Over the last weekend, some of our family friends came to visit. After serving food and drinks, I went back into the kitchen and was munching on delicious avocado when Chinyere came to find me in the kitchen. She wanted hot water to make cereal for her toddler son. I quickly set the kettle to boil and while we waited, she asked me if I knew the wonders of the avocado I was eating.
I told her I just know fruits are healthy, and I like to indulge in them as a healthy alternative to sweets, cakes, chocolates and other unhealthy snack. “Avocado is very good oh! I heard it is even better for pregnant women, and women seeking the fruit of the womb” she said. “There are so many fruits that are good for women, like Pomegranate, Maca roots. In short, I am sure every fruit has something or the other to add value to our system” I replied.
She nodded and said “But the avocado is special oh! Did you know it takes exactly nine months to grow an avocado into a ripened fruit? Some cultures even use it as a symbol for fertility and pregnancy”. Now she had me interested.
In my experience, I have found that every woman tends to have a favorite fertility food, and I attribute it to the fact that there are many great foods out there that boost our fertility. For example, when I was trying to conceive, I ate a lot of nuts, fish and eggs as well as papaya, watermelons and banana. Women undergoing IVF also tend to start a relationship with pomegranate and pineapple core, as these fruits help with implantation.
For Chinyere, avocado was her own fertility miracle food. She told me how she suffered from hormonal imbalance at the time she was trying for a baby, and that a colleague recommended avocado to her. I laughed as she narrated how she binged on the fruit; made lots of salads with it, ate it with bread, or on its own as a snack. “So did it help with the hormones?” I asked. “Yes oh”, she replied “It not only regularized my hormones, I lost some weight as well. In fact, till now, I still take lots of avocado. When it’s not in season, you see me spending good money to buy some. I even read online that it also helps to prevent cervical cancer”.
I happily munched the rest of my avocado as she went on to feed her son. Later that evening, in my usual manner, I decided to research all about avocados.
The one I found was carried out at the Harvard School of Public Health, and reported that avocados improve fertility by lowering inflammation in the body. It also stated that the fruit contains monounsaturated fat; which is also found in olive oil, nuts and seeds, and is said to be the best dietary fat for would-be mothers. The study stated that women who ate saturated fat, found in red meat, butter, fried food and refined food were likely to produce fewer good eggs for fertility treatments, when compared with those who ate monounsaturated fat from nuts, olive oil and avocado.
The study also encouraged women to take more and more of these ‘good’ monounsaturated fat, because those who are the highest amounts were 3.4 times more likely to have children after IVF than those who ate the lowest amounts. The study also reminded us that these monounsaturated fat were already known to protect the heart; so you are not just doing your reproductive system some good, your circulatory system would also be very happy!
Another research conducted by Prof. Chavarro, who studied 147 women undergoing IVF at Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center, found a link between monounsaturated fats and live birth rate. His research showed that high intake of monounsaturated fat was associated with a higher chance of pregnancy 3.4 times more than those who have had little intake. For a long time, fats have been known to affect fertility and reproductive outcomes such as degree of responsiveness of the body to insulin, as well as degree of inflammation of reproductive organs. For PCOS sisters, or anyone looking to shed weight, avocado should be on your diet list, because it is rich in fiber and very low in carbs; so you naturally feel full and eat fewer calories. Luckily, it is also very delicious which makes it easy to stick to an healthy diet.
On a food site, I found out that avocados contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals! The most abundant nutrients in an avocado are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Folate (folic acid). Avocados contain more potassium than you find in bananas! Potassium is one nutrient that most people overlook, but several studies have linked it with significant reduction in blood pressure and, by extension, kidney diseases, stroke and heart attack. A seven-year study published in Nutrition Journal in 2013 found that avocados were associated with a reduced risk of stroke, coronary artery diseases and diabetes.
So asides the fact that avocados contain a significant amount of folic acid, which is essential in the prevention of birth defects and neural tube defects, avocados also control our blood sugar by regulating the body’s sensitivity to insulin, thus balancing reproductive hormones. I can’t get over the wonders of this rich, high-fiber, creamy and delicious food. Thankfully, it is filling enough to serve as dinner and thus, help me with my weight loss goals, not to add the other perks of reducing the risk of cervical cancer and protecting the heart. Nature indeed has wonderful gifts for us, and I am so glad that avocado is safely within everyone’s reach.
Cheers to munching!!
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