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Archive for the ‘fertility diet’ tag

Fertile Food Series – Shellfish

By Tracey Minella

August 9th, 2013 at 10:36 pm

 

photo courtesy of Danielle Walker/Against All Grain


Welcome back to Long Island IVF’s “Fertile Food Summer Series”*! This is our sixth week of focusing on foods that can potentially boost male or female fertility. If you missed them, be sure to check out our earlier featured foods…including avocados, blueberries, red meat, tomatoes, and chocolate…covered the past few weeks.

This week we’re focusing on Iodine. Many people think of salt when they think of iodine in our diets, but we can get iodine from shellfish (like shrimp), seaweed, kelp, and fruits and vegetables (some of which grow near the sea, like coconuts). Spinach, eggs, and raw dairy products are also good sources of iodine.

So how can iodine help your fertility?

According to Natural Fertility and Wellness, iodine is a trace element responsible for healthy thyroid function. And without sufficient iodine, the thyroid, adrenals and entire endocrine system can be affected, including the body’s ability to create sex hormones.  Higher rates of miscarriage and stillbirth may be linked to iodine deficiency.**

How do you know if you have iodine deficiency?

According to IodineSupplement.org., symptoms of iodine deficiency*** may include:

  • Low Body Temperature/Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Dry Skin/Brittle Nails
  • Fatigue/Weakness
  • Weight Gain
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Dry, yellowed, puffy skin, particularly on the face
  • Goiter, or swelling of the lower neck

 

The most accurate way to test your iodine level is through a blood test. Some sites, including Iodine Supplement.org., suggest you rub a 2” circle of tincture of iodine on your upper inner arm and observe how long it takes to disappear. If it’s gone in under an hour, you may be iodine deficient. If it’s still there after four hours, you may not be deficient. Again, only a lab test will tell for sure. Never take any supplements without your doctor’s approval since unsupervised supplementation and excess iodine levels can be harmful.

This week, I am so happy to share an exciting recipe for Mixed Seafood Paella from one of the hottest new cookbook authors, Danielle Walker. She just kicked off a national book tour for her cookbook “Against All Grain”† and she has graciously agreed to share her paella recipe and stunning food photography here. This paella includes three kinds of high iodine seafood: shrimp, clams, and mussels. You can see beautiful photos beside the simple steps to create this meal right here†: http://bit.ly/1ez4DW9   and you can also print out the recipe easily. If you search her Against All Grain blog for “shrimp”, you will find other tasty, fertility-friendly recipes, including high-iodine ingredients like spinach and coconut. She posts recipes on her Facebook page, toohttp://on.fb.me/13NpiEJ

If you make it, let us know what you thought!

*Disclaimer:Any recipe we offer is only meant for those who aren’t sensitive or allergic to the ingredients. Recipes are shared simply for fun only and nothing contained herein constitutes medical advice or a guarantee that eating any particular food will have any effect on your fertility. And remember NEVER to take any vitamin, mineral, dietary or other supplements unless advised to do so by your physician.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * **

Have a recipe high in iodine? If so, please share it here. And if you try this one, let us know what you thought.

** http://bit.ly/15Wmu7E

***  http://bit.ly/19TBTKg

†Photo credit and recipe credit: Danielle Walker: Against All Grain http://bit.ly/1ez4DW9 or facebook https://www.facebook.com/AgainstAllGrain

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Fertile Food Summer Series – Dark Chocolate…and Oysters

By Tracey Minella

August 2nd, 2013 at 11:44 pm

image courtesy of idea go/freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

Welcome back to Long Island IVF’s “Fertile Food Friday Summer Series”*! This is our fifth week of focusing on foods that can potentially boost male or female fertility. If you missed them, be sure to check out our earlier featured foods…including avocados, blueberries, red meat, and tomatoes…covered the past few Fridays.

This week we’re focusing on Zinc. Many people know Oysters are loaded with zinc…but many people gag at the thought of slurping down raw oysters (including me!) So, we can get our zinc from other foods, including  Dark Chocolate!

So how can zinc help your fertility?

Zinc is a mineral and also a known aphrodisiac. And what infertile couple …faced with libido-wilting intrusions like temperature charts and fertility shots…couldn’t use a little help now and then getting in the mood? Zinc is critical for both female and male fertility.

