100 Best Foods For Pregnancy Health II

03 BROCCOLI

One of the true superfoods, broccoli has fantastic
detoxifying qualities that help prepare a woman’s
reproductive system for conception and a healthy
pregnancy.


All of the cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables—broccoli,
Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, and kale—contain sulfur-base chemicals called glucosinolates, which help rid the body of harmful substances, such as pollutants and toxic metals.

These can build up in the reproductive system
of both men and women and may reduce your chances of fertility.
Glucosinolates also promote balance between the female sex hormones
estrogen and progesterone, which support a healthy menstrual cycle and a
woman’s chances of conception. Add in vitamin C, vitamin E, and the
carotenoids lutein and beta-carotene for antioxidant protection against
damage to egg and sperm, and broccoli provides you with the complete
cleansing package. The high levels of folate (folic acid) also help prevent
birth defects and premature birth.


Contains glucosinolates and fiber, which remove harmful, antifertility
substances from the body.

Sulfur compounds also balance hormones for conception.

Contains high levels of protective antioxidants, which prevent damage
to both egg and sperm

Provides folate, needed in preparation for a healthy, full-term
pregnancy.


Practical tips:
To preserve both the taste and nutrients of broccoli, steam or lightly stir-fry,
and be careful not to overcook. Try different varieties and enjoy broccoli
simply, with olive oil and lemon juice.

DID YOU KNOW?
The strong green color of broccoli is proof of the concentrated amounts of
chlorophyll used by the plant to trap energy from the sun. Chlorophyll has
long been used by traditional healers to “nourish the blood,” thereby
promoting fertility.

MAJOR NUTREIENTS PER

100 G/about 1/2 cups BROCCOLI

Broccoli and snow pea stir-fry

SERVES 4 G A V Q
2 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 cups small broccoli florets
2 cups trimmed snow peas
2½ cups Chinese cabbage, cut into ½-inch slices
5–6 scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted

  1. In a preheated wok, heat the oil, then add the garlic and stir-fry for 30
    seconds. Add all the vegetables and stir-fry over high heat for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour in the soy sauce and sesame oil and cook for an additional
    minute. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve hot.

04 CAULIFLOWER

Like its other cruciferous
cousins, cauliflower contains
sulfur compounds that
support detoxification and
help balance female
hormones ready for
conception.

As one of the cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables, along with broccoli, cabbage, kale, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts, cauliflower contains the chemical diindolylmethane (DIM), which may help your body use estrogen more efficiently and support the chances of fertility. Cauliflower is one of the
important foods to include in a fertility diet to help the liver process and
eliminate toxins that may interfere with reproduction. The antioxidant
vitamin C increases the effect of other antioxidants consumed to support
detoxification. Vitamin C also supports the immune system to protect
against infectious bacteria that may affect fertility. Cauliflower contains the
two B vitamins folate (folic acid) and choline, which help protect against
the likelihood of spina bifida or neural tube defect in the embryo.
DIM helps utilize estrogen to the best advantage for pregnancy to
occur.


Sulfur compounds and vitamin C support detoxification and immunity
to optimize fertility. Folate and choline work together to help lessen the risk of neural tube
defect.


Practical tips:
Cauliflower can suffer from overcooking and become mushy; to avoid this,
stir-fry instead of boiling or steaming. Boiling cauliflower for longer than
five minutes has shown a significant reduction in nutrients; these are
retained well when steaming or stir-frying.

DID YOU KNOW?
Cauliflower works very well in curries, and particularly with the antiinflammatory and detoxifying spice turmeric for a great fertility
combination to prepare your body for conception.

Cauliflower soup

SERVES 6 G A V
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, sliced
1 large cauliflower
3½ cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper
finely grated cheddar cheese and extra virgin olive oil, to serve

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan and fry the onion and
    leeks for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, being careful not to let the
    vegetables color.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets and cut the stalk into small pieces. Add
    to the pan and sauté with the other vegetables for 2–3 minutes.
  3. Add the stock and bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over medium heat
    for 20 minutes.
  4. Pour the soup into a food processor or blender, process until smooth,
    and return to the rinsed-out saucepan. Heat the soup through, season to
    taste with salt and pepper, and serve in warm soup bowls topped with a
    spoonful of grated cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

05 Buckwhea

Buckwheat provides a rich
helping of the B vitamins
and magnesium vital for
energy, sex drive, and
fertility. Any food that can
give these a boost is one to
remember!

B vitamins and magnesium are
needed to produce energy in our
cells, making them essential to
the creation of new life. In addition, they help us cope with stress—anxiety
has been shown to be a major barrier to conception. Buckwheat is also a
very good source of slow-release energy, so its inclusion in the diet helps
prevent the blood sugar highs and lows that can rob would-be parents of the
energy needed for procreation.

It is an excellent source of rutin, a circulation-boosting antioxidant that carries blood supply, energy, and nutrients to the reproductive areas. These areas are further protected by the cleansing capacity of buckwheat, along with its zinc and selenium content, which can help prevent damage caused by pollution, harmful chemicals,
and some medications.

Zinc and selenium are very often found to be low in women and men who are infertile.


B vitamins and magnesium help keep up energy levels and combat
stress, which can interfere with fertility.


Contains rutin, which supports circulation and, therefore, blood and
oxygen flow to reproductive areas.


Antioxidants zinc and selenium support fertility levels and prevent
damage by environmental toxins.

Practical tips:

Use buckwheat flour to make pancakes. Buckwheat is often found in wheatfree products, but its lack of gluten means it doesn’t produce the
“fluffiness” considered desirable in many breads.

DID YOU KNOW?
Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed and much easier to digest than a grain. As
such, it is less likely to cause any intolerance or inflammation that may
interfere with your chances of fertility.

05 Buckwheat crepes

MAKES 10 A V Q
3 cups buckwheat flour
pinch of sea salt (optional)
1¾ cups milk
about 1 cup water
about 5 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp olive oil
cherry tomatoes, to garnish
Filling
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 large charbroiled red bell peppers in olive oil, drained and thinly sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
pepper
Method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, then make a well in the
    center. Add half of the milk and gradually stir into the flour to make a
    thick, smooth batter. Gradually beat in the remaining milk. Cover the
    bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 45 minutes.
  2. Uncover the batter and beat in ⅔ cup of water, then slowly beat in
    more water until the batter is the consistency of light cream. Add half
    of the butter and beat until incorporated.
  3. Heat a 9-inch nonstick skillet over medium–high heat until hot. Add
    the oil and swirl the skillet until it coats the surface. Reduce the heat to
    medium. Rub the surface of the skillet with a little of the remaining
    butter. Drop a small ladleful of batter in the center of the skillet and
    immediately lift and tilt the pan so the batter covers the bottom as
    thinly as possible. Cook the crepe until it is golden brown with holes
    starting to appear on the surface, then flip it over, using a spatula.
    Cook until the other side is set, then transfer to a plate and keep warm.
    Repeat until all the batter is used
  4. Arrange the crepes on the work surface, then divide the ricotta, red bell
    peppers, and basil among them. Season with pepper and turn the sides
    of each crepe into the center, then fold in at the ends to make a square
    package.
  5. Reheat the skillet. Rub with the remaining butter, add the crepes,
    folded side down, and cook for 90 seconds, then flip over and cook for
    an additional 30 seconds, or until the crepes are hot and the filling
    warmed through. Serve hot, garnished with the cherry tomatoes.

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