Turkey is not just for Christmas when it comes to fertility!

By Sue Bedford (MSc Nut Th)

With the festive season approaching, did you know the importance of turkey on fertility?

As a starter, Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein and is low in saturated fat

As well as that, all B vitamins are present in turkey meat and these are important for fertility as well as for mood! It is also an excellent source of selenium, iron, phosphorus and a good source of zinc.

Turkey also contains three important antioxidants!

N-acetylcysteine, Co enzyme Q10 and selenium!

Antioxidants are important when it comes to fertility as they help to neutralise the effects of free radicals which may affect the developing egg and sperm.

Surrounding the ovarian follicles is a follicular fluid which contains nutrients and hormones and these provide the egg with nourishment before leaving the ovary. If there are too many free radicals surrounding the egg this can cause harm, so it is important to consume plenty of antioxidants. Selenium helps to protect eggs and sperm from free radicals, which may also lead to chromosomal damage. Men with low sperm counts may benefit from getting more selenium in their diets.

Turkey is also great for helping to balance out vital hormones too, as it helps to keep post-meal insulin levels balanced out for longer

There is also a great combination of tryptophan (an amino acid) and B vitamins to be found in turkey. This combination has a balancing effect on blood sugar levels which in turn helps to calm the nerves and prevent hypoglycaemia and low moods.

Tryptophan cannot be made by the body but is a natural precursor to serotonin (known as the happy chemical) – an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the body. Serotonin is used to transmit messages between nerve cells, it is thought to be active in constricting smooth muscles, and it contributes to wellbeing and happiness, among other things.

Turkey is also rich in the important nutrient zinc

Zinc is necessary in women for the cells to divide properly and to help keep oestrogen and progesterone levels balanced.  In men, zinc is one of the most necessary nutrients for fertility. Zinc is important for healthy sperm and has been found to improve the morphology, motility and chromosomal quality of sperm.

There will be more Turkey recipes to follow but why not try this one for a start off!

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