Fertility Diet

A googling ‘fertility diet’ seems to give fairly common sense advice :

  • Complex carbs
  • Avoid trans fats
  • Get protein mostly from plant sources (eg beans, seeds, nuts, tofu)
  • Whole milk (and full fat dairy), rather than skimmed / low fat
  • Take folic acid (and possibly iron) supplements
  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Caffeine in moderation

Which may work for some women but if you find that your menstrual cycle isn’t as regular as it should be then it might be worth including specific foods at certain parts of the cycle.

Emma Cannon uses ideas from Chinese medicine to help women to regulate their cycle and improve their fertility. In her book Total Fertility she breaks it down into five stages and recommends food to include at various times to regulate the cycle. The days listed below are an average, to get a more accurate idea try an app such as Natural Cycles.

Menstruation: Days 1-3 or 1-5 – ‘Blood Moving Foods’ Foods that encourage the movement of blood from the body which is important to fully discharge the endometrial lining. If this doesn’t happen this is called ‘stagnation’ and if it is severe could lead to PCOS and endometriosis (which effects fertility). It is also important to fully shed the lining so that a fresh lining is formed after the egg is fertilised.

Avoid: Yogurt, Pickles, Oranges, Grapefruit

Vegetables Flavour Fruit Protein and fats
Aubergines Mustard leaf Peaches Eggs
Onions Onion Raspberries Chestnuts
Radishes Saffron Butter
Spring Onions Turmeric
Chives Chilli
Leeks Vinegar
Cabbage Brown sugar

Just after menstruation: Days 3-6
 – ‘Blood Nourishing Foods’ help to improve iron

Vegetables Flavour Fruit Protein and fats
Beetroot Nettle Apricots Eggs
Spinach Parsley Cherries Mussels
Dandelion Raspberries Beef
Seaweed Dates Bone Marrow
Kale Figs Sardines
Leafy Greens Grapes Kidney Beans

Follicular: Days 6-12 – ‘Blood Building Foods’ In this stage you need to support build up of fluids and blood. Hydrating foods, soups and teas are best but avoid any caffeine, spicy food and alcohol.

Vegetables Flavour Fruit Protein and fats
Spinach Seaweed Apples Eggs
Peas Nettle Avocados Crab
Asparagus Dandelion Pineapple Cheese
Green beans Honey Bananas Duck
Sweet Potato Pomegranate Tofu
Fennel Tomato Sesame
Cabbage Raspberries Kidney Beans
Watermelon Spelt
Mango Malt
Lemon Milk

Ovulation: Days 13-15  – In Chinese medicine these are ‘Qi supporting foods’

Vegetables Flavour Fruit Protein and fats Carbs
Sweet potato Liquorice Cherries Eggs Oats
Fennel Sage Dates Beef Quinoa
Carrots Green Tea Grapes Sardines Rice
Cabbage Figs Tofu
Raspberries Milk

Luteal: Days 16-28 –  ‘Warming Foods’ This is when the fertilized egg could implant in the womb.

Vegetables Flavour Fruit Protein and fats Carbs
Cabbage Sage Raspberries Trout Quinoa
Aniseed Anchovies
Nutmeg Pistachios
Cardamom Prawns
Rosemary Walnut

Total Fertility has all sorts of recipes at each stage such as soups, teas, muffins, salads and porridge. Emma also includes a lot more information on Chinese Medicine and various problems that could affect your cycle such as Damp, Stagnation, Blood deficiency and advice to address them. There is a long list of foods for every stage, I’ve missed off a few that I would struggle to find in my local supermarket and some I wouldn’t eat (Pork, Rabbit, Kohlrabi etc), but I’ve tried to include everything that is easy to obtain.

There is a link to her book under the table and it has a lot more info on wellness, exercise, sex etc (and a free preview)


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