Folic acid is essential for fertility; it helps line a woman’s womb with nutrients that nourish the womb and increase the chance for sperm survival. And Brussel sprouts are high in this critical element. Additionally, they contain phytonutrients that help optimize estrogen metabolism and support the body’s detoxification process. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which is good for the body, as inflammation can interfere with many physiological processes, including conception.
Research shows that a deficiency of folic acid during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects – without folic acid, the fetus’ nervous system cells do not divide properly. Consuming whole foods that are naturally rich in folic acid can help reduce the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. In addition to Brussel sprouts, consider these other foods rich in folic acid: dark leafy greens, papaya, lentils, avocado and beets.
Eat Your Sprouts: Shopping and Cooking Tips
- Brussels sprouts are available year-round but the peak-growing season is from autumn through early spring.
- If possible buy sprouts still attached to the stalk for optimal freshness.
- Brussels sprouts should be firm, compact and vivid green. Avoid those with holes in their leaves or you may find insects crawling inside the sprout.
- To prepare sprouts, remove stems and leaves; wash well under fresh water and soak in a bowl to remove any debris that may be stuck within the ball.
- However you choose to cook sprouts, cut an X shape into the bottom for even heating throughout.
- Renter, E. “Three Winter Foods to Increase Fertility” naturalsociety.com Accessed 3 June 2017: http://naturalsociety.com/winter-foods-increased-fertility/
- World’s Healthiest Foods: Brussels Sprouts. Accessed 3 June 2017: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=10
- Wilson, D. R. et al., “Pre-conceptional Vitamin/Folic Acid Supplementation 2007: The Use of Folic Acid in Combination With a Multivitamin Supplement for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects and Other Congenital Anomalies.” J. Obstetrics & Gyn Canada, (2007) 29:12; 1003-1013. Available via https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1701-2163(16)32685-8
- Twight, J.M., et al., “Preconception Folic Acid Use Modulates Estradiol and Follicular Responses to Ovarian Stimulation.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. (2011) Feb;96(2):E322-9. Accessed 3 June 2017: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21123447