Our reproductive system relates to what is known as “Kidney Essence” in Chinese medicine. Kidney Essence is a hereditary energy that determines growth, reproduction, development, sexual maturation, conception, and pregnancy — sort of like a fertility blueprint. Even though it’s hereditary, Kidney Essence can be replenished by food and lifestyle choices.
According to Chinese medicine, the following are considered primary fertility-boosting foods:
1. Flax seeds
Flax seeds contain good-for-you omega 3s, B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese and perform an important role of keeping your hormones balanced. With their high fiber content and phytoestrogens, flax seeds help the liver to detox excess hormones that can otherwise lead to things like PMS and infertility issues. Keep flax seeds refrigerated, and be sure to grind them before eating 1-2 Tbsp per day. They are delicious in smoothies, sprinkled on salads or soups.
2. Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are a potent source of iron and calcium, and contain the highest level of protein compared to all other seeds and nuts. As most women tend to be iron deficient, adding sesame seeds into your diet is a great way to build iron and create a more fertile environment in your body. Many think dairy is the only way to get calcium, but that is far from true. Many dairy-free foods are packed with calcium, and sesame seeds are one of the highest. One ounce of sesame seeds contain almost as much calcium as a cup of milk.
Foods which are themselves gametes or which nourish gametes or offspring in nature, like eggs, seeds, and nuts, are extremely fertility boosting. All nuts are a wonderful source of good fat, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals like calcium, selenium, and iron. Vary your nut intake by making a healthy trail mix to snack on during the day.
4. Goji berries
Today, goji berries are commonly found in most health food stores, but they are also a Chinese herb known as Gou Qi Zi, which is used to nourish Kidney Yang. Goji berries are full of antioxidants and can boost your energy (don’t eat them right before bed), and they look like bright red raisins. Studies show that eating goji berries can increase sperm count and promote follicle growth. Just like raisins, you can snack on them plain or add them to a trail mix or salad.
5. Brown rice
Whole grains contain fertilized germ cells and nutrition to sustain a new plant—like a microcosm of a human being containing the right building blocks to sustain the growth of a baby. This is what it means to eat foods that are high in “fertile potential.” For this reason, it is crucial to avoid refined grains that are stripped of the fertilized germ cell. Brown rice is rich with minerals and a wide variety of B vitamins, as well as being high in fiber. Brown rice also helps to keep your blood sugar balanced. Next time you have a choice between white or brown, choose brown.
Beans and lentils are nutrient dense powerhouses, high in important minerals and vitamins like folate, manganese, thiamin, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and iron, which are essential for boosting fertility. In addition, they are a great source of plant protein and fiber, which can help keep your weight and hormone levels balanced. A lesser known quality of beans is their impressive antioxidant content. Keep in mind, the darker the bean, the higher the level of antioxidants. Black beans have the highest level of antioxidants among beans, while white beans have the lowest. Unlike beans, lentils don’t contain sulphur, so you can eat them confidently with no flatulent side effect.
In Chinese medicine, seaweed and algae are known to nourish Kidney Essence, as well as dissolve masses such as cysts and other benign growths in the reproductive system. One of the most accessible and clean types of seaweed to eat is called Nori, which is the type of seaweed usually served at sushi restaurants. While sushi itself is not fertility boosting, Nori is an excellent source of Vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, and zinc, which are all necessary for creating a healthy fertile environment in your body. Look for Nori sold in sheets at your health food store and snack on them plain or make brown rice balls wrapped in Nori and dip them in a soy ginger sauce.
Artichokes are actually flower buds (not vegetables), which is the reason they contain so much fertile potential. Artichokes possess all of the energy and nutrients to grow into a full bloom. The “meat” and heart of the artichoke are packed with vitamins and minerals like iron, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese, as well as protein, fiber, and digestive soothing enzymes—everything you need to create a fertile internal environment. Cut off the stem and steam or boil an artichoke for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size. Eating fresh artichoke is preferable to eating canned or jarred artichoke hearts so you get the full nutrient value.
Like artichokes, sprouts contain the energy and nutrients of the fully formed plant, making them rich in fertile potential. Chinese medicine values sprouting grains, legumes, and seeds for increasing fertility. In addition, sprouts can help to create a more alkaline environment in the body, and cervical fluid must be alkaline in order for sperm to survive. Other alkaline forming foods include fruits, green vegetables, and wheatgrass. I love Ezekial brand of sprouted breads and tortillas, and you can also look for fresh sprouts in the fresh vegetable section of your health food store to add to sandwiches and salads.
Eggs contain one of the essential building blocks of every cell and sex hormone in our body: cholesterol. When your body begins to create new cells, cholesterol will be needed for every one. Eggs also contain the antioxidant lutein, which is essential for eye health for your future little one, and choline, which plays a huge part in brain development. According to Chinese medicine, eggs nourish Kidney Yin, which can help with achieving optimal hormone balance for conceiving, and hold
off menopause. Eggs are one of the most versatile foods and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Try making an egg frittata or omelet to incorporate other nutritious vegetables and spices.
Interviews, stories, and guides on thetot.com contain information that is general in nature and should not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical condition or concern or plan on trying a new diet, supplement or workout, it’s best to first consult with your physician or a qualified health professional.