This is the time of year to get out to farmers markets, to grow a garden, and find more abundant local produce! Yay for summer! The abundance of fresh produce is a goldmine for boosting your fertility! How? The fresher the produce, the more nutritional value it has.
One way we love to get in a wide variety of fresh veggies as part of our fertility diet is to create fresh juices. I am sure we are all familiar with the vegetable juice V8®! Perhaps we all have a favorite Bloody Mary mix or gazpacho recipe? Well this recipe is similar to one of those vegetable juices, but it surpasses them in nutrition because it is FRESH, which means it is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Fresh, local produce is at its peak nutritional value, unlike V8. V8 has been pasteurized which kills many beneficial, heat-sensitive antioxidants, is enriched with synthetic nutrients to boost nutritional value and then preserved with chemical additives to enhance taste and make it shelf stable.
Make Your Own Fertility Boosting Vegetable Juice
Before we get to the how-tos of the recipe, let’s get to know the vegetables going into the juice and why they are so good for your fertility…
Tomatoes are high in lycopene and vitamin C. Lycopene is a carotenoid antioxidant that increases in bioavailability when tomatoes are processed (juiced, crushed) by breaking down the cell walls in the tissue matrix of the tomato flesh. It is one of the only foods on Earth that does this. Lycopene is fat soluble, so it is easily assimilated when combined with fats. Think of nuts and a good quality olive oil. Once lycopene is absorbed in the stomach it is carried to the liver (essential for proper hormonal balance), the adrenal glands (also has an important role in hormonal balance and stress response), and the testes which we all know is an important aspect of creating a baby! One study (Fert. Ster., 2013) showed men who consumed a diet rich in lycopene had better quality sperm morphology.
Tomatoes are also high in other antioxidants, which we know work together as free radical scavengers to help protect cellular health. Our entire bodies are made up of cells, so consuming foods rich in antioxidants is vital to sustaining health. In addition, antioxidants are especially critical to egg and sperm quality.
Carrots are high in beta-carotene which is metabolized into vitamin A during digestion. They are also high in fiber and other antioxidants. Only 3% of beta-carotene in raw carrots is absorbed during digestion; pureeing, pulping, juicing and cooking can increase this by 39%! A study published in 2013 by Fertility and Sterility showed that men who ate a diet rich in beta-carotene had better sperm motility. Vitamin A is also essential for the utilization of proteins, minerals and other vitamins, aiding the body in utilizing nutrients from other foods!
This plant is high in calcium! It is important to get an adequate intake of calcium rich foods while trying to conceive in order to build up your stores for pregnancy. You will need to have enough calcium during pregnancy to keep your teeth healthy and to help the formation of your baby’s teeth and bones. Calcium is also alkalizing for the body, a more alkaline body is favorable for producing healthy cervical mucous, necessary for nourishing the sperm on its way to the awaiting ova. A more alkaline vaginal environment is also a way to help prevent yeast infection. For hundreds of years celery has been used as a blood purifying tonic. It sure sounds like a great way to support preconception detoxification!
Onions are a rich source of vitamins A, B & C. Onions also contain folate, calcium, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium and iron. This pungent vegetable is anti-inflammatory and very antiseptic, helping to fight bad bacteria in the gut. In fact it is considered a prebiotic, feeding our good gut bacteria. Its anti-inflammatory properties may be a good choice for people who suffer from painful reproductive health issues such as endometriosis. Regular consumption of onion may also be a good choice for women with PCOS. The chromium in onion helps the body to respond properly to insulin levels, improving glucose tolerance. It is also said that onion is an aphrodisiac, aiding those with sexual debility.
Cucumbers are great for digestion because of their high water content. 1 cup of cucumber is high in vitamin A, folate, niacin, B6, vitamins E and K. They also contain a wide variety of trace minerals. You can only receive these benefits by leaving the skin on! This vegetable is a great way to increase your liquid intake, while cleansing the digestive tract. Proper digestion is essential to overall fertility.
Red peppers are also high in lycopene, just like tomatoes; lycopene is what gives them their red color. This delicious veggie contains high amounts of vitamin C, even more than an orange! One red pepper also contains close to 100% of your daily requirement for vitamin A. In addition, they supply the body with good amounts of vitamin K, B6, E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, potassium, manganese and folate. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system, and absorption of iron. Vit. C has been found to protect the sperm from oxidative damage, while reducing agglutination (clumping together).
Garlic has been found to support heart health. Proper heart health is essential when facing stressful medical procedures such as IVF, HSG, or hormone testing. Trying to conceive for a long time with no results can be extremely stressful, raising our heart rate. The heart is also essential for healthy circulation. This bulb helps to regulate insulin levels, which is supportive for women with PCOS. Garlic is very supportive of the immune system (high in vitamin C), which plays an intricate role in conception and pregnancy. Garlic also contains adequate amounts of B vitamins, shown to be important to the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (think progesterone production) and preventing PMS.
This leafy green herb aids in digestion and is used by some herbalists as an emmenagogue, which means it promotes blood flow to the reproductive organs, aiding in bringing on menstruation, while promoting a regular menstrual cycle. Parsley is mineral and vitamin rich!
Parsley does have a slight caution: Very high consumption of parsley is not recommended during pregnancy.
Now you can see how combining all of these garden fresh foods can boost fertility and health overall; giving you and your future child the best chance possible at a healthy life!
Note: In order to make this fresh juice you will need a juicer.
- 4 Tomatoes
- 2 Carrots, peeled
- 3 stalks of celery
- 1/2 of small onion
- 1 small cucumber
- 1 red pepper
- 1 clove garlic, peeled, trimmed
- 1 small bunch of fresh parsley
- 1-2 Tbsp. natural pickle juice per serving (optional)
1. Purchase organic produce, especially tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber, herbs and celery.
2. Rinse, peel carrots, remove seeds of red pepper; prepare all veggies.
3. Juice tomatoes, celery, cucumber, garlic, parsley, cilantro, & onion first. Next juice red pepper and carrots last. You can roll the parsley into a ball and stuff it in the red pepper, this will help to juice the parsley more slowly.
The taste of this juice is at first cool and light, with the clear after taste of the onion and garlic. I think it would be a great base for gazpacho on a hot day! You can also change the amounts of the ingredients to your liking. So, head out to the farmers market this week and come home with all of these vegetables, juice them, and add a little lime for garnish. Sip this while you sit in the sun and enjoy a blissful day!
– The Juice Nut. Most Nutritious Juices (n.d.). Retrieved online from:
– Shia, John; Le Maguer, Marc. (2000). Lycopene in Tomatoes: Chemical and Physical Properties Affected by Food Processing. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Vol. 40, Is. 1, DOI: 10.1080/10408690091189275
– Zareba, Piotr., et al. (2013). Semen quality in relation to antioxidant intake in a healthy male population. Fertility and Sterility. Vol. 100, Issue 6, pp 1572–1579. Retrieved online from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.08.032
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