Pumpkin, crucifers, radicchio, grapes and pomegranates, legumes and fish contain substances capable of supporting reproductive health, both female and male.
Prohibit drastic diets or the exclusion of entire categories of foods with the idea of ”detoxifying” and getting back in shape: to improve fertility and increase the chances of having a baby, all you need is to follow good eating habits. Some foods, typical of the autumn season, then prove to be precious allies to improve general and reproductive health.
Word of prof. Antonio La Marca, Clinical Coordinator of Clinica Eugin Modena, and Dr. Claudia Banfi, nutritionist at Clinica Eugin.
Infertility is a problem that, according to recent data from the National Register on Medically Assisted Procreation edited by the Istituto Superiore della Sanità, would affect about 15% of Italian couples. But what to bring to the table?
Diet for male and female fertility
Drink at least 2 liters of water a day, consume at least 5 portions of seasonal fruit and vegetables daily, limit as much as possible alcoholic and sugary drinks, and in general simple sugars. A balanced diet is essential for our overall and reproductive health. In particular, some typical foods of the autumn season are excellent allies.
“Pumpkin is a very versatile autumn food, which allows you to prepare sweet and savory recipes, rich in beta-carotene – precursor of vitamin A – with antioxidant action, essential for fertility and, more specifically, for the maturation of egg cells . Furthermore, high levels of beta-carotene in the corpus luteum are correlated with high levels of progesterone, which is why it is advisable to increase the consumption of foods rich in beta-carotene following an embryo transfer in a pathway of MAP. In humans, vitamin A affects sperm production and pumpkin seeds – rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals such as zinc, selenium and magnesium, vitamin E and cucurbitine – are useful for preventing disorders related to prostatic hypertrophy, in addition to disorders affecting the female urogenital tract, such as cystitis ”, explains Dr. Claudia Banfi.
Cabbage and Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and savoy cabbage are friends of fertility. This large family also includes plants such as cress, radish and rocket. “In addition to the extraordinary vitamin content – beta-carotene, vitamin C, K and folate – crucifers are the main vegetable source of calcium, an essential mineral for bone and muscle health, but also for the maturation of egg cells and for sperm motility. Furthermore, the important fiber content makes these foods particularly effective in supporting hepatic detoxification and their consumption is particularly recommended before, during and after hormonal stimulation in an MAP, as well as in conjunction with a drug therapy prolonged over time. , such as the birth control pill. Finally, the consumption of these vegetables is useful in all those conditions associated with an excess of estrogen: polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids ”, continues Dr. Banfi.
“Made up mostly of water and fiber, radicchio is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K and B vitamins, as well as mineral salts, especially potassium. Like all red and purple vegetables, it is characterized by the high content of antioxidants, in particular anthocyanins. Furthermore, like all bitter vegetables, it is particularly useful for supporting hepatic activity, making it suitable for supporting hormonal balance and fertility ”, explains the expert.
Grapes and pomegranate
“These fruits – rich in vitamins and antioxidant polyphenols, such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and flavonoids – are valid allies for reproductive health, as long as you do not overdo the quantity consumed: a dozen grapes or a handful of arils (“seeds” of the pomegranate), added for example to a white yogurt for breakfast or as a snack. Useful to support female fertility, the antioxidants present in these fruits are essential above all for male reproductive health, also favored by the increase in peripheral vasodilation with a consequent increase in blood flow ”, continues Dr. Banfi.
“Legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils or beans, provide minerals such as iron and copper and are a source of vegetable protein. Their fiber content is also not negligible, precious allies of the endocrine balance and fertility. In fact, the fibers behave in all respects as prebiotics and good intestinal health is an essential condition for fertility “.
Finally, it is important to remember that there is also a seasonality of fish. “Autumn is the season for anchovies, albacore, mullet, sea bass and mullet. Fish is an excellent source of protein, which should be consumed at least 3-4 times a week. In addition to providing noble proteins, it is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega-3 series, vitamin D, B vitamins and minerals such as iodine, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. In simple terms: good fats, vitamins and minerals essential to support reproductive health, both female and male. We always recommend the consumption of fish caught – preferably in the Mediterranean Sea – and of small size ”, concludes Dr. Banfi.