By Nicole Harlow (Hormonal Sexologist, Integrative Hormonal Health Expert), Founder of The Center for Menstrual + Sexual Health.
Blueberries are a power-packed food to consume both for promoting fertility during pre-conception and throughout the entire pregnancy. This tiny-yet-mighty superfood is full of fertility-friendly nutrients like vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. To boost this super fertility food, choose organic blueberries whenever possible since the pesticides present on conventionally grown blueberries contain xenoestrogens — chemical compounds that mimic sex hormones in your body — that have been shown to impair fertility in both women and men. Try to consume 1/2 cup of blueberries per day taken in a smoothie, mixed in with yogurt, museli or oatmeal or eaten on their own.
Taking a deeper look at blueberries and your fertility:
The high vitamin C content found in blueberries helps regulate the menstrual cycle and improves ovarian functioning. Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) is especially important during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, when progesterone rises. Women who have had early-term miscarriages, or have been diagnosed with luteal phase defect by their doctor often have trouble producing enough progesterone to maintain uterine implantation. By increasing progesterone levels naturally, vitamin C increases the likelihood of successful implantation. A study discussed in Fertility and Sterility found that women with luteal phase defect who supplemented with vitamin C were 25% more likely to become pregnant within 6 months.
Don’t forget to share some blueberries with your sweetie, too! The vitamin C antioxidants found in blueberries can help improve sperm quality, motility and morphology by protecting the sperm and DNA from oxidative stress and free radical damage.
The phytonutrient anthocyanin which is responsible for providing the rich purple-blue of these sweetly tart berries also plays an important role in fertility by reducing chronic inflammation that can play a role in infertility, sub-fertility and hormonal imbalance.
Blueberries are chock-full of good fiber. You may know that fiber can help keep your bowels regular, but there’s an added bonus that affects your fertility that you might not even be aware of. Adding extra fiber to your diet helps the body to remove excess hormones after they have been processed by the liver. If you have a sluggish intestinal system, excess hormones can re-circulate back into the bloodstream instead of being eliminated through the bowels, which can throw off your entire hormonal balance. The fiber in blueberries helps move your bowels along, so they can take those unwanted hormones and toxins with them.
Berry Bump Smoothie Recipe:
1/2 cup (170 gr) of blueberries (organic if possible)
1 small avocado
1 cup (240 ml) of milk (organic cow’s milk or almond milk)
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
Add all ingredients to a blender and pulse for a few seconds
If you prefer a colder, more icy smoothie add a handful of crushed ice
About The Author:
Nicole Harlow (Hormonal Sexologist, Integrative Hormonal Health Expert) is the founder of The Center for Menstrual + Sexual Health. She works with women to unlock and heal their Hormonal Archetype™ at her online Integrative Hormonal Clinic and through her Unlock Your Cycle digital programs.
Find out your Hormonal Archetype™ at Nicole’s website (http://www.thecmsh.org) or connect with Nicole via Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/