We always hear how important it is to eat healthy once we’re pregnant. But what about before? Certain nutrients, like zinc, can help us produce mature eggs, maintain proper levels of follicular fluid (so that fertilized egg has no problem travelling down our tubes) and increase the strength of our uterine tissue. Sounds great right? But where can you gobble up some zinc?
Try one of many healthy recipes that can help with fertility
Bring on the oysters & red meat. Oysters are one of the best natural sources of zinc (containing almost 500% of the RDA [Recommended Dietary Allowance] per serving) but there are plenty of other top contenders. These include: shellfish, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, lentils, steak, and….you guessed it, lamb. These delicious, comforting lamb koftas with fluffy quinoa, lentils, and dates pack 60% of your RDA for zinc per serving.
- 1 lb. ground organic, grass-fed lamb
- ¼ lb. ground organic lamb heart (can substitute regular ground lamb as well)
- 1 organic egg
- ¼ c. parsley, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed minced
- ¾ t. allspice, freshly ground
- ¾ t. cinnamon, ground
- ¾ t. sea salt
- ¼ c. olive oil
- ½ lb. shallots, saute slice
- 8 oz. white wine (can substitute water)
- ⅓ c. currants
- 1 c. dried figs
- 16 oz. chicken bone broth or chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 c. quinoa, uncooked
- ¼ t. nutmeg
- ¼ c. dates, pitted chopped
- 4-5 c. water
- 1 c. lentils, soaked
- 1 c. organic yogurt, plain
- 10 c. spinach, raw
- 1 c. coconut milk, unsweetened
Mix lamb, egg, parsley, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, and ¼ t. salt together. Roll the meat into 1 ½ T. sized balls
Mix quinoa, ⅛ t. nutmeg, ⅛ t. salt, 2 c. water and dates in a small pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with lid cook 15 minutes. Set aside.
Bring 3-4 c. water to a boil. Add lentils and ¼ t. salt. Cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and mix into quinoa. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in medium skillet and brown the koftas on all sides (they do not need to cook through completely). Remove and set aside, leaving oil in pan.
Caramelize shallots, allowing to brown a little.
Deglaze the pan with 1 c. wine/water scraping off any brown bits. Simmer until reduced by half.
Add currants, figs, broth/stock, bay thyme and simmer about 30 minutes until soft, fragrant, and delicious, reducing the liquid further by at least half.
While this finishes cooking, heat coconut milk in medium saucepan, add spinach, ⅛ t. nutmeg, and ⅛ t. salt, and then simmer until liquid is reduced and spinach is creamy and tender.
Serve koftas on a bed of date lentil quinoa with a side of yogurt coconut creamed spinach.
Barley and Oats develops nutritionally optimized recipes to support fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding female health. The company was founded by Ashly Yashchin, a mother of one (and soon to be two!), who was inspired to start this service after coming across overwhelming research about the effect of food on female health. Barley and Oats is now in the process of partnering with top nutritionists, registered dietitians, hormone experts and chefs to develop a DIY protocol for women to get the nutrition they need, taste they crave, and convenience they deserve.
Ebisch IM, Thomas CM, Peters WH, Braat DD, Steegers-Theunissen RP. “The importance of folate, zinc and antioxidants in the pathogenesis and prevention of subfertility”. Hum Reprod Update. 13(2):163-74. Web. Nov 11, 2006.
“Zinc fact sheet for health professionals”. NIH.gov. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Feb. 2016. Web.