According to Natural Fertility Info, not only can an insufficient zinc level contribute to early miscarriage, but it can deplete follicular fluid levels and thereby impede the egg’s ability travel to and implant into the uterus. Zinc has a crucial role in the production of mature eggs capable of being fertilized and in the hormonal regulation of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Like a woman’s eggs, a man’s sperm relies on a sufficient supply of zinc in order to produce a strong tail and mature to a stage capable of journeying to and fertilizing an egg. Even if fertilization does occur, low levels of zinc in men can be responsible for chromosomal defects that contribute to early miscarriage. *

If you have known or suspected male factor infertility, have fibroids, have had a miscarriage, or have hormonal regulatory issues, eating a diet rich in zinc-rich foods may help. Or ask your physician about zinc supplementation. Zinc and copper levels are related and your doctor can help you regulate both. Never take any supplements without your doctor’s approval since unsupervised supplementation can be harmful.

photo credit: primallyinspired.com

This week, I am sharing a simple recipe for Homemade Dark Chocolate that is healthy and versatile! You can dip or cover Vitamin C-rich fruits in it, pour it over calcium-rich ice cream, or even layer it in candy molds with some peanut butter (another high-zinc food) for some decadent, fun peanut butter cups. The recipe is from Kelly over at PrimallyInspired. Get the recipe here: http://bit.ly/17Zh6AR

Oy! I almost forgot the Oysters. If you’d like to know how to prepare them on the grill with a quick little mango salsa, check out this great Food Network You Tube video of expert chef Bobby Flay. It’s under a minute long. http://youtu.be/UpWQOT2qMO0

If you make either recipe, come back and tell me how it was!

And if you can’t eat oysters or chocolate, here’s a great “top 10” list of other foods rich in zinc. http://bit.ly/1bV26cT

image courtesy of Tina Phillips/freedigitlaphotos.net

 

*Disclaimer:Any recipe we offer is only meant for those who aren’t sensitive or allergic to the ingredients. Recipes are shared simply for fun only and nothing contained herein constitutes medical advice or a guarantee that eating any particular food will have any effect on your fertility. And remember NEVER to take any vitamin, mineral, dietary or other supplements unless advised to do so by your physician.

 

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Have a recipe high in zinc? If so, please share it here. And if you try these, let us know what you thought.

 * http://bit.ly/13JK57u

 

Chocolate splash photo credit: Idea go/ http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10012400

Oyster photo credit: Tina Phillips/  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10019608

Homemade Chocolate photo credit: Kelly/ http://www.primallyinspired.com/easy-healthy-homemade-dark-chocolate/

 

 

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Fertile Food Friday– Tomato

By Tracey Minella

July 26th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

 

Welcome back to Long Island IVF’s “Fertile Food Fridays”*! This is our fourth week of focusing on foods that can potentially boost male or female fertility. If you missed them, be sure to check out our first three featured foods…avocados, blueberries, and red meat…covered the past few Fridays.

Last Friday it was just too hot to cook! So make sure you check out our Facebook post on 10 awesome and healthy homemade popsicles. http://on.fb.me/1e0GGqA Yes, popsicles. It’s what’s for dinner.

You’re going to love what’s featured today…Tomatoes.

My friend, Patty, is an inspiration. Each year at the end of the summer, she and her extended Italian family spend a weekend in the backyard canning their own fresh tomatoes to use in their weekly Sunday sauce all year long. It’s an assembly line production that runs like a well-oiled machine, involving each family member from the youngest to the oldest…spanning 80 years and four generations. At the end, countless bushels of tomatoes have been transformed into cases upon cases of glass jars of red heaven.

If you grow your own tomatoes, this is the perfect thing to make with them. Or you can go out east on Long Island and pick your own at these farms: http://bit.ly/18DTORQ

So how can tomatoes help your fertility?

Tomatoes are full of antioxidants and vitamin C and are very rich in Lycopene.

High oxidative stress/free radicals in the body can cause cell damage, including sperm damage, and has been recognized as one of the causes of male infertility. Environmental toxins can worsen oxidative stress. Antioxidants can help reduce oxidative stress.*

Lycopene is found in high concentrations in the testes and seminal plasma and is “a component of the human redox defense mechanism” against free radicals. Low lycopene intake may negatively affect semen quality and contribute to male factor infertility. **

A study from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, published in the International Urology and Nephrology, found that lycopene supplementation may help male factor infertility. The results were impressive: 66% had improved sperm concentration, 53% had improved motility, and 46% showed improved morphology.  Further, 23% of the men in this study achieved fatherhood. **

If you have known or suspected male factor infertility, eating a diet high in lycopene-rich foods may help. Or ask your physician about lycopene supplementation. Never take any supplements without your doctor’s approval since unsupervised supplementation can be harmful.

