100 Best Foods For Pregnancy Health IV

10 SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

The antioxidants in sundried tomatoes are mainly
fat soluble, which means
they protect fatty areas of the
body, including the
reproductive organs, eggs,
and sperm.

Lycopene and other fat-soluble antioxidant carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, are found in large concentrations in healthy testes. Lycopene
has been shown to support male fertility, particularly because it plays a part
in correcting low sperm count and even abnormal sperm.

Tomatoes, or other deep, rich colored vegetables, need to be eaten daily in order to keep these antioxidant levels up and capable of protecting healthy sperm from
damage. The essential minerals sodium and potassium are also provided in
good amounts by this fruit, keeping our bodies alkalized and hydrated, and
ensuring the efficient removal of toxins that may prevent conception.

Lycopene is particularly important for ensuring good levels of healthy,
active sperm.
Contain fat-soluble carotenoids that ensure the male testes are the best
possible breeding ground for sperm.
The right balance of sodium and potassium ensures the removal of
toxins that can affect fertility.

Practical tips:

The table of major nutrients on this page refers only to the dried tomatoes
themselves, but you can receive extra benefits by eating sun-dried tomatoes
that are sold in a good-quality extra virgin olive oil. The oil provides oleic
acid, which moves the essential fatty acids and carotenoids that help to keep
us fertile into our cells.

DID YOU KNOW?
Lycopene levels in processed tomatoes can be up to ten times higher than in
the raw fruit, which makes sun-dried tomatoes an excellent choice for
would-be fathers. These naturally dried versions are also a much healthier
way of receiving the benefits of tomatoes compared to high sugar,
processed tomato-base foods, such as ketchup.

Asparagus and sun-dried tomato risotto

SERVES 4 A
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1½ cups risotto rice
⅔ cup alcohol-free dry white wine
8 oz fresh asparagus spears, cooked
pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese and finely grated lemon rind, to serve

Method

  1. Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and
    simmer over low heat while you cook the risotto.
  2. Heat the oil with 1 tablespoon of the butter in a deep saucepan over
    medium heat until the butter has melted. Stir in the onion and sundried tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the
    onion is soft and starting to turn golden. Do not brown.
  3. Reduce the heat, add the rice, and mix to coat the grains in oil and
    butter. Cook, stirring continuously, for 2–3 minutes, or until the rice is
    translucent. Add the wine and cook, stirring continuously, until
    reduced.
  4. Gradually add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir continuously and
    add more liquid as the rice absorbs each addition. Increase the heat to
    medium so that the liquid simmers. Cook for 20 minutes, or until all
    the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy. Season with pepper to
    taste.
  5. While the risotto is cooking, set aside 4 asparagus spears (to garnish)
    and cut the remaining spears into 1-inch long pieces. Carefully fold the
    sliced asparagus into the risotto for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  6. Remove the risotto from the heat and add the remaining butter. Mix
    well. Spoon the risotto into warm serving dishes and garnish with the
    reserved asparagus. Sprinkle some Parmesan and lemon rind on top,
    then serve.

11 QUINOA

Quinoa provides all of the
essential amino acids needed
to make proteins, which are
crucial for reproduction. It
also has a rich mineral and
B-vitamin content.

Low protein levels can interfere with the frequency of the
menstrual cycle and also the quality of sperm, both of which
can lead to lower chances of conception. This complete protein from the
plant kingdom is more alkalizing than animal sources of protein, so it helps
maintain the slightly alkaline environment needed for a healthy egg and
womb. This environment is also vital in the male reproductive system, in
order for sperm to flourish and then be able to travel and fertilize the egg
inside the woman. Omega-6 fatty acids keep all the cells concerned supple
and intact and, along with the B vitamins, maintain the balance of female
and male sex hormones necessary for conception. The folate (folic acid)
and zinc in quinoa also work together to allow reproduction to occur and
prepare the body for a healthy full-term pregnancy.

