Lifestyle choices effect your health. Whether you are prepping for pregnancy, birth or an energetic parenthood, diet impacts your body, your mood and your success. Obviously significant fertility issues cannot be cured with a change in lifestyle, medical intervention is often times necessary. However, the right nutrients found in a balanced diet can help maintain optimal hormone levels and keep your reproductive organs healthy.
This week’s key diet ingredient: Iron
Iron influences ovulation. Failure to ovulate is an important cause of infertility. A 2006 study by Harvard University1 reported that your iron levels may influence ovulation. Failure to ovulate is an important cause of infertility. "The study examined data provided by more than 18,000 nurses participating in the Nurses' Health Study, zeroing in on 438 who reported having ovulation problems. Those who ate the most free iron (found in supplements, fortified foods, legumes, and grains) had the greatest protection against infertility," the report states.
Not all irons are equal. The study found that benefits were not found in the women who got most of their iron from animal sources. So you should rely on supplements or boost your iron intake by incorporating vegetarian meals high in iron from plant sources into your diet. Also watch your Vitamin C intake because Vitamin C will help with iron absorption. Broccoli is high in Vitamin C and a good choice as a side dish for an iron-rich entrée. Avoid drinking tea and coffee because those beverages block absorption.
Lentil Ginger-Curry on Rice with Broccoli
Legumes, raisins and almonds are great for boosting iron intake. Broccoli on the side increases iron absorption. Use organic products as much as possible.
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 2 tsp curry powder - there are many varieties so experiment!
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Cayenne to taste
- 2/3 cup lentils, any color combination
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 potato, peeled and cubed to bite size
- 1/3 c raisins
- 1/3 c toasted, slivered almonds
- Enough cooked rice (brown basmati is best) for 3-4 servings
Start by cooking the rice according to package instructions.
Rinse the lentils. Fill a large pot with water, about 3-4 cups. Add lentils and tomato paste, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven. Toss in onion, garlic and ginger until the onion softens, stirring frequently to prevent garlic and ginger from over-browning. Stir in the rest of the spices, curry, cumin and cayenne, until blended, maybe a minute or two more then remove the skillet from the heat.
Return to the lentil pot and add the potato cubes, cover and simmer an additional 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low, toss in raisins and almonds. Let stand for a few minutes until the raisins plump.
Serve over rice and with steamed broccoli. Enjoy and know you are boosting your iron intake and absorption with this simple entrée recipe.