Goji berries. Broccoli. Celery. Sea Veggies. Those are just some of the nourishing foods reputed to enhance fertility. But what you drink has an impact, too. As I type away in my home writing office, I like to sip, sip, sip from a mug throughout the day (and, when I work late, throughout the evening). Because I’m trying to conceive, I wanted to examine what I should be putting into that mug – and what I should be leaving out. Here’s a look at some beverages with advice from fertility nutritionists:
Water with Healing Herbs and Spices
Probably the best drink you can incorporate into your day is fresh water. Water keeps you hydrated and flushes unwanted toxins from your body. To separate out impurities, fertility nutritionist Breea Johnson of Pulling Down the Moon recommends filtered water over tap or bottled. She also suggests drinking room temperature or warm water. “Cold beverages can impair circulation and slow down digestion,” she says. When that happens, blood is taken away from reproductive organs to deal with the digestive system. To add a twist of flavor, I might infuse my warm water with healing herbs and spices. For example, Ayurvedic practitioner Niika Quistgard taught me how to dry roast cumin seed and steep it in a pot of warm water for a few minutes. Cumin is also known to aid digestion, so it creates a healing tonic to boost overall health. (For additional recipes, all courtesy of Quistgard, click on this article titled “Kitchen Medicine”).
Warm Organic Milk
Milk confused me for a long time. I love it, but I’ve read a lot of negative information about it. Will it hurt fertility or boost it? Holistic medicine is all over the map about it. Some practitioners claim dairy is a disaster because it produces mucus and is hard to digest, yet other practitioners claim milk gets a bad rap. When I participated in an Ayurvedic detox regime in India to boost my fertility, the first thing the clinic gave me was a glass of warm milk. Quistgard, the director of the clinic, said, “Milk replenishes deeper tissues, like reproductive tissues, and it’s emotionally nutritive – it comes from a cow, a peaceful, mothering animal.”
My neighbor, Baboo (grandfather), during my stay in India. I drank milk from his cow.
The key, according to both Johnson and Quistgard, is to ensure that any milk you drink comes from grass-fed cows that are happily living the good life. Non-organic milk from grain-fed cows should be avoided. If you’re like me – lactose intolerant – heat your milk before consuming it. Doing so changes it protein structure and makes it easier to digest. I bring a cup of whole milk to a boil and then add a little turmeric, an herbal medicine with anti-inflammatory properties. Sometimes I mix in a dab of raw honey, too. It’s a delicious evening drink that makes me sleepy, so it’s perfect for those nights when anxious thoughts (Will I ever get pregnant? Will our adoption papers be accepted?) are racing through my brain.
Coffee and Alcohol
A few months ago I was interviewing psychologist Alice Domar for an article about fertility foods, and I asked her about coffee and alcohol. I presumed they were two big “no-no’s” when it came to managing my fertility diet. Her response surprised me. She said, “Look – if my parents and your parents didn’t drink when trying to conceive, neither one of us would be here!” Ok, so an occasional glass of wine or Cuppa Joe (organic, naturally) may help me relax or reenergize my mood, but for the most part, they should be avoided. Alcohol and caffeine are both known to raise the risk of miscarriage. My acupuncturist suggested a 20% guideline. She said, “You don’t want your diet to be so strict that it takes the joy out of your days, so allow yourself a cup of coffee or glass of wine 20% of time.” According to my calculations, that’s about one and half days a week.
Further Reading: “Rethink Your Drink“ by Breea Johnson
What do you like to drink? Are you in a dairy dilemma about milk? Do you struggle with resisting sugary sodas or artificially flavored fruit drinks? Are there flavors you enjoy adding to your water, like lemon, mint, or cucumber? Have you ever tried a fertility concoction? What ingredients did you use to create it?
About Jenny Rough
Jenny Rough is a lawyer-turned-writer. Visit her on the web at www.jennyrough.com