I have been blown away by the feedback that I’ve been getting from you guys! I love that YOU love my blog, and I love that you guys are asking for more information. One question that I’m always asked is “what foods are good for fertility?”. I’ve taken that question and turned it into a new blog series – Superfoods for Fertility! First up, chia seeds!
Chia – also known as salvia hispanica L – literally means “strength” in Mayan. It can be traced back over 3,000 years to Central America where the Aztecs utilized it as one of their primary plant sources of food – notably their third most important crop next to corn and beans! Chia was considered more valuable than gold, and was often used to pay taxes and tribute to the Aztec nobility.
Well, they are chockablock full of all sorts of nutrients critical for fertility health! The most important? Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-3 EFAs are essential in regulating hormones, increasing blood flow to the uterus, reducing sensitivity to the hormone prolactin (which can suppress ovulation), normalizing your cycle, and – most importantly – increasing your cervical mucus, which is needed to help the sperm reach the egg.
Once pregnant, Omega-3 essential fatty acids are crucial in the development of your baby’s brain, eyes, and heart. They are also necessary in the development of a healthy circulatory system.
Chia has the highest Omega-3 content of any plant-based source, containing 64% alpha linolenic acid (ALA). Flax, another popular source of ALA, only contains 55%! So for all of our non-fish eating friends, chia seeds are going to help you get those crucial Omega-3 EFAs!
EFAs are important for the respiration of vital organs, yet the human body is unable to manufacture them itself; they must be obtained through diet. Be sure to stick around until the end of this post, and I’ll share one of my favorite chia recipes with you!
In men, Omega-3 EFAs help to improve circulation to the genitals, which helps to support the prostate – another key element needed in reproduction. You know what else benefits when we improve circulation to the genitals? NO MORE ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION. That’s a definite bonus for fertility ;).
In addition to the copious amounts of essential fatty acids, chia seeds:
An advantage of chia is that, because it has such a high antioxidant content, the seeds stay stable for much longer, whereas flax, for example, may turn rancid if not stored properly. Chia seeds can easily be stored dry for 4-5 years without deterioration in flavor, odor or nutritional value. Another bonus is that you can substitute chia in any recipe that calls for flax.
Another major bonus of chia seeds is their ability to improve digestive function. If you’re having any issues with bowel regularity (read: constipation), chia seeds are fantastic for getting things moving. The best way to do this is to make chia gel. You can do this by soaking ⅓ cup chia seeds in 3 cups of filtered water until a thick gel forms. You can add this gel to smoothies, drink it straight, or even use in baking recipes in place of eggs. I recommend consuming ⅓-½ cup of chia gel per day to help with constipation, or just to keep things moving regularly. Store the chia gel in your refrigerator.
Easy! The taste of chia is very mild and pleasant, so you can sprinkle them over salads or yogurt, add to grain-free granola, use them in smoothies, make pudding, use as an egg replacement in baking, and so much more. The original flavor of the dish is retained, plus they add a lot more nutrition!
My favorite way to use chia seeds is in my Raw Tapioca Pudding recipe!
1 cup raw cashews
3 cups filtered water
10 drops of NuNaturals vanilla stevia (to taste) or small amount of raw honey or pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
pinch celtic sea salt
¼ cup chia seeds
Soak the cashews in warm water, covered, for 4 hours. After they’re soaked, drain the soaking liquid and give them a good rinse. Then place the cashews and water in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Blend in the sweetener, vanilla, almond extract and salt. Add the chia seeds to a DRY large mason jar (32 oz), pour the cashew mixture into the jar and shake well (very well!) Place in the refrigerator overnight (or for several hours) until the texture resembles tapioca pudding. Serve.
You can also experiment by adding cinnamon, vanilla bean and other tasty enhancements to this recipe (in your desired quantity).
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