I like to keep things as simple as possible. Which means I'm constantly on the lookout for twofers. Multipurpose items make my heart sing. Nowhere is that more true than with herbs and spices.
We tend to think of medicinal herbs as being a completely different than culinary herbs, but that's not always the case. The foods you eat can double as wellness tonics that support your body's innate ability to stay healthy and get pregnant. Hippocrates said it best when he said, "Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." And who am I to argue with Hippocrates?
The great thing about kitchen herbs is you don't need to study clinical herbalism to take full advantage of their health and fertility benefits. Just open your pantry and fridge, add some flavor to your food, sip some delicious teas, and savor every bite & drop.
First on deck we have garlic, the ubiquitous herb used by nearly every culture. All over the world folks turn to it to add some serious flavor to food. Plus it's one of the most widely used medicinal herbs.
It relaxes your blood vessels and promotes circulation. Good blood flow is vital to keeping your organs in tip top shape. And that includes your ovaries and uterus. For the fellas, adequate blood flow is necessary for erections.
- Add chopped cloves to stir-fries, soups, and pesto.
- Rub a cut clove over bread or even in a bowl just before adding soup or salad to it.
- Infuse olive oil with a few cloves to use anytime a recipe or meal calls for a drizzle of EVOO.
Cayenne has a reputation among herbalist as adding just as much heat to your libido as it does to your food. It's regarded as a aphrodisiac, capable of increasing sexual desire and spicing up your sex life.
Whether or not any of that is true, I can't say. What I can say is cayenne has been studied for weight management and has been shown to positively impact fat burning and metabolism. Since maintaining a healthy weight is important to fertility, adding cayenne to your food can have an effect on fertility in this way.
- Sprinkle (and I do mean sprinkle, this stuff is potent) on avocado toast.
- Add a dash to hot chocolate.
- Stir a bit into peanut butter with a little cinnamon for a new spin on an old favorite- apple and peanut butter. Or try this spiced peanut butter mix on a baked sweet potato. Delectable!
Ginger is without question my favorite herb. It's yummy, easy to add to a number of meals and drinks, and kicks period cramps and nausea's butt.
It's high in antioxidants which can protect your ovaries and eggs from oxidative damage and stress. Many herbalists also say it increases blood flow to your lady parts, delivering important nutrients and clearing away toxins.
- Shred about a thumb size amount and add it to hot cereals.
- Add a 1/2 inch peeled piece to a smoothie.
- Make into a tasty tea. Add lemon and honey or just enjoy as is.
Turmeric, the golden child of Ayurveda, protects your DNA from damage, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and protects your liver.
With your liver playing a very important role in detoxification and hormonal health, keeping it healthy and happy is crucial to wellness and fertility.
- Add 1/8 -1/4 tsp to smoothies.
- Combine with your favorite aromatic spices (make sure to include pepper) and add to sauteed vegetables.
- Stir a bit into rice or quinoa for flavor and color that just won't quit.
Nothing says autumn (it's almost here!!!) like the smell of cinnamon. Despite lending a subtle sweetness to foods and drinks, cinnamon can actually help to normalize blood sugar. Whether you have PCOS or not, balanced blood sugar greatly improves your overall hormonal balance, which can mean improved fertility.
- Sprinkle on hot cereals.
- Add to apple (or pear) and peanut butter.
- Use it to season lentils and bean dishes.
Nettles really don't get enough attention. I say we make nettles the new kale. They're versatile, easy to use, and chock full of health benefits.
Being full of iron and calcium, they're a great addition to your daily diet. Non-heme iron (fancy for iron that comes from plants instead of animals) is one of the micronutrients Chavarro found may decrease the chance of ovulatory infertility.
Many herbalists consider nettles to be an alterative, meaning they may help your body eliminate waste, assimilate nutrients, and build your blood.
- Make a simple tea or infusion to sip throughout the day.
- Add to smoothies, soups, and stews.
- Steam and eat as a delicious side dish.
Ah, raspberry leaf. It's one of the most widely used women's wellness herbs. Like nettles, it's packing loads of nutrients. And it's said to balance hormones and tone the uterus.
Raspberry leaf also kills oral bacteria, possibly reducing the risk of periodontal disease. Because periodontal disease is no good for fertility, preventing it is one way more way to improve your fertility.
Raspberry Leaf Uses:
- Make into a tea (Yogi Tea makes a yummy and easy to find raspberry tea)
Remember healthy eating need not be bland. Add some fun, flavor, and variety with herbs and spices. You'll reap health benefits and support your fertility.