Up your antioxidant game to protect your fertility
Dietician Wendy Fedele shares this week's 'Before Baby' recipe to try, a Salmon and Green goodness salad with lemony yoghurt dressing bursting with antioxidants.
If you’re planning on trying for a baby you’ll want to do everything you can to support the health of your eggs, the implantation environment and sperm health to improve your chances of conceiving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. One thing that can get in the way? Oxidative stress, which research shows plays a key role in both male and female subfertility.
Oxidative Stress and Fertility
Oxidative stress occurs in the body when there is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants. Free radicals are oxygen containing molecules that are produced through normal bodily processes and metabolic reactions, but can also increase through diet and lifestyle- and if left unchecked can damage cells, fatty tissue, proteins and DNA. Luckily cells also produce antioxidants, which can neutralise free radicals, and usually the body is able to keep a balance between free radicals and antioxidants - but problems arise when free radicals produced outweigh antioxidants in the body.
The good news? We can increase our antioxidant levels through the food we eat, helping to combat inflammation and oxidative stress and protect our reproductive cells - and fertility.
Vegetables and fruit are excellent sources of compounds with antioxidant properties so aiming for your 5 serves of veg and 2 serves of fruit daily is a great idea: think dark leafy greens orange and red coloured veggies, cruciferous veggies, brightly coloured berries cherries and grapes, just to name a few.
But we also get antioxidants from lots of other foods, like beans and legumes (including soy foods), Extra Virgin Olive oil, wholegrains, fish and seafood, nuts and seeds - walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts are great sources. Adding more fresh and dried herbs and spices to your cooking is an easy win for boosting antioxidant intake.
This Salmon and Green goodness salad with lemony yoghurt dressing is bursting with antioxidants from leafy greens, tomatoes, Extra Virgin olive oil, fish, seeds, wholegrains – a perfect addition to your fertility-friendly menu!
Salmon and Green Goodness salad with lemony yoghurt dressing
- 2 salmon fillets – skin on
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons of uncooked quinoa (~ 8 tablespoons cooked)
- ½ head broccoli – chopped into small florets and stems sliced thinly
- 2 big handfuls of rocket
- 2 big handfuls of baby spinach
- 120g frozen peas – defrosted
- 1 Tbs Chopped mint
- 1Tbs Chopped parsley
- ¼ cup Sun dried tomatoes
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
- 1/2 lemon – the zest of the half and juice of 1/4
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 clove of garlic – minced
Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix together thoroughly
- Start by cooking the quinoa (skip this step if your quinoa is already cooked!) – Bring around 80ml of water to boil in a small pot on the stove. Pour in the quiona and boil for ~ 5 minutes, then turn down the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes before turning of the heat and stiring the quinoa with a fork
- Next quickly cook your broccoli in a pot of boiling salted water for ~ 3 minutes. Drain and rinse immediately under cold water to cool – you don’t want it to be overcooked!
- Add your broccoli, peas, spinach, rocket and sundried tomatoes to a big bowl
- Just before you’re ready to serve up (once your salmon is cooked), pour over the juice of ½ a lemon, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss.
- Mix through the quinoa, seeds and herbs and toss again.
Season your salmon skin with a little salt and pepper and cook, skin side down, on a pan with a little olive oil for ~ 5 minutes. Turn and cook for another 5 minutes or until cooked through to your preference (if you use this recipe once pregnant make sure you cook it thoroughly! )
Putting it all together:
Plate up your salad first, then add the salmon on top (you can cut up into smaller segments and mix through if you like) and top it all with some lemony yoghurt dressing
YUM - Share a photo of your cook-up with #BeforeBaby2023!