Let’s be honest, the pill makes life easier. The inconvenient truth? It might be robbing you of key nutrients.
The Pill, an Anti-Nutrient?
The Pill has been widely available since 1972, but it’s only in recent years that nutrient depletion has been flagged up as a possible side-effect. Here is a snapshot of the research:
Zinc is crucial for reproductive health. Getting enough of this mineral will ensure a healthy libido (which is why oysters are considered an aphrodisiac) adequate production of sex hormones and improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that women who take oral contraceptives have lower zinc levels . Shellfish, nuts, eggs, rye, and green leafy vegetables are your friends for more of this mineral.
B6 works in partnership with zinc to ensure a healthy cycle. After conception, zinc and B6 can also ease morning sickness; but you might be deficient in this nutrient if you’ve been on the pill. A 2011 study published in Nutrition Reviews revealed that B6 levels were lower in those taking oral contraceptives . One cup of chickpeas provides nearly a whole days supply of B6 – while sweet potatoes are also a rich source.
Folate is found in leafy greens like spinach as well as beetroot, lentils and beans. But you might want to supplement if you take the contraceptive pill. A review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that women who use oral contraceptives have ‘impaired folate metabolism .’ Insufficient folate can cause birth defects, so start upping your dose well before you start trying for a baby. For a light summer meal rich in folate, try Natasha’s Puy Lentil and Pomegranate Salad.