By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Make this fertility boosting wild salmon, avocado, mango and watercress salad to start your 2022 off eating fertility fantastic food!
Wild salmon is a great source of protein for fertility and it is also at the low end of the scale for mercury contamination, which is an important factor to consider pre-conceptually and beyond. Salmon is rich in essential fatty acids and omega-3s, which has been shown to be beneficial to fertility in men and women, in the reduction of inflammation. Salmon also contains plenty of vitamin D and selenium. Selenium has been shown to be important for sperm health, and low vitamin D levels seem to be associated with poor fertility in men and women. Salmon is one of the very best food sources of vitamin D. Just three ounces of smoked salmon will give you 97% of the daily recommended value for vitamin D.
Mangoes are great for fertility – in fact anything orange is! This bright colour indicates the presence of carotenoids (such as beta carotene) which is a powerful antioxidant group and linked to both female and male fertility, as in women, carotenoids are involved in maintaining the healthy functioning of the ovaries and in men, improved sperm quality.
And as for avocados – well they are just fantastic all round! They contain monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s) which are a good healthy fat, associated with lower rates of ovulatory infertility. Avocados also help to balance blood sugar levels which is important when it comes to fertility as these are very finely tuned to our hormones. Avocados however, contain only small amounts of carbohydrates so have little impact on blood sugar. They are thought to improve insulin sensitivity due to the monounsaturated fats which they contain. Avocados also contain vitamin A, potassium and folate which are all important for a healthy reproductive system. They are a fantastic source of vitamin E which studies have shown can be beneficial in improving the uterus lining and can also help with embryo implantation.
Let’s not forget the wonderful watercress either!! Watercress is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family and is rich in many nutrients linked to fertility including vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, beta-carotene, iron and iodine — (iodine is often lacking in the Western diets of today). Watercress is also rich in age defying antioxidants that may help to prevent or slow the oxidative stress induced by free radical damage.
Wild salmon, avocado, mango and watercress salad
Makes 2 portions
2 slices of wild salmon fillet
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe mango
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
Juice of 1/2 lime
3-4 large handfuls of watercress
10g fresh coriander finely chopped
Splash of extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and drizzle a little olive oil over the salmon fillets and wrap in baking paper. Place into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes (until ready).
Meanwhile place the washed watercress into a salad dish. Slice the red onion and place into a small bowl with the lime juice and stir well together with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and the fresh coriander. Pour this over the watercress. Next, cut into slices the avocado and mango flesh and place randomly on top of the watercress. Take the salmon out of the oven and flake over the top of the salad (or keep the fillets intact if you prefer). Serve and Enjoy!
Comerford, K.B.; Ayoob, K.T.; Murray, R.D.; Atkinson, S.A. The Role of Avocados in Maternal Diets during the Periconceptional Period, Pregnancy, and Lactation. Nutrients 2016, 8, 313.