Nutrition plays an important role in our overall health, so it’s no surprise that what we eat can affect our sexual and reproductive health, including our fertility. Read on for recipes that support your reproductive health.
Week 1: Foods for Reproductive Health
In general, everyone can benefit from a healthy, balanced and varied diet. But certain nutrients and food groups may offer extra benefits in terms of sexual health. Men can benefit from foods rich in carbohydrates, fibre, folate, lycopene and antioxidants as well as lots of fruits and vegetables. And women, particularly those concerned with infertility, could benefit from a diet with a high monounsaturated-to-trans fats ratio, more vegetable protein than animal protein, an increased intake of iron, and a lower glycemic load.1 The glycemic index can help you choose foods to monitor your glycemic load and manage your blood glucose levels.
Some of the key micronutrients for reproductive health include iron, folate, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B122, antioxidants, zinc, and selenium3.
Try the following tips and recipes that aim to support overall reproductive health.
Tips from Dietitians of Canada:
- General guidelines for female nutrition
- Find out which foods are rich in zinc and rich in selenium
- Discover the power of antioxidants
- Mixed bean and quinoa salad (Pulses)
- Fast fish and veggie packets (Cookspiration)
- Wild rice and pumpkin seed pilaf (Berkeley Wellness)
Week 2: Revving the Engine
For optimal sexual and reproductive function, we need to get enough energy from food and sleep. When it comes to food, maintaining energy is mostly about avoiding drastic fluctuations in blood sugar levels. It is best to fuel our bodies and sustain our energy levels with healthy meals and snacks and to limit caffeine consumption. Caffeine has been reported to have negative effects on female fertility and pregnancy-related complications. Because opinions differ on how much caffeine we should be consuming, it’s best to consult a medical professional for a recommendation. During pregnancy, it’s ideal to consume minimal amounts of caffeine. Learn more with some facts on caffeine.
Let’s look at ways to fuel your body with nutrients that sustain energy:
- Seven eating for energy tips (Workhealthlife*)
- Eating to boost energy (Harvard Health Publishing)
- Four ways to boost your energy with breakfast ideas (Harvard Health Publishing)
- Nuts, dates, raisins and maple syrup balls are a perfect snack for a burst of energy (Cookspiration)
* Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.
Week 3: Celebrating Food and Lightening the Mood
Cooking doesn’t have to feel like another household chore. Try cooking with a partner or friend, and don’t worry too much about creating a perfect meal. Here are some ways you can infuse fun and flavor into your meal-making:
- Five tips for having fun in the kitchen (Huffington Post Life)
- 10 easy ways to make cooking more fun (HelloFresh)
- Recipes to lighten the mood in the kitchen (Thug Kitchen)
Week 4: Cooking and Togetherness
Spending time in the kitchen and cooking with loved ones incorporates fun and togetherness and can be a catalyst to bring us together. Add a little spice in your life with these recipes:
- Impress someone you love with these romantic recipes (Kitchn) and dinner-for-two recipes (EatingWell)
- Get cozy with these vegetarian dinner recipes (Gourmandelle)
- Dessert and chocolate are always a winning pair: try a blueberry and dark chocolate bread pudding (Cookspiration) or avocado chocolate mousse (Cook for your Life)