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A little secret about me is that I LOVE Mexican food, and Mexican-inspired flavors. Okay, to anybody who knows me, that’s not really a secret! So when I was looking for a healthy summer salad to take to a Memorial Day picnic, I looked south of the border for inspiration.

black-bean-salad

Olé Bean Salad
    Ingredients:

  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked corn (best to use fresh but I used frozen since it’s still a little early in the season for corn. If using canned or frozen, check the package to make sure there is no added salt or sugar)
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 avocados
  • 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. lime zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 8 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • Dash of ground flaxseed.

Directions:

Combine beans, corn, peppers and cilantro in a large bowl. Add lime zest, vinegar, garlic, shallot, olive oil, and seasonings. Toss to coat. Best to make at least a few hours in advance so that the flavors have time to meld in the fridge. Add chopped avocado and sprinkle with ground flaxseed just before serving. Easy peasy!

Fertility friendly salad inspired from flavors south of the border
Fertility friendly salad inspired from flavors south of the border
This salad is loaded with foods that can help boost fertility. Beans are a great source of protein. Studies have shown that when animal protein is at least partially replaced by plant protein in the diet, the risk of ovulatory infertility can drop by as much as 50 percent. Beans are also rich in iron and folate, and other vitamins and minerals that are needed for a healthy pregnancy. Beans are also essential for developing good follicle quality. The long and the short of it is, if you are not eating beans, start now!

Avocados and olive oil are chock full of healthy fats, which is good for our diet. Olive oil also contains Vitamin E, which is also found in the fluid of the follicles that house our eggs. Avocados, quite simply, are a fertility superfood! Containing Vitamin K, folate, and Omega-3 fatty acids that help regulate reproductive hormones, avocados are very beneficial for fertility.

Corn, when consumed properly, is one of the healthiest foods we can eat. It’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Cooking corn increases its antioxidant levels.

An important note about corn: while corn can be highly beneficial, we are eating more and more genetically modified (GMO) corn these days. GMO corn isn’t good for us on many levels, not the least of which that research has linked it to infertility in animals. Make sure you eat non-GMO corn! The best way to do this is to buy your corn at the farmers market.

Bell peppers are rich in Vitamin C, which improves hormone levels and increases fertility. Studies also show that Vitamin C also increases progesterone production, which is important after ovulation for implantation and sustaining a pregnancy. All pepper colors are rich in Vitamin C, so explore the rainbow!

Cayenne pepper packs a punch, in both flavor and nutrition. It contains micronutrients and antioxidants, and is rich in Vitamin A, which is essential for the healthy development of your baby from conception to birth. Vitamin A positively affects cell reproduction, which also affects the number and quality of a man’s sperm cells. The hot flavor of cayenne also helps blood flow, which can stimulate the reproductive organs.

Garlic has been shown to increase sperm counts and improve male fertility.

Flaxseed is another fertility superfood. It provides Omega-3, protein, zinc and Vitamin E, all of which are beneficial for fertility. Sprinkling ground flaxseed on any salad gives it an extra fertility boost. Make sure it’s ground flaxseed, as our digestive systems have difficulty processing whole flaxseeds.

On top of all of these benefits, this salad just tastes great!

Buen Provecho! And Happy Memorial Day!

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