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Archive for the ‘fertility foods’ 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.

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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- 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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Garlic and Male Fertility

By Tracey Minella

July 31st, 2012 at 10:31 am

free image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s National Garlic Month. It’s also the last blogging day of the month…which means it’s “Just for Guys” day, too.

So, how can I do garlic and the guys justice in one post? Easy. I’ll tell you how garlic can affect male fertility.

For thousands of years, garlic has long been widely regarded as one of the top natural fertility enhancers for men. It’s also an aphrodisiac. Sound like a win-win, guys? Well, I’m not sure your lady will see your garlic-chomping bedtime routine in the quite the same light.

True it has selenium, which is an antioxidant mineral that’s necessary for properly-shaped sperm and to maintain sperm count. And it has Vitamin B6, which (along with zinc) fortifies the immune system and is responsible for formation of the male sex hormones.

A compound in garlic has even recently been shown to be 100x more effective than traditional antibiotics in fighting the intestinal bacteria that causes food poisoning. http://bit.ly/KFGhzo. Its benefits for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, helping diabetes, clearing blood vessels, and thinning blood are well-known.

However, a report in the journal, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, published on June 24, 2009 cautioned that excessive use of crude garlic may negatively impact spermatogenesis (sperm production) by causing the death of the germ cells which develop into sperm cells. The study was conducted using rats given higher concentrations of crude garlic than humans typically consume. However, it was noted that human spermatogenesis is more sensitive to stress than rat spermatogenesis, and that human spermatogenesis could therefore still be negatively impacted by excessive crude garlic consumption, even at a lower concentration. In fact, the study suggested the possibility of crude garlic consumption inducing azoospermia (lack of sperm) in men with low sperm counts. See the abstract here: http://bit.ly/R1Vw95

So while many naturalists and homeopaths (and your great grandma) may encourage the mass consumption of garlic as a cure for male infertility, there are two important take-aways here. First, do everything in moderation. Something between a garlic knot and eating a garlic bulb like it’s an apple may be in order. Unless, of course, you know you have a low sperm count. This brings me to the second point…

Second, nothing is a substitute for a thorough male fertility evaluation by a medical professional, preferably a urologist who specializes in male infertility. Few things are sadder than seeing patients who wasted valuable time exploring unproven natural alternatives which did not address or correct an underlying problem that required medical intervention. Also, if you are taking a garlic supplement, or any herbal/holistic supplements, be sure to let your R.E. know.

Long Island IVF has renowned urologist and male infertility specialist, Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, on staff for anyone in need of an evaluation.

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Love garlic? What’s your favorite garlic-laden food? A favorite pizza, or a dip on game day? Please share the recipe and give props to its creator!

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