Spring is my season of hope. I love watching barren branches start sprouting while listening to birds croon for a mate. It’s the perfect time to plant seeds for a future harvest. If your goal is a “wee one”, I hope these tips can help bless your home with even more love.
Can a common vegetable improve your odds of pregnancy? Yale medical student Obinwanne Ugwonali discovered connections between fertility and diet in 1996. Nigeria consistently had the highest birth rates and rates of twins born. A member of the Ibo tribe, Ugwonali was surprised to find another tribe, the Yorubas, had the highest birth rates in the world, averaging 41.6 sets of twins per 1000 births, nearly 400% more than the U.S.
Ugwonali traveled to Nigeria. Eliminating other variables, the answer was in their diet. Locals consumed West African yams three or four times a day. Back in the laboratory, Obinwanne and his team fed rats yams. The average litter size rose from four to nine – more than double.
His award-winning medical paper’s conclusion? Yams fool the brain into thinking it needs more estrogen. They’re in a category of “anti-estrogens'' releasing gonadotrophin, a hormone corresponding to increased ovulation. More eggs released. More births.
In 2022, Nigeria had 36.4 births per 1,000. The U.S. saw an average of 12 births per 1,000.
*Note: When shopping for produce in the states, be aware that “yam” and “sweet potato” are often confused. A true African yam has a rough, brown exterior and creamy white interior.
If West African yams increase estrogen levels, what about testosterone, the other essential hormone contributing to a birth? Zinc is critical to the viability of sperm and testosterone. Zinc maintains sperm viability and assists women by regulating ovulation. How to get zinc into your diet? Oysters, red meat, avocados and pumpkin seeds are a few suggestions. One ounce of pumpkin seeds provides 20% of the daily recommended requirement.
One more secret – amino acid L-arginine. It aids fertility by increasing blood circulation to the male and female reproductive areas, increasing libido for both sexes, supporting sperm production and improving mucus in the female area, allowing more sperm to stick to the eggs.
A study from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon found patients who were given 2 grams of L-arginine daily for 10 weeks had a 100% increase in sperm. Coincidentally,
pumpkin seeds are also a great source of L-arginine. One cup of pumpkin seeds contains 6.905 grams. That’s three times more than the study subjects took.
So, when you’re planting your spring garden, consider adding West African yams and pumpkins. They’re tasty, good for us, and a great way to fertilize your inner soil.
By Constance See