Complete protein that supports healthy periods and sperm.
Contains omega-6 fatty acids and the B vitamins to support sex
hormone levels in both women and men.
Folate and zinc combine to enable the new cell production needed for
conception.

Practical tips:
Quinoa can be used like a grain but is actually a seed, which makes it very
easy on the digestion. It soaks up other flavors well and can be used as a
salad base or a sweet hot cereal with fruit. For a protein boost, you can also
try adding it to smoothies.

DID YOU KNOW?
As far back as the Inca civilization, people recognized the value of quinoa
as an aid to conception. The Incas called it the “mother grain” and offered it
to the gods in fertility ceremonies.

Quinoa and walnut salad

SERVES 2 G V Q
½ cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 zucchini, coarsely grated
2 large scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
8 walnut halves, chopped
Dressing
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
pepper

Method

  1. Put the quinoa in a saucepan and pour over the water. Bring to a boil,
    reduce the heat to its lowest setting, cover with a lid, and simmer for
    about 15 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and the grains are
    tender. Set aside, covered, for 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and add the zucchini, scallions, mint,
    and parsley.
  3. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing, then pour over the salad.
    Turn gently until combined.
  4. Sprinkle with the walnuts just before serving at room temperature.

12 RADISH

Radish helps balance
hormones and detoxify the
body. The chemical raphanin
supports thyroid health,
helping would-be parents
maintain energy levels.

All of the cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables provide
sulfur compounds, such as glucosinolates, that balance
estrogen and progesterone in women, enabling healthy ovulation and
fertilization, and later the ability to support the growing fetus in the womb.
Radish comes with the added bonus of supporting the thyroid gland, which
plays a part in regulating these hormones over the course of the menstrual
cycle.

Glucosinolates also help remove xenoestrogens from the body; found
in plastics and tap water, these can mimic and disrupt our body’s natural
hormones. The folate (folic acid) and calcium in radish further prepare the
body to support a healthy fetus and take it to full term in a successful
pregnancy.

Sulfur-containing glucosinolates optimize the balance of hormones
prior to pregnancy, and help remove xenoestrogens, which can
interfere with this balance.
Contains raphanin, which supports thyroid health, providing energy for
procreation and reproduction, and helping to regulate sex hormones.
Guards against folate and calcium deficiencies that can have a
detrimental effect on fertility and jeopardize pregnancy
.

Practical tips:

Add radishes to salads—their sharp, crisp taste will help the digestive juices
flow. They can also be added to juices. Try more exotic varieties, if
available, such as daikon.

DID YOU KNOW?
If you are prone to constipation, limit your chances of developing
hemorrhoids in pregnancy by eating radishes now. Vitamin C, fiber, and
liver support will help prevent toxic buildup in the colon and heal tissues.

Chicken and radish salad

SERVES 2 G A N
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 6 oz each
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp ground coriander
½ cup frozen soybeans (edamame)
1 small Boston lettuce, leaves separated
¾ cup diagonally sliced snow peas
1 large scallion, thinly sliced diagonally
5 radishes, sliced into rounds
pepper
Dressing
handful fresh mint leaves
6 tbsp plain yogurt with live cultures
juice of ½ lime
½ tsp cumin seeds
pepper

Method

  1. Using a meat mallet or the end of a rolling pin, flatten the chicken until
    about ½ inch thick. Pour the oil into a large, shallow bowl and stir in
    the thyme and coriander. Season with pepper, add the chicken, and turn
    until coated.
  2. Heat a ridged grill pan over medium–high heat. Grill the chicken for 6
    minutes, turning once, until cooked through and golden.
  3. Cook the soybeans in a little boiling water for 3–4 minutes, or until
    tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
  4. Using a food processor or blender, mix together the first three
    ingredients for the dressing. Transfer to a bowl, season with pepper,
    and scatter over the cumin seeds.
  5. Divide the lettuce between two large, shallow bowls, then top with the
    snow peas, scallion, radishes, and soybeans. Slice the chicken
    lengthwise and arrange on top of the salad. Spoon the dressing over
    before serving.

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