It’s the time of year when we are all eagerly anticipating the arrival of spring, but it’s important to remember that the flu season usually occurs in the UK from October to April and the common cold can strike you down at any time of the year, even during spring and summer. So, to try and stay as healthy as possible, which is particularly important if you are trying to conceive, and to stave off the last of the winter bugs, don’t forget to boost your immunity, and your fertility, this spring.
How to boost your vitamin D levels
Due to our indoor lifestyles during winter, processed food diets and the lack of essential sunshine in the gloomy northern hemisphere, our bodies can be low on vitamin D – also called the sunshine vitamin – at this time of year, which can cause tiredness, aches and frequent infections. If the level of vitamin D available to use in a body is low, it is probably regulating calcium levels in the blood and so the amount that is left for other vitamin D functions such as immunity, may be further diminished. Fortunately, there are things we can do to ensure that we can keep our vitamin D levels topped up. A simple change in diet and regularly getting outside in the sunshine for a few minutes without sunscreen should create enough vitamin D for most people. Good food sources to include in a healthy balanced diet are; salmon, sardines, mackerel, eggs, tuna, shiitake mushrooms and fortified breakfast cereals.
How to boost your vitamin C levels
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it cannot be stored in the body. If you have more vitamin C than you need, your body will get rid of it in your urine and so it needs to be replaced each day via your diet. Water-soluble vitamins can also be destroyed by heat or by being exposed to the air, so some of the vitamin C is lost during cooking, especially boiling. The best way to retain as many of the vitamins as possible is to eat them raw, or to steam or grill, rather than boil them.
Vitamin C has a number of important functions including:
- Wound healing and formation of scar tissue
- Supporting a healthy immune system
- Maintaining connective tissue which supports major organs and tissues
Vitamin C has been shown in studies to help the motility and quality of sperm and appears to enhance sperm count. It also seems to help to prevent sperm from clumping (agglutination). Because Vitamin C is an antioxidant, it is also thought to help to protect sperm and prevent damage to sperm DNA.
Vitamin C is thought to help the endocrine system balance oestrogen and progesterone more effectively and so help regulate ovulation.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps to counteract some of the free radicals that enter our bodies. Our bodies do not make vitamin C so plenty of foods rich in vitamin C need to be included in the diet.
Fruits with the highest sources of vitamin C include:
- Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange, lemons and grapefruit
- Kiwi fruit
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries
- Cantaloupe melons
Vegetables with the highest sources of vitamin C include:
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
- Spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens
- Tomatoes and tomato juice
- Red and green peppers
Try making this immunity boosting drink with lemons, which are abundant in vitamin C, and ginger which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-toxic properties.
1 large unwaxed organic lemon
200 grams of local honey
1 inch portion fresh ginger
Peel and slice the ginger and cut the lemon into small pieces. Place into a blender and blend together.
Add the honey to the blended ginger and lemon, and mix together. Place the mixture in a glass jar and tighten lid. This needs to be kept in the fridge.
Adults can take one tablespoon per day, and children one teaspoon per day, melted into warm, filtered water.
If you would like information about male and female fertility assessment, please call 01992 78 50 60 or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can complete our online contact form on the main Herts & Essex Fertility website and we will call you back.