This week, I am sharing a simple recipe to use up those red, ripe tomatoes. It’s full of lycopene, powerful antioxidants, and Vitamin C…all good fertility-friendly components! Add some bread dipped in a garlic-infused olive oil to add a healthy fat and help your body absorb the lycopene, and you are set!

It’s Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce, courtesy of Kelly over at Primally-Inspired. Get the recipe here (There’s a neat, easy printable copy of the simple recipe right at the bottom of the link!): http://bit.ly/13jhsPf

Once you make it, come back and tell me how great it was!

And if you can’t eat tomatoes, here’s a great “top 10” list of other foods rich in lycopene. http://bit.ly/1c9GR4G

*Disclaimer:Any recipe we offer is only meant for those who aren’t sensitive or allergic to the ingredients. Recipes are shared simply for fun only and nothing contained herein constitutes medical advice or a guarantee that eating any particular food will have any effect on your fertility. And remember NEVER to take any vitamin, mineral, dietary or other supplements unless advised to do so by your physician.

 

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Have any recipes high in lycopene that you’d like to share? If so, please share it here. And if you try this one, let us know what you thought.

 

 

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxidative_stress

** http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1024483520560#page-1

Tomato photo credit: adline ghani/ http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=1130&picture=tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

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Fertile Food Friday– Red Meat

By Tracey Minella

July 12th, 2013 at 10:24 pm

 

recipe and photo courtesy of primally-inspired.com


Fertile Food Friday– Red Meat

Welcome back to Long Island IVF’s “Fertile Food Fridays”*! This is our third week of focusing on foods that can potentially boost male or female fertility. If you missed them, be sure to check out our first two featured foods…avocados and blueberries…covered the past two Fridays.

Next up to the plate…Red Meat.

Step outside at dinnertime most summer evenings and you can smell something good on the neighbor’s grill. And chances are it’s some kind of red meat.

Red meat is a great source of iron. Iron deficiency is common in women of bearing age and also can contribute to ovulatory infertility. In fact, a large study found that “women who consumed iron supplements had a significantly lower risk of ovulatory infertility than women who did not use iron supplements” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17077236 . More precisely, they had a 40% less risk of ovulatory infertility than those who did not use supplements. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/14/health/14fert.html

If you are trying to conceive, and suspect you may be iron deficient, ask your doctor to check your iron level. This is done with a simple CBC blood test to see if your red blood cell count is adequate. Red blood cells deliver oxygen to all the cells and tissues of your body, including your ovaries and uterus**. If your red blood cell count is too low, you may be anemic, and may be instructed to take iron supplements or make dietary changes. Never take any supplements without your doctor’s approval since too much iron can be harmful.

Symptoms of anemia** may include:

mild to severe fatigue
• chronic headaches
• dizziness
• brittle or weak nails
• decreased appetite
• low blood pressure

According to the Mayo Clinic, some iron-rich foods include red meat, leafy green vegetables like spinach, beans, eggs, dried fruit, and other items. In addition, eating foods rich in Vitamin C, like peppers, helps your body absorb iron. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/iron-deficiency-anemia/DS00323/DSECTION=prevention.

So this week’s recipe is a winner because it provides iron from steak and spinach, plus Vitamin C from the peppers to help you absorb the iron. Give yourself a break from those boring old burgers and try this amazing Stuffed Flank Steak, courtesy of Kelly over at Primally-Inspired. http://www.primallyinspired.com/stuffed-flank-steak/. <<<Get the recipe here. And while you are over there, check out Kelly’s other great recipes for those with a primal palette. Or here it is below:

STUFFED FLANK STEAK

4 or more servings

Ingredients:

1 ½ – 2 lb flank or skirt steak

2 – 4 T olive or coconut oil

4 – 6 oz mushrooms, sliced thin

1 shallot, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

5 – 6 pieces prosciutto

2 roasted red peppers (from a jar or make your own), cut into thin strips

1 bunch of fresh spinach

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles (omit if you cannot eat dairy)

salt and pepper, to taste

½ tsp smoked paprika

kitchen twine

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350.

Starting with the long side of your flank steak, cut it in half carefully, but don’t cut all the way through to the other end (butterfly it). You want to cut it and open it like a book. Once it’s cut and open like a book, place a piece of plastic or parchment over it and pound it to uniform thickness – about ¼ of an inch thick.

In the largest skillet you have (must fit the rolled up steak), pour 1 – 2 T oil in the pan over medium low heat. Add your shallot, garlic, and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper.

