Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Have you ever been told to eat your greens? There’s a reason for this: green leafy vegetables contain a variety of essential nutrients for health and fertility, including those that nourish and protect the egg and sperm cell. Cabbage, which is low in fat and calories, is a super healthy, versatile vegetable that is truly a nutritious and delicious addition to many recipes. The cabbage family includes green cabbage, red cabbage, brussel sprouts, bok choi, kale, cauliflower, chard, and mustard greens. These greens are high in dietary fibre, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and other nutrients that help support fertility and health.
Cabbage has important nutrients that naturally increase fertility
Cabbage contains Di-Indole Methane, for starters (otherwise known as DIM). This is a chemical which has been linked to potentially reducing oestrogen dominance and this may help women avoid developing fibroids and endometriosis which are oestrogen-dominant conditions.
Cabbage also contains linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids, which are important fatty acids. These acids are necessary for ovulation, especially during the egg release phase.
Cabbage is also high in folate, which can help prevent birth defects in newborns and is a must-have during the first few months of pregnancy.
Cabbage is a great source of vitamin C, which can improve the body’s immune system and prevent oxidative stress to egg and sperm DNA, slowing down cell ageing.
Cabbage also contains the antioxidant vitamin E, which can help increase male fertility by increasing sperm count and quality. In addition, Vitamin E can aid in the overall health of the eggs in the ovaries. This can significantly reduce the likelihood of miscarriage and birth defects. Vitamin E can increase the strength and quantity of cervical mucus, allowing travelling sperm to survive for a longer period of time and thus increasing the chances of conception.
Cabbage (red) is a great source of anthocyanins and beta-carotene which is a reddish, orange pigment found in a variety of vegetables. It is an antioxidant that has been linked to increasing sperm count and motility in men. It protects the woman’s egg from potentially harmful free radicals. Free radicals can cause reproductive cell abnormalities and damage to eggs and sperm, lowering their overall quality. Because free radicals can make conception more difficult, getting a healthy dose of beta-carotene can help reduce the number of free radicals in the body.
How to add more cabbage to your daily diet:
- In place of lettuce, use shredded cabbage in tacos or nachos.
- Sauté cabbage for a quick and tasty side dish.
- Shredded cabbage can be added to salads, wraps, and sandwiches.
- Add chopped cabbage to your favourite soup recipe
- Ferment it – make your own sauerkraut and add to your buddha bowl.
- In place of kale or spinach, blend cabbage into a smoothie.
- Why not make a cabbage dip? Or some spicy kale crisps?