By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Pep up your antioxidant levels along with other vital nutrients needed for health and fertility this Valentine’s day – start your day with a Red Berry Delicious Valentine Shot!
All types of berries help to support fertility, but raspberries in particular have been linked to protecting sperm from oxidative stress. Raspberries contain a high level of Vitamin C which is a key antioxidant when it comes to male fertility, helping to protect sperm DNA. It has also been linked to helping prevent agglutination and improve sperm quality and motility. They also contain magnesium, which is involved in the production of testosterone helping to give male fertility a further boost- great for mood too!
Strawberries are a super fertility food as they are rich in folate. Folate is vital for cell division, growth and development and in the prevention of birth defects in the foetus.
Folate may also help to counteract ovulation problems. 125g of strawberries provides 10 per cent of your daily folate needs along with a whole day’s amount of vitamin C. They are a good source of iron, potassium and manganese too. They are the only fruit to have seeds on their exterior and these contain a small amount of omega 3. Omega 3 fatty acids have been linked in a few studies (more are needed) to improving blood flow to the uterus, ovulation, improving sperm quality and motility and reducing post-natal depression.
Beetroot is great for aiding blood flow and circulation around the body. Healthy circulation is essential to enable blood flow to the uterus. Promoting circulation to the uterus is crucial for improving uterine health and for pregnancy preparation. For women undergoing IVF treatment with a thin uterine lining, a glass of beetroot juice each day may go a long way to helping improve the situation, in combination with other foods that increase blood flow, such as a handful of blueberries. Beetroot contains a high level of folate which is essential when it comes to female fertility because it helps to reduce homocysteine levels (an amino acid that helps blood clot
In relation to male fertility, research shows that poor levels of folate (vitamin B9) are linked to a low sperm count and decreased sperm mobility. Beetroot contains a good amount of this vitamin so may help support male fertility. Beetroot contains plenty of vitamins C and E too -key antioxidants when it comes to fertility.
Lemons are abundant in vitamin C and flavonoids, both powerful antioxidants, important in preventing free radical damage to cells- including egg and sperm cells, supporting the immune system, for skin health, increasing iron absorption from food, weight loss and the prevention of scurvy.
Honey possesses an array of plant chemicals that act as antioxidants. It also contains antibacterial and antifungal properties (in particular raw and manuka honey).
These ingredients combined pack a great nutritional punch that not only helps to hydrate our cells but provides anti- inflammatory and antioxidant benefits too which help support fertility, are great for anti-ageing of cells and help support the immune system too.
To make your shot (2 shots):
8 fresh strawberries
4oz chopped beetroot
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2tsp runny honey
Combine all ingredients together in a blender. Enjoy!