very rich in iron, calcium, zinc, manganese and potassium. These minerals act as co-enzymes and micronutrient factors for maintaining hormone balance and DNA integrity of eggs and sperm!
Chia seeds are also fantastically helpful when it comes to fertility and general health because they are full to the brim with all sorts of nutrients critical for fertility health such as Omega 3 essential fatty acids. And they are called ‘Essential’ for a reason – they help balance your hormones, increase blood flow to the uterus, and help regulate your cycle. Then, once pregnant, Omega 3 is crucial in the development of your baby’s heart, brain, eyes, respiratory system and vital organs. Omega 3 fatty acids also promote a healthy prostate and aid erectile dysfunction. They are a complete source of protein, contain potassium, iron, antioxidants and 5 x the calcium of milk!
There are two powdered superfoods in particular, that can be helpful to you for very different reasons – to help hormones, male and female, fertility issues, energy and to generally boost wellbeing. These superfoods are: Ashwagandha and Maca. You can simply add a scoop of each into a green smoothie daily and see the transformations! Of course, it’s important to be eating well alongside these, but in my experience I have seen these really accelerate and improve health.
This root has several beneficial properties for postpartum and breastfeeding mothers and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a rejuvenating adaptogen forever. This means it can help the body resist stress of all kinds by adapting to the body’s needs. For women, Ashwagandha root can be especially fabulous during conception, pregnancy and postpartum.
Why? Being a new mother can be massively overwhelming, and stress can be very prevalent. Ashwagandha’s ability to balance cortisol, which is the stress inducing hormone, helps to reduce anxiety and bring a little calm and tranquillity to the body – which is why its also really helpful if you are having trouble falling asleep after getting up in the night. Or if you are just generally stressed out and feeling anxious this super powder promotes strength, energy and vitality. It has long been used as a restorative tonic as well as maintaining energy levels. It’s also a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory product – essential when trying to create a healthy body.
This root is an adaptogen, which means it can help your body to “adapt” to stress. Maca can also help balance hormones as it supports your endocrine system. One of the key benefits of maca is its ability to boost fertility or treat infertility problems. Maca increases sex drive and can be used as a natural aphrodisiac for men and women. It does this boosting testosterone levels and supporting healthy ovulation. It also stabilizes blood sugar levels and supports your adrenals, giving you more sustained energy throughout the day. Maca is also very rich in many of the vitamins and minerals you need to conceive. This impressive nutritional profile of amino acids, fatty acids, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, iron and phytonutrients is exceptional, and can also help prevent erectile disfunction and increase sperm production. Maca can be ideal if you’ve recently come off the birth control pill or other hormonal birth control.
WARNING – Maca should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women – but if you are experiencing infertility, energy loss and hormone imbalances – maca is a great choice! You should also NOT use if you have thyroid nodules or growths.
Always do your research and ask your health care practitioner for advice.
Article by Denise Kelly, naturopathic nutritional therapist and author of The Art of Healthy Living (published by Capstone, September 2020).
For more information on health and wellbeing – or to arrange a health scan/consultation visit: www.lifeisforthriving.com
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