From Zita West’s Eat Yourself Pregnant
The UK’s most trusted expert on fertility, Zita West says that she has always been fascinated by the role nutrition takes in every couple’s ability to have a healthy, happy baby. Her new book, Eat Yourself Pregnant, is due out in this month!
Get your body baby-ready – The EYP Fertility Diet
Good, wholesome food forms the bedrock of getting your body baby-ready, and of making healthy eggs and sperm.
Eat natural, whole foods
First things first – the quality of your food is paramount. Nutrient-dense foods both nourish and satisfy you. Keep processed foods to a minimum. Base your diet around fresh vegetables, sea vegetables, nuts and seeds, fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir, beans, pulses and, if you eat animal products, include free-range eggs, wild-caught fish, game and naturally reared animals. Ideally switch to organic.
Eat low-GL carbs
Slow-releasing carbohydrates avoid insulin spikes. Pile your plate full of vegetables; limit fruit to two portions a day; and consume between one and two portions of whole grains daily. Avoid white refined carbohydrates, processed foods and sugars.
Focus on alkalizing foods
A more alkaline diet is easier on your digestive system and will help your body maintain an acid–alkaline balance. Include plenty of alkalizing vegetables such as leafy green vegetables with each meal.
Avoid low-fat foods
Healthy fats and cholesterol are vital for your body, enabling the absorption of key nutrients and the production of hormones. Egg and sperm health depend upon an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish and seeds. Include healthy saturated fats such as coconut oil, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats and organic dairy and eggs, as well as monounsaturated fats such as those in extra virgin olive oil, nuts and avocados. Choose full-fat dairy foods rather than skimmed or semi-skimmed.
Eat your antioxidants
Aim to include a minimum of three portions of vegetables daily and two portions of fruit. Here are some of the key antioxidant foods that should become staples in your diet, and their food sources:
Vitamin C Berries, citrus fruits; leafy green vegetables, red peppers
Vitamin E Nuts and seeds and their oils
Co-enzyme Q10 Beef, chicken, pork; salmon, trout; broccoli; oranges
Selenium Lamb, turkey; cod, halibut, salmon, sardines, tuna; Brazil nuts
N-acetylcysteine Chicken, duck, pork, turkey; dairy, eggs; broccoli, onions, red peppers
Lycopene Guava, grapefruit, Sharon fruit, tomatoes, watermelon
Zinc Beef, chicken, lamb, pork; spinach; oysters; pumpkin seeds, nuts, wheatgerm; cocoa
Include gut-friendly foods
Probiotics or healthy bacteria are essential for gut health and immunity. Eat fermented or cultured foods daily – including natural yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and pickled vegetables.
Plan your plate
How do you fill your plate? Aim to fill half of your plate with low-carb colourful vegetables; one-quarter with good-quality protein-rich foods (fish, seafood, meat, eggs, nuts, beans, lentils); and the remaining quarter with some starchy vegetables, such as potato or sweet potato, or whole grains (for example, rice or quinoa).
Water is essential for digestion, nutrient absorption and transportation, cell health and the removal of toxins via the liver and kidneys. Keeping hydrated will promote energy levels and clear thinking. Aim for eight glasses of water or water-based liquid daily. Herbal teas, green juices and smoothies will contribute to this target; caffeine and carbonated drinks will not.
Chilli-Glazed Salmon with Cucumber Lime Salad
Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for circulation and male and female fertility. In this dish, salmon fillets are marinated in a tangy Asian-style dressing and accompanied by a light and refreshing cucumber salad – perfect for summer days.
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes marinating
Cooking time: 7 minutes
1 pickled chilli, drained
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp coconut sugar or xylitol
2 boneless wild Alaskan salmon fillets, with skin
CUCUMBER LIME SALAD
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp xylitol
1 tbsp mirin
1 handful of bean sprouts
1 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
2 spring onions, sliced finely
1 tbsp chopped cashew nuts
1 small handful of mint leaves, chopped
1 small handful of coriander leaves, chopped
1. Put the chilli, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar and coconut sugar in a food processor and process to combine. Put the salmon fillets in a shallow, non-reactive dish. Pour over the marinade, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. Make the dressing for the salad by mixing together the lime juice, xylitol and mirin in a small bowl until the xylitol has dissolved. Put the bean sprouts, cucumber, spring onions, cashews, mint and coriander in another bowl, pour over the dressing and toss until well combined.
3. Preheat the grill to high and line a baking tray with foil. Remove the salmon from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and place on the prepared baking tray. Grill for about 7 minutes, or until the fish is golden and just cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, put the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and simmer to reduce slightly to form a thicker, sticky glaze. Pour over the cooked salmon and serve with the cucumber lime salad.
Out August 2014