Why Pumpkin is Good for Fertility – Not Just Halloween!
Why Pumpkin is Good for Fertility – Not Just Halloween!
Pumpkin supports heart health and contains many vital nutrients.
They come in all shapes, sizes, and colours and are a very versatile vegetable, each type varies greatly with flavour and texture, some a little watery and weak, others rich and creamy.
The smaller darker varieties, whether orange or green have the best flavours for cooking.
The larger ones you see sold to carve for Halloween are often watery and lack texture and are therefore best for making soups.
Starch: to provide you with a fast energy source (should be eaten as the starch portion of your meal)
Fibre: to cleanse the colon and help remove waste. Fibre also contains its own special nutrients, that help support the structural aspects of the body such as the bones.
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 also 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 also affects the way calcium is metabolised and stored in your body.
Potassium: Potassium is an electrolyte which counteracts the effects of sodium, helping to maintain consistent blood pressure levels – another important element for pregnancy. Many processes in the body rely on a small electric current to function, and electrolytes provide this current.
Potassium is required to keep the brain, heart, kidneys, muscle tissue, and other important organs in good condition. Its health benefits are; boosting the immune system, Improving bone health, improving muscle strength, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure regulation, and maintaining optimal nerve and brain function.
There are also many benefits of pumpkin seeds, which are a good source of anti-oxidants.
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.
Zinc: Zinc benefits include maintaining brain function, strengthening bones, boosting your immune system, increasing energy levels, and enhancing reproductive health.
Zinc is essential for the repair and function of DNA, which affects sperm and egg quality.
It’s also essential for the rapid growth of cells and the building of major parts of cells during a pregnancy. The development and enzyme activity that takes place during pregnancy is supported by zinc, which means that this is one of the most important nutrients for babies and mothers.
Fatty acids: All of which also help keep your heart healthy by reducing blood pressure and increasing good cholesterol. These nutrients are important for your fertility as well and also act as a mild sedative and help to calm your mind – great for anxiety.
Their primary function is to create and repair tissue. They are also involved in energy production, nerve impulse transmission, cell membrane formation, brain and thinking functions, transfer of oxygen to the blood from the air and haemoglobin manufacture.
Both omega 3 and 6 are involved in hormonal function and health, which helps support fertility.
Omega 3 has strong anti-inflammatory actions, whilst an overdose of omega 6 (very common in most people) is linked to increased inflammation.
We cannot survive without consuming natural and whole-food fats, and ideally, these should be in a natural food form for optimum quality.
The seeds are also useful for the treatment of pinworm – by eating a handful in the morning before breakfast.
Pumpkin seed butter is a lovely addition to a snack.
- Treat Qi Deficiency
- Treat Dampness
- Treat Blood Stagnation
- Eliminates Toxins
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).
Dampness is the word used in Chinese Fertility Medicine to describe an overabundance of negative types of fluids that have accumulated in the body.
This includes mucus, phlegm, or water accumulation (edema) that build up over time in different areas of the body.
A variety of fertility issues can arise from having too much Dampness including immune disorders, fluid retention, circulatory issues, bacterial and fungal overgrowth, and other inflammatory diseases.
Reducing dampness can take some time, but the physical effects you receive will be worth it!
Blood Stagnation refers to poor circulation of blood throughout the body.
This can manifest in any aspect of the body but is prevalent in many male fertility and also gynaecological issues.
There are 2 main causes of Blood Stagnation:
- A genetic clotting disorder that directly causes the blood to clot more easily
- A Blood Deficiency pattern where the blood is weaker and cannot flow efficiently, causing it to become stagnant
Healthy Blood flow is vital to nourishing all the cells in your body, which include egg and sperm cells.
If blood flow reduces it may cause male and female fertility issues that typically present with either an obstruction in the flow of blood or fluids, or the development of a growth or mass.
Extra notes: Pumpkin has been traditionally used to support and strengthen the digestive system and is very good for bowel issues such as IBS, bloating, fullness and changing stools (loose to dry).
It is effective at circulating the Fluids – especially in the case of fluid build up in the joints, hands, and feet. This is good for people with swollen ankles and legs (edema), but it will also help fluid metabolism and removal in all areas of the body.
It is highly regarded for post-partum use to increase lactation and re-balance the fluids after pregnancy.
With its positive effect on fluid metabolism and supporting the digestive system, it’s a good food to eat during ovulation as it has a mildly warming (Yang) effect.
It’s particularly good for people with a diagnosis of ‘Dampness’ and someone who has PCOS.
Season: October – December
How it’s typically cooked: Pumpkin can be used in many ways, whether you desire sweet or savoury.
A few of my personal favourite ways to use them are as:
- A thick carrot & pumpkin soup made with a chicken stock base.
- Good quality beef mince with onion & pumpkin cubes or mash.
- Classic baked pumpkin with melted butter and a little raw sugar to go with a gamey meat dish like venison = delicious!
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