Is Artichoke A Forgotten Fertility Food?

Globe artichoke is native to the Mediterranean and they came to the UK in 16th century.

Globe Artichokes are considered to support liver function & are a great source of many key nutrients.They are a hugely underestimated food and a fantastic source of fibre, Vitamin B9 – Folate & Vitamin C.

Considered an aphrodisiac, women were once banned from eating them but luckily attitudes have changed now, so tuck in and enjoy them!

Key nutrients of Artichoke are:

Fibre:  which normalizes bowel movements by increasing the weight and size of your stool and softening it

Vitamin C: Vitamin C also known as ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid helps to repair and regenerate tissues, help with the absorption of iron, prevent scurvy, and decrease total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides.

Research shows that vitamin C protects against free radicals due to its antioxidant nature. It also helps neutralize the effects of nitrites (a group of commonly used preservatives), which many people come into contact with daily through processed foods.

For fertility health vitamin C is important in the process of absorption, and for its ability to support the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.

Supplement forms of vitamin C are usually inferior compared to natural sources and my advice is to obtain this nutrient from your diet daily through fresh vegetables and fruit.

Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron and affects the way calcium is metabolised and stored in your body.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K is an essential nutrient (made of two forms: Vitamin K1 and K2) necessary for responding to injuries, as it regulates normal blood clotting.

By assisting the transportation of calcium throughout the body, Vitamin K may also be helpful for bone health. It may reduce bone loss and decrease the risk of bone fractures and it may also help to prevent calcification of arteries and other soft tissue.

Vitamin K can be particularly useful if you suffer from heavy and/or painful periods as it can help slow down the blood flow and reduce cramping.

Vitamin B9: Also known as Folate or folacin. Mistakenly many people take Folic Acid, which is a synthetic version of Folate that is not recommended due to possible toxicity.

Folate is essential for human growth and development as it encourages normal nerve and brain function. It’s involved in the creation of DNA as well as building of proteins, and many other important functions including the healthy development of your baby’s spinal cord.

Folate has long been known for its protection against spina bifida, but many people don’t realise that it’s also important for their day-to-day health.

During pregnancy folate also supports the growth of the placenta and helps to prevent several types of birth defects, especially those of the brain and spine. Folate is an important nutrient for general and fertility health.

Magnesium: Magnesium supports a healthy immune system as well as keeping bones strong. It is also great for stress and combined with vitamin B6 can help induce sleep and alleviate symptoms of bloating and weight gain associated with PMS.

The production of Vitamin D also relies on Magnesium, and many people that are deficient in Vitamin D also have a Magnesium deficiency. Before taking a Vitamin D supplement I would recommend increasing Magnesium intake, whilst also increasing sun exposure, and then retest Vitamin D levels after 4 weeks.

Many people experience heightened stress levels and develop magnesium deficiency as it is a difficult nutrient to obtain from your diet. Crab meat has a high source of Magnesium, but many people will need to supplement this mineral.

Magnesium is helpful for cell function, and if you become deficient you can quickly experience increased stress feelings, disturbed sleep, or muscle cramping.

CHINESE FERTILITY MEDICINE USE IT TO:

  • Clear Heat
  • Treat Blood Deficiency
  • Treat Qi Deficiency

HEAT

Heat is a pattern of imbalance in Chinese Fertility Medicine that refers to one or more of the following: a feeling of heat in your body, a measured fever, or some type of inflammation typically related to infection.

It presents with signs of over-activity, mood changes, inflammatory issues, discolouration of body fluids, and symptoms of dryness and heat.

Too much heat typically affects the fluid and blood balance of the body and this can impact egg and sperm quality to varying degrees.

Click here to read more about Heat

BLOOD DEFICIENCY

Blood deficiency is a Chinese Fertility Medicine term used to describe an imbalance in the quality of the blood.

The blood is responsible for circulating nutrients throughout the body to all of your cells, including egg and sperm cells.

When it is deficient the blood can’t properly nourish the body and certain aspects of health get out of balance.

This can impact egg and sperm health as the deficient blood is unable to transport necessary nutrients to the eggs and sperm – causing a depletion in their quality, quantity, and activity.

If the Blood deficiency reaches a deeper level of imbalance you will see physiological changes in the blood, such as reduced iron, haemoglobin, ferritin, B-vitamins and other nutrients. You may also see changes in the volume and quantity of the blood cells and it’s clotting ability or nature.

Click here to read more about Blood Deficiency

QI DEFICIENCY

Qi is the word used in Chinese Fertility Medicine to describe energy, life force, or vitality inside and outside the body.

Qi is the non-physical aspect of your body that makes all of your organs and systems work.

This means that it’s vital for the function of all aspects of your fertility, and pregnancy health too. When your Qi is deficient your body struggles to function efficiently, and this can lead to a variety of fertility issues.

When Qi becomes more severely deficient you will likely present with hormone imbalance, typically with reduced Progesterone, Testosterone and/or FSH levels. In some cases the FSH can rise and present itself as being elevated, due to the ovaries or testes being underactive and sluggish (tired).

Click here to read more about Qi Deficiency

Extra notes: This vegetable is useful leading up to your period and really useful for those who suffer from pre-menstrual headaches, digestive issues such as bloating, fullness, changes in stool (whether diarrhoea or constipation) & pre-menstrual water retention.

It can also be used during the period to calm heavy menstrual flow (due to the Vitamin K) and as a mild blood tonic for people who suffer with Blood Deficiency (according to Chinese medicine diagnosis).

Season: They are in season in Autumn and if you don’t pick them in time to eat, the will transform into a beautiful thistle-like flower.

How it’s typically cooked: Artichoke is wonderful whether steamed, boiled, roasted, stuffed, added to dips and soups, or as preserved artichoke hearts which are widely available.

To roast artichokes, cut off the top third and the stem, making them look like a flower. Tuck a few garlic cloves inside, spray with oil and lemon juice and a shake of salt. Wrap tightly with foil or ideally a natural baking paper & bake at 200c for about an hour. When cool enough to handle, the leaves are wonderful peeled one by one, dipped in a sauce of choice and then pulled through your teeth to remove the soft pulp inside. Once you’ve eaten every petal, find the fleshy heart and cut it up, dip & eat.

Cautions: There are generally no cautions with this food. However, excessive consumption may cause stomach discomfort and cramps if digestion is weak due to the very high fibre content

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