New leaves and flowers are emerging and there is an abundance of energy while nature is busy creating new life. The energy found in nature is also harnessed in the food we eat and becomes even more important when you and your partner are considering getting busy creating a new little life of your own. Eating specific foods can improve fertility, help prevent miscarriage, and provide a nutritional baseline to begin a healthy pregnancy.
Hormone regulation is key for successful ovulation, preventing early miscarriage, and it helps to sustain a pregnancy. Zinc is a power nutrient that helps to maintain hormone balance. Low levels of zinc have been directly linked to miscarriage in early pregnancy. For men, this is a critical mineral that improves the quality of sperm and increases sperm levels. Seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, provide a high amount of zinc as well as iron, which promotes egg health. Iron is found in dark leafy greens as well as legumes, such as chickpeas. Beta carotene found in dark leafy greens and yellow/orange foods, like bell peppers, also works to keep hormones in check.
Another important antioxidant is vitamin E. Vitamin E improves sperm health and motility. It also protects sperm and egg DNA integrity. Vitamin E is found in dark leafy greens like kale, chard, and spinach. Similarly, vitamin C protects sperm from DNA damage, thereby reducing the chance of miscarriage or other defects. Vegetables high in vitamin C are typically red or green, though all vegetables have this vitamin. Vitamin C also helps with the proper absorption of iron from whole grains and legumes.
The B vitamins support egg release and implantation. These have also been shown to decrease chances of miscarriage by helping create an ideal endometrial lining. In males, the B vitamins improve sperm production and quality. Higher amounts of B vitamins are found in red and green vegetables.
This colorful dish of spinach with peppers and chickpeas is full of vibrant vitality. The ingredients are put together synergistically to create a meal that is nutritionally beneficial for both female and male athletes trying to conceive.
Spinach, Peppers, and Chickpeas
Calories 263, Protein 22g, Carbs 37g, Fat 8g
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
- ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or ginger powder)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ½ cup water
- 1 x 15 ounce can diced tomatoes (organic, fire roasted)
- 1 x 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1-2 Thai peppers, minced (optional)
- 2 pounds fresh spinach, chopped
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- Heat a large sauté pan with a little olive oil.
- Add onion, garlic and peppers and sauté a few minutes until onion begins to soften.
- Add all the spices, water, Thai peppers (if using), and tomatoes. Stir well.
- Add chopped spinach and stir fry to coat.
- Let cook until spinach is wilted and liquid has reduced somewhat.
- Toss in pumpkin seeds and stir to combine.
- Serve like a stew, over rice/quinoa, or with an ancient grain or other whole grain naan.
- Also delicious with ¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt stirred in.