It’s time to say goodbye to the days of limp lettuce leaves and a few tomatoes. Salads can be wonderful as a meal or side dish, and they are a great way of packing fertility friendly nutrients into your diet. With a few ingredients you can build the perfect salad that is filling, tasty and well balanced. You can use any combination of ingredients, try the method below to experiment and find some salads you really love.
The base of the salad is an opportunity to get lots of lovely, nutritious greens onto your plate. Start with a couple of handfuls of spinach, rocket, watercress or other leaves. These are packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, A and K, as well as magnesium and folate. Folate is essential for reducing inflammation in the body, supporting healthy hormone production, reducing oxidative stress, and helping our bodies to manage stress. Don’t just restrict to green leaves, red leaves such as radicchio are also wonderful, as well as using lightly steamed vegetables; tenderstem broccoli, kale and roasted courgettes.
Next add in some extra vegetables, this could be carrots, roasted butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, peppers, avocado, mushrooms, beetroot. The more colour you can get on your plate the better, as you will benefit from all the different plant chemicals knowns as phytochemicals. Think about making your salad look as colourful as a rainbow!
Protein is needed to help your body grow, maintain and repair itself. It is also important, along with fat, to help keep your blood sugar stable. Blood sugar highs and lows can disrupt our energy levels and are not helpful for hormonal balance, egg, and sperm health. Here are some protein options, aim for a palm sized portion:
· Chicken or turkey breast
· Small tin of tuna
· Organic tofu
· Lentils, beans or chickpeas
· Oily fish; salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines
· Boiled eggs
· Feta cheese
· Goat’s cheese
Whilst we want to be cutting down, or ideally eliminating, refined and processed carbohydrates (think white pasta, bread, rice, pastries, cakes etc) including complex carbohydrates in your diet is essential for fertility. Complex carbohydrates not only provide energy but are high in fibre which keep us fuller for longer, and helps food to move through our digestive system and remove waste products such as used hormones. Fibre rich foods are also high in prebiotic fibre which help feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut and support our digestive health. Here are some examples of complex carbohydrates to add to your salads:
· Roasted sweet potato or butternut squash
· Brown, black rice or wild rice
Pimp up that salad
You can also add a few extras to make your salad even tastier and increase the nutrient content further, such as:
· Nuts; walnuts, almonds, macadamia, hazelnuts
· Seeds; chia, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
· Olives and pickles
· Herbs; fresh or dried
· Salt & pepper
Dress it up
A salad wouldn’t be a salad without a delicious dressing. Making your own is quick and easy and means you can avoid hidden sugars often added to shop bought dressings. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats essential for supporting fertility and to help absorb the vitamins and minerals in the salad. A simple olive oil and balsamic dressing is perfect, or add a little wholegrain mustard and lemon juice to olive oil to make a delicious finish to your salad.
Following these principles will give you the perfect super nutrient salad packed with lots of fertility friendly foods.
If you would like some personalised support with your fertility, contact me to find out about my 12 week Boost Your Fertility programme. Book your free discovery call to find out how I can help you.
Disclaimer: Nutritional Therapy is not a replacement for medical advice, practitioners always refer any client with ‘red flag’ signs or symptoms to their medical professional. The information provided here is general and is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any diseases or conditions.