Type “what to eat, while pregnant” into the search bar on Google, and you’re likely to be hit with a wave of lengthy, often contradictory information. Navigating the best practices for fueling your body, while growing a baby is easier said than done. Take varying opinions, bizarre cravings, and your body’s personal biochemistry into consideration, and it’s no wonder you’re left standing open-mouthed in the grocery store aisle scratching your head. And, while what to eat varies from person to person (and pregnancy to pregnancy), sometimes all it takes is a quick and simple guide to put you on the right track. Allow Danielle and Whitney, co-founders of the popular wellness site and food subscription service, Sakara, to serve as just one of many guiding lights in your journey to healthy baby-making with their comprehensive list of superfoods ideal for your hormones and optimum fertility, below.
Eating nutrient-dense, water-rich plants is an excellent way to nourish your body. It’s especially effective if you are a mama or mama-to-be, thanks to the way plants can help balance your hormones. We’ve helped many women through Sakara Life get pregnant, and have beautiful, healthy babies. The number one thing to understand though, is there is no magic bullet, or one food in particular that can help with fertility and hormone balance. You can, however, build a great foundation when you fill your plate with plenty of herbs, superfoods, and plants. The result is soothed adrenals and a healed microbiome—two systems critical for hormone health.
Oftentimes, we find that it’s not that women aren’t eating well, it’s that they’re not eating enough! We see many women who come to us that are malnourished and living on coffee for breakfast, bars or smoothies for lunch, and a piece of salmon for dinner, and their bodies are starving for nutrients! With our program, the first thing we do is flood the body with nutrients, and give it what it needs to come out of stress mode, and significantly reduce toxic load by eating organic. Even if you’re not trying to get pregnant, hormone balance is critical to creating your best body—one that helps you feel at peace, like your sexiest self, and empowers you. Below are 10 superfoods we recommend:
The secret to hormonal balance starts in your microbiome, where trillions of bacteria living inside your gut that help dictate your hormones live on plant fiber. More and more research is coming to the surface that underscores the importance of healthy gut bacteria and its relationship to your mood, energy, sex drive, weight, hormone health, cognitive function, etc. Some of our favorite leafy greens include: organic kale, spinach, chard, and arugula. They’re all a great source of plant fiber, plus offer detoxifying chlorophyll.
Maca root, the Peruvian superfood, is a potent aphrodisiac and contains eight of the essential amino acids, which are building blocks for hormones. It’s also been known to help with circulation and lymphatic health, which are both important for libido.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it helps your adrenals adapt to external stressors, and soothes your internal fight or flight responses. The result? A powerful de-stressor—your baby doesn’t want to come into a hostile environment. In addition to adding a touch of ashwagandha to your diet (we use it in our Dark Chocolate Granola), you can reduce stress by breathing deeply, taking baths, meditating, and spending time with people you love.
To have a baby, you have to have sex. Damiana is an aphrodisiac that can help you get in the mood, lift the psyche, and is classified a “national treasure” in Mexico, where it originates.
Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds
Both of these seeds contain zinc, a mineral crucial for stabilizing progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone during the ovulation and menstrual phases of your cycle. One of our favorite ways to enjoy them is by way of our pumpkin seed butter.
Vitamin C is an important vitamin for both you and your partner, as it helps protect from DNA damage, and can help sperm stay strong from environmental pollution and secondary smoke (hello, NYC!) It’s also incredible for hair, nails, and buoyant skin. Some of our favorite ways to get vitamin C is through grapefruit and mango, and a daily glass of alkalizing lemon water.
We love almonds in a variety of ways—be it nut milk, nut butter, or sliced in a salad—and it loves us back because of its potent source of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a skin-nourishing nutrient that defends against free radicals and cellular aging. Vitamin E also helps our bodies stay youthful and ovulate regularly.
Protein is not just found in animal meat and animal byproducts. Let’s take a look at what protein is: 20 essential amino acids, all found in plants. Think about how the largest creatures in the animal kingdom are herbivores. Clearly, they are staying strong through the power of plant fiber and chlorophyll. Plant protein packs a punch in the form of hemp seeds (which we love to dip our avocados in), chia seeds, legumes, and quinoa.
Asparagus is a versatile green plant and is high in folate, a nutrient often associated with prenatal vitamins. That’s because folate and other B vitamins are essential for neurocognitive health. Folate is critical to help with methylation, or our body’s ability to filter through toxins and inflammation. Steam it with some tahini, and voilà! You have a delicious dinner that is nourishing for your gut, brain, and skin.
In order to create a healthy environment for a baby, your immune system needs to be in top condition. Coconut is an excellent choice because of its antiviral, antibacterial properties. In addition to its immune-boosting power, it also has healthy, anti-inflammatory fats that aid in hormone balance. By focusing on alkaline fats, clean protein, and eating the rainbow, you will be creating an intuitive, powerful, and loved body. Great for making a baby!
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