Our very own nutritional therapist and care coordinator, Celia Cooper, was today featured in the Mail Online discussing how a healthy, balanced diet with all the right vitamins and minerals is essential when you’re trying to fall pregnant.
Celia has devised a carefully-selected three course dinner that could boost your chances of having a baby. The menu consists of a starter of butternut squash hummus, rich in zinc and folic acid, salmon that contains essential fats that benefit the reproductive system and natural yogurt for dessert to provide calcium, important for a healthy pregnancy.
Celia commented in the article, “For anyone who is thinking about conceiving it is worth taking a close look at your diet. Nutrition is vital and that’s why I’m often called in to help couples put together meal plans with the hope of filling their bodies with the right vitamins and minerals.”
Here is Celia’s suggest three course meal.
Starter – Butternut squash hummus
Butternut squash is a great source of beta-carotene and also contains some B vitamins including folic acid and vitamin C. Folic acid, as most people are aware, can help to prevent spina bifida but along with vitamin B12 it is also required in the production of DNA and RNA.
½ medium butternut squash, halved (approx 250g)
2 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tin organic chickpeas, drained
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 ½ tbsp light tahini paste
100ml light stock
½ lemon, juice only
¼ tsp ground cumin
Pinch cayenne (or to taste)
Preheat oven to Gas 5/190C
1. Rub one teaspoon of olive oil over the flesh of the squash and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Then bake face down for 30-40 minutes until soft. Scoop out the flesh and discard the skin.
2. Place in a small processor and add the remaining ingredients. Pulse until smooth (unless you like chunky dips!). More stock or tahini may be added if you wish.
Serving suggestion: Serve with half an avocado and a couple of finely milled oat crackers
Main Course – Salmon with quinoa salad
For the main course, Celia recommends salmon with quinoa salad sprinkled with lightly toasted pumpkin seeds.
She explains: “Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which is one of the most widely studied nutrients for both men and women in relation to fertility. It is crucial for the proper development of sperm and plays a vital role in cell division.
“Salmon will provide a good source of protein and the Omega 3 fats EPA and DHA.
“Essential fats are crucial for the reproductive system and in healthy hormone functioning. It is from these healthy fats that prostaglandins are produced. Semen is rich in prostaglandins, which is produced from these fats.
“Salmon is also rich in selenium, a mineral which can help maximise sperm production and optimum testosterone production. It also acts as an antioxidant which can help disarm free radicals that can damage cell structure.
“Salmon is also a rich source of vitamin D. A recent study found that women with sufficient levels of vitamin D were almost twice as likely to conceive, compared with the women who exhibited insufficient levels of vitamin D.”
2 salmon fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
150ml light stock
30g pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
2 large sun dried tomatoes, chopped
25g mangetout, very finely shredded
1/2 tbsp chives, finely snipped
1/2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
60g canned sweet corn (no added sugar or salt)
1/4 lemon, juice only
1. Gently heat the oil in a medium sized pan. Toss in the quinoa and let it ‘toast’ for a few minutes, stirring briefly. Add the stock, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.
2. Transfer into a large bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients. Season well.
3. Place the salmon fillets on a large piece of aluminium foil in a glass baking dish.
4. Wrap the foil over the top of the fish and crimp along the sides to seal somewhat tightly.
5. Bake in an oven 180 C / Gas 4 for 15-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.
Serve with some extra green vegetables such as broccoli or a leafy salad.
Dessert – Granola, yoghurt and berry parfait
To finish, Celia recommends enjoying a granola, yoghurt and berry parfait with the ingredients helping to boost a healthy pregnancy.
She explains: “The natural yoghurt will provide calcium and protein, important for a healthy pregnancy. It also contains probiotics, which play a role in supporting good digestive function.”
2 cups plain natural yoghurt
2 cups granola muesli
2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries (hulled and sliced),
2 tablespoons honey
1 tsp ground flax seeds
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1. Line up four parfait, white wine, or other tall glasses.
2. Spoon two tablespoons of yoghurt into each glass and smooth surface
3. Spoon two tablespoons of granola over the top followed by two tablespoons of fruit layered over the granola
4. Repeat the process, adding a bit of honey to taste.
5. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and ground flax seeds
Interested in learning more?
If you are interested in learning more about how nutrition and diet can help boost your chances of having a baby, or would like to arrange an appointment with Celia, please call us on 01925 202180, or contact us here.