Protein and the Impact on Fertility

Small Changes for Better Fertility

By Melissa Gorley, FSI Coach and Staff Writer with excerpts from Marilyn Shannon.

What kinds of food choices contribute to regular cycles, better fertility, as well as postmenopausal health and even men’s health?

The answer is very positive: The same choices that support high energy, a feeling of well-being, mental sharpness, and long-term good health. Such a “diet” should be tasty and rich in nutrients, but also highly flexible and absolutely practical for today’s busy families. In a nutshell (to make a pun!), the keys are whole, natural foods and related lifestyle choices that maintain steady blood sugar levels. When all nutrients are abundantly available and when blood sugar levels are stable, you feel energetic, your
moods are positive, and your hormonal balance is more likely to approach the ideal for healthy cycles and fertility.

Make Protein a Priority

Protein that you eat enables you to make protein that you need. Muscle tissue contains protein, of course. Connective tissue is formed from thread-like proteins called collagen. Skin cells are waterproofed by a special protein. Even your bones are one-third protein. Cells make a huge variety of different proteins for use as enzymes, hormones, antibodies, clotting elements, and many other functions.

Those who practice a strict vegetarian diet know that beans and grains together provide all the essential amino acids. While it is not necessary to eat grains and beans at the same meal, there are many traditional dishes that do combine them, perhaps because they taste so good together! For example, beans on a cornmeal taco provide complete protein. A side of rice and beans forms complete protein, as in Mexican cuisine. So does succotash, which is a Native American dish of corn and lima beans. Even the humble peanut butter sandwich is a complete protein food, since the peanut is actually a bean and wheat is a grain. A small amount of animal protein eaten with a grain food or beans also provides high quality protein dishes. Pasta dishes made with cheese, chili beans with meat sauce, beef and noodles, chicken chop over rice, pork and beans, and cereal with milk are all examples of the practical application of this principle, which has been used around the world since antiquity.

Questions about Quinoa ?

The benefits of a Mediterranean diet and quinoa, a protein rich and nutty tasting grain, all in one delicious salad? Everyone in your family will want a serving.

This recipe was shared with me by a friend and includes quinoa with red onion, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, and kale, all chopped. Add amounts of each that are to your personal liking. The secret is the dressing, which is slightly sweet from the red wine vinegar. Here are the dressing ingredients.

Quinoa Greek Salad

1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
½ C extra-virgin olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
1 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ t Dijon mustard
1 t dried oregano
½ t salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste.

You could even substitute the apple cider vinaigrette for a tangy dressing option.

This is a plant-based yet protein fortified meal with multiple sources of healthy fats in the olives, feta, and olive oil. Omega-3 rich fats are an important staple in the diet of an ovulating woman, especially one hoping to conceive or in a transition time like postpartum or perimenopause. Add this salad to your week’s lunch or dinner plan today!