This week’s nutrition for fertility recipe is a replenishing dish of pineapple and shrimp tacos with bean salad on the side. In Chinese medicine, pineapples have long since been used as a nutritional aid for fertility, as they reduce inflammation throughout the body, including in the uterus. As well, shrimp is packed with essential fatty acids important for fertility and fetal development.
Pineapples are brimming with a digestive enzyme known as bromelain, which can act as a pain reliever, blood thinner, anti-coagulant, and an anti-inflammatory agent. When trying to conceive,bromelain helps drive blood to the uterus, and increases cervical mucous which encourages sticky embryos and may lead to increased rates of implantation. Since bromelain also functions as an anti-inflammatory, it has promising benefits for the immune system, possibly preventing implantation issues which may be common for women who have inflammatory conditions.
It is necessary to time the consumption of bromelain to support implantation, and important to remember not to core the pineapple, as the core contains the highest concentration of bromelain. Consuming pineapple is best the day after ovulation, as the acidity can affect the cervical mucous and work against fertility prior to ovulation. For IVF and IUI, the recommended time to consume pineapple is over a period of 5 days beginning on the day of the embryo transfer or beginning on the day of the IUI. Cut the pineapple into 5ths and eat one slice with the core per day. Stop eating pineapple after a positive pregnancy test.
Pineapples also contain high amounts of vitamins A, C and E, which support a strong immune system, increase cardiovascular health, and help protect the eyes from macular degeneration. Also containing high amounts of vitamin B1 and manganese, pineapples increase the amount of energy gained from digested foods, while supporting energy-producing mitochondria.
Shrimp is a wonderful source of iron, protein, vitamin A and Omega-3s. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, which reduces inflammation, regulates hormones, increases cervical mucus, promotes ovulation, and increases blood flow to the reproductive organs, thus improving their function. Omega-3s also contain DHA and EPA, which are vital to fetal development and good health. Both men and women can benefit from shrimp due to their high levels of selenium, which is an antioxidant that helps to protect the eggs and sperm from free radicals known to be a cause of miscarriages and birth defects. Selenium is also necessary for the creation of sperm. Shrimp also contains zinc, an important mineral that helps keep things working smoothly in the body. Zinc helps balance hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, and ensures proper function of the reproductive system. Men can also benefit greatly from zinc, as it helps to boost sperm levels, improves the function and quality of sperm, and increases male fertility.
Another main ingredient in the tacos are, black beans, which are a fiber rich source of protein. They are loaded with antioxidants, and are also an excellent source of folate. Black beans tonify the kidneys, increasing its energy and also nourish the blood. According to Chinese medicine, one of the major functions of the kidney is to store the kidney Jing, or the essence of life, becoming the source of human growth, development and reproduction.
Be sure to soak all beans in water for at least 24 hours, then pour out this water and boil in fresh water, as this removes phytic acid, which causes gas, heartburn, and reflux. Soaking beans enables full digestion and more complete nutrient absorption.
Total Time: 25 minutes
List of Ingredients
- 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
- 1 medium organic pineapple
- 2 cups dried black beans, soaked 24hrs
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 fresh lime
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 small organic corn tortillas, warmed
- Serving suggestions: avocado, salsa-verde, cilantro, hot sauce
- Before beginning: Soak the black beans in a bowl covered with water for 24 hours, drain and rinse beans to remove scum before use.
- Rinse the shrimp and set aside.
- Peel and cut the pineapple into 1 1/2-inch chunks (about 4 cups)
- For the bean salad: in a bowl, combine the beans, scallions, 2 tablespoons of the oil, sea salt, black pepper, and squeeze lime juice. Stir well.
- Heat grill or grill-pan to medium-high.
- In a bowl combine shrimp and pineapple, season with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, cumin, cayenne, sea salt and black pepper. Toss well and set aside.
- Add the pineapple slices to the grill and cook until golden, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and set aside.
- Place shrimp on grill and cook until just opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on size. Cover to keep shrimp warm.
- Cut up pineapple into smaller pieces.
- Grill the tortillas until warm, about 20 seconds per side.
- Serve with the tortillas, bean salad, and optional toppings: avocado, salsa verde, cilantro, and hot sauce.