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Natural Fertility and Pregnancy Expert
Implantation is a crucial moment in the reproduction process that requires perfect synchronization between the embryo and the maternal endometrium.
I recently read an interesting research project by Fisher and her colleagues who discovered that when the time is right for implantation, the outer cells of the early embryo, or blastocyst, express a protein known as L-selectin while the uterus becomes enriched with carbohydrates. L-selectin normally binds briefly to carbohydrates, so a continual sticking and unsticking interplay between the protein and carbohydrates can progressively slow the embryo’s progress along the uterine wall. When the embryo comes to rest, the stage is set for it to adhere to the uterine wall where it establishes a nourishing blood supply from the mother through the placenta. So, what exactly does this mean with regards to food?
In a nutshell to support implantation and create a rich uterine lining it is important to REST, TO NURTURE AND NOURISH and EAT PROTEIN rich foods .
But how much protein should you eat?
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UK assisted conception hospitals are presently encouraging clients to drink a litre of cow’s milk daily post embryo transfer to support protein intake. I am fazed by this recommendation because there are so many healthier ways of increasing protein to encourage a healthy uterine environment for the newly fertilized egg. Here are my alternative recommendations:
Let’s think as nature intended. PROTEIN, ESSENTIAL FATS, FERMENTED FOODS, FRESH SEASONAL VEGGIES, FIBRE and plenty of WATER:
Sources: Dairy foods made from cow sheep or goat yoghurt, cheese or milk, eggs, lean poultry/fowl/ or grass fed red meat such as lamb, goat, beef, venison. BONE BROTH daily or Fish and shellfish
Vegetarian protein sources include Nuts and seeds – coconut, chia seed, hemp seed, Brazils, Almonds, walnuts, sesame (including tahini), cashews, nut butters.
Legumes – blackbeans, chickpeas,lentils, edame, pinto, lima, blackeyed peas, split peas, kidney beans
Fruit: avocado, bananas, cherries, berries
Vegetables –broccoli, sprouting seeds, kale, sweet potato, squash, spinach, mushrooms, cabbage, and the sea vegetables such as laderwrack, sea lettuce, samphire, kelp, agar, wakame, dulse, nori. All power packed with protein, nutrients and fibre
Grains: tempeh, quinoa, buckwheat, quorn, wild rice, pats, tofu,
Yes I am talking pickles, sauerkrauts, cultured vegetables such as kombucha, kimchi, tempeh, yohurt and kefir. To ensure a healthy digestive system, support your immune system, your blood sugar and the TWW I strongly recommend a serving of healthy pre/probiotic food daily. The easiest is a Kefir or yoghurt obtainable from most supermarkets these days – look for the brands Bio-tiful, Rhythmn, Chuckling Goat or make your own.
So how much water? Some IVF hospitals are recommending 4 litres of water daily during the 2WW. Really? This seems a little excessive to me. Agreed, we are about 70% water but 2 litres of water daily will be adequate providing you drink good quality water
To provide a healthy environment for conception I recommend you sip 2 litres of good quality water throughout the day (don’t guzzle because it will not hydrate you.) Maintain a healthy diet which is not too acidic i.e. 30% protein, 70% veggie. Eat plenty of fibre to support oestrogen detox, rest and ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
You can always include other fluids such as a serving of bone broth , a Turmeric latte or a mug or two of gentle herbal teas such as ginger, raspberry leaf, rooibos, peppermint, rose, nettle or the occasional fennel tea. I have written an article about water and fertility for more information on the quality of water.
Drink a teaspoon of psyllium husks in water daily PLUS an additional large glass of water
Try Ground flaxseed/Linseed tea – Drink daily, in the morning. This tea is good for the nervous system, and is super colon cleansing so amazing during the TWW. Add hot water to a teaspoon of linseeds or ground flaxseeds and leave for 5 minutes. Strain & serve. Add honey if necessary or some freshly grated ginger root for taste!
Constipation can be a BIG problem for some. Progesterone creams, injections, pessaries and suppositories are all renowned to increase constipation. Providing you keep to the 30/70 recommendation as above and include linseed tea or psyllium your bowels should remain regular. However, for those of you who still suffer with congestion here are some additional natural remedies for relief.
A serving of Stewed apples with 2 dessertspoons of ground flaxseeds daily is a tasty way to keep constipation at bay. You can add stewed apples to a bowl of porridge, oatmeal or yoghurt or eat as a dessert or snack! Just remember to choose a fibre rich breakfast to support immunity, gut and the liver.
2 dessertspoons jumbo porridge oats or oatmeal (or gluten free), 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, Half a tablespoon lecithin granules*. Cover with apple juice or some form of milk and place in fridge overnight. Next morning add a serving of stewed apples and a dollop of coconut yoghurt (brands include Coconut Collaborative and CoYo)
Eat Papaya: This wonderful fruit is a true “super food” in my opinion. The fruit, as well as the other parts of the papaya tree, contain papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins. This enzyme is especially concentrated in the fruit when it is unripe. Papain is extracted to make digestive enzyme dietary. So papaya is high in anti-oxidants, digestive enzymes and best of all tastes gorgeous! Their flesh is a rich sacral chakra orange colour with either yellow or pink hues. Inside the inner cavity of the fruit are black, round seeds encased in a gelatinous-like substance. Whilst their seeds are edible, I think they look rather like frogs eggs! Providing you are not turned off food because of how it looks the seeds can be chewed whole or blended into a creamy salad dressing to give it a peppery flavour. If you suffer from constipation eat a papaya daily.
“breakfast” – Cut a papaya in half and remove the seeds, or eat them if you want. Fill the “gap” with my coconut rice plus some ground flaxseed and nuts. Eat the complete papaya (excluding skin)
The Constipation Mouse.
A colleague of mine swears by this concoction. It works and can be used daily! Simply place 2 heaped dessertspoonfuls of ground flax into 1/2 cup pressed prune juice. Soak for 12 hours overnight (so prepare in the evening) and eat before breakfast from a spoon.
Finally……… you may wish to include warming foods: As progesterone levels rise, so does your temperature . A warm womb is an inviting womb. Think broths, soups curries and stews, or add warming herbs to recipes such as paprika, black pepper, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon and turmeric or chywanaprash
For more recipes and fertility inspiration sign up for #fertilityinspiration, look at my Free Support read 4 essential fertility nutrients; Protein for Fertility; Nourish your fertility; fertility superfoods; Two Week Wait kit
References: Reproductive BioMedicine Online, Volume 10, Issue 2, 2005, Pages 217-223
Understanding proteins could boost IVF chances