Add the mushroom mixture to the flank steak, leaving 2 to 3 inches of open space on one of the long ends.

Add the red peppers on top of the mushrooms. Then add the prosciutto slices all over the red peppers. Then add your spinach all over the prosciutto. Next sprinkle the blue cheese all over the spinach.

Starting with the long end (not the end that you left 2-3 inches of space), roll up carefully.

Now tie kitchen twine around your roll about every 2 inches. Salt and pepper and sprinkle the smoked paprika all over the outside of the roll.

Pour 1- 2 T oil back in the skillet and turn the heat to medium high.

Sear your roll on all sides until browned – it takes about a minute each side.

Transfer your skillet to the oven and cook for 20 minutes (for medium).

After the 20 minutes is up, take it out and tent your steak with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. For steak done more than medium: cook in the oven for 30 minutes, tent steak and let rest for 10 minutes.

To serve: cut off the twine and slice in ½ – 1 inch slices and enjoy!

 

Once you make it, come back and tell me how great it was!

*Disclaimer:Any recipe we offer is only meant for those who aren’t sensitive or allergic to the ingredients. Recipes are shared simply for fun only and nothing contained herein constitutes medical advice or a guarantee that eating any particular food will have any affect on your fertility.

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Do you know your iron level? Have any recipes high in iron-rich foods that you’d like to share? If so, please share it here. And if you try this one, let us know what you thought.

 

 

** http://natural-fertility-info.com/iron-fertility-anemia.html

Photo credit: Primally-inspired

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Fertile Food Friday- Avocado

By Tracey Minella

June 28th, 2013 at 3:29 pm

 

image courtesy of flikr

Did you know that some foods can potentially boost male and female fertility? Want to learn more? Check out Long Island IVF’s “Fertile Food Friday” posts. We’ll have some fun facts and a recipe or video for each food we focus on… for those who aren’t sensitive or allergic to the ingredients, of course.

The first fertile food will be avocado.

As you can see from the photo, avocados hail from what the Aztecs nicknamed Āhuacatl , short for āhuacacuahuitl, which means “testicle tree”.*

Avocados are thick-skinned, dark green/black, pear-shaped, bumpy fruits (about the size of your palm) with soft, pale yellow flesh and a large pit. They are rich in folate and Vitamin E, and are an excellent monounsaturated (good) fat which may benefit the reproductive health of both men and women and also help lower inflammation and insulin resistance (which could be particularly beneficial to many PCOS patients).

In fact, a recent study out of Harvard’s School of Public Health on the effects of dietary fats on IVF outcomes found that those who consumed the highest intake of monounsaturated (good) fats were 3.4 times more likely to have a baby after IVF than those who consumed the lowest amount. Lead researcher, Professor Jorge Chavarro, was quoted by the Daily Mail** as saying, “”The best kinds of food to eat are avocados, which have a lot of monounsaturated fat…” In addition, the women with the highest levels of monounsaturated fat consumption had higher live birth rates. Further, the women who ate mostly saturated (bad) fats had lower egg quality.

Ready for an avocado recipe recommendation?

image courtesy of Mister GC/freedigitalphotos.net

Perhaps the most popular use for avocados is in Guacamole, a Mexican dip often used for chips and nachos. It is the quintessential party food and a staple at many summer gatherings. But you may need to skip out on its partner…the Margarita… if you’re trying to conceive.

Chef Rick Bayless, author of Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks and other cookbooks, is famous for guacamole, and often demonstrates his technique in short videos. His guacamole begins with avocados, salt, fresh white onion, fresh lime juice, and cilantro, but the remaining ingredients vary. Additions may include fresh or canned hot chiles, tomatoes or tomatillos, and crispy, crumbled bacon. Check out this video demonstration http://youtu.be/vZ7HtsGrpvc or one of his cookbooks (available on amazon) to learn how to make fresh guacamole in about 5 minutes. Add chips and a cold drink and you’re ready to go!

Don’t forget that you can also add avocado chunks to salads. And if you don’t care for the taste but still want the health benefits, I will share one of my biggest culinary secrets…you can add it to meatloaf. Cream it into the meat mixture. I promise no one will know.

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Did you make this guacamole? Have another avocado recipe to share? Please share. Let’s help each other feed ourselves fertile.

 

* Merriam-Webster.com

** http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2168494/Avocado-diet-triples-chance-success-couples-undergoing-IVF.html

Guacamole photo credit: Grant Cohrane http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/search.php?search=guacamole&cat=

Avocado Tree photo credit: Alpha/avlxyz  http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/375423476/

 

 

 

 

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