Honey, Yams, and Fish Oil?!? Believe it or not, each of these foods are on the list of “weird fertility tricks” that get shared by word of mouth, on fertility message boards, and on social media as having fertility superpowers that got so-and-so’s neighbor, best friend, or sister pregnant. In many cases, these “weird tricks” are totally bogus (for example, PLEASE DON’T chug cough syrup in an effort to get pregnant!) but in some cases, there’s truth to the rumors! I’ve talked before about fertility tricks that definitely don’t work, but today I thought I’d cover which of those bizarre fertility tricks actually CAN help you get pregnant.
Honey has amazing healing and hormone balancing properties. It can help stabilize blood sugar, optimize your immune system, reduce PMS, AND support your sex drive. It’s one of those ancient remedies that has supported women for centuries but that is too often neglected these days.
First and foremost, honey is the perfect substitute for the white stuff (sugar). If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you already know that eating refined sugar wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels, causing peaks and valleys in your energy levels all day long. This roller-coaster ride also impacts your mood, and spells disaster for your hormones. I tell my clients all the time: poorly-managed blood sugar is the root of all hormonal health issues.
Raw, local honey is much less likely to cause those peaks and valleys in your blood sugar for a couple of reasons. First, honey is composed of different types of sugar than what you’ll find in cane sugar. Cane sugar is half fructose and half glucose, while honey contains approximately 40% fructose and 30% glucose. The remaining 20% of honey consists of water, pollen, and trace minerals (including magnesium and potassium, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, and vitamins).
Because cane sugar contains more fructose, it raises your blood sugar more quickly than honey, meaning that the roller coaster ride is more extreme. Honey not only gives you the benefit of additional nutrients beyond fructose and glucose alone, it is also more stabilizing for your blood sugar. Honey also tastes sweeter, meaning you’re likely to use less of it than you would if you were using cane sugar. Using it in tea, yogurt, smoothies or homemade baked goods can definitely satisfy your sweet cravings, without the nasty side effects of white sugar.
AND honey is just one of the amazing products from bees that can support your fertility health. Royal Jelly is another product that comes from the bees and is the Queen Bee’s sole source of nutrition and the primary factor, many believe, in her incredible longevity and fertility. Royal Jelly has been shown to promote ideal hormone balance by supporting the endocrine system. It is also helpful for improving egg quality, and has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance.
Another interesting quality of Royal Jelly is its capacity to mimic human estrogen, which may help women struggling with low estrogen levels. And because Royal Jelly has the propensity to mimic estrogen, it is similar to phytoestrogens, which have been found to protect the body from xenohormones and estrogen dominance.
Yams have a reputation for causing twins due to the yam-eating habits of the Yoruba people, who live in West Africa (Nigeria, Benin, and Ghana) and have an unusually high incidence of twins. While eating yams probably won’t give you twins, yams are great for optimizing fertility … as long as what you’re eating are true yams. Many people confuse yams with their North American counterpart, sweet potatoes. Although they are similar (and sweet potatoes are also wonderful health foods), true yams are not quite the same thing.
True yams contain a form of natural progesterone (dioscin). During the reproductive cycle, the body begins to produce increased amounts of progesterone in the luteal phase immediately following ovulation. This progesterone helps the lining of the endometrium grow and thicken. If an egg is fertilized after ovulation, the thickened endometrial lining creates a healthy environment for the growth of a fetus.
True yams also contain phytoestrogens—weak estrogens that inhibit the body’s estrogen production in women who are estrogen dominant. In women suffering from endometriosis and fibroids (both of which are linked to estrogen dominance) the phytoestrogens and progesterone-like properties in yams can help regulate the estrogen-progesterone balance. The natural progesterone in yams can also help extend the luteal phase in women whose corpus luteum doesn’t produce enough progesterone causing early menstruation and short menstrual cycles.
You can find true yams in markets that specialize in African or Caribbean foods. They’re delicious in soups, stews, and anywhere you might use white potatoes or sweet potatoes.
Fish oil is chock-a-block full of OMEGA 3 fatty acids, which are critical for egg and sperm quality, healthy hormones, optimal cervical fluid, and supporting proper brain development of the fetus.
Studies have shown that omega-3s can improve ovulation, and eating them also may increase progesterone (the hormone that regulates the lining of the uterus and is essential to pregnancy). Increasing your intake of DHA has also been shown to decrease anovulation (when the ovaries don’t release an egg, common in women with PCOS and a major cause of infertility).
Omega-3s have long had a reputati0n for promoting fertility in men, and there’s lots of evidence that supports this. Long-chained DHA fatty acids (similar to Omega-3s) have been found in high concentrations in sperm, suggesting these molecules are important for sperm viability and maturity. Higher omega-3s also correlate with improved sperm morphology and motility.
So in addition to taking a supplement, don’t hesitate to eat wild-caught, low-mercury fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies, mollusks, and shellfish weekly.
Unfortunately, there is not one single “magic” fertility food that will be enough to get you pregnant if you’ve got hormone imbalances or other fertility issues like blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, or unexplained infertility. And there are other rumors out there that will NOT help you get pregnant, and might even make things worse.
Trying to get pregnant and not succeeding can quickly take over your life, and it’s tempting to resort to quick fixes and the advice of friends because that’s what’s easy. But what you may actually need is a much bigger lifestyle change—not just a quick fix.
This is what I help women (and men) do day in and day out. If you want to optimize your fertility health and increase your chances of conceiving and having a healthy, full-term pregnancy, let’s talk!
I also highly recommend checking out my 12-week online program – The Fertility Code. Through PDFs, audio files, and tons of done-for-you resources, I walk you through 12 weekly modules that tell you exactly what to do every single day to maximize your chances of conception. No more confusion about what to do, when to do it, how to do it. No more guesswork, no more wondering who to trust, where to go for help. Just a clear direct plan for optimizing your fertility health and getting pregnant!
Looking for more information about how to manage your food cravings by balancing your hormones? Schedule a consultation with me!