Bring on the Beetroot to boost health and fertility

A number of studies have shown the health benefits of consuming beetroot, such as helping to lower blood pressure, improve brain function and memory, as well as improving circulation and blood flow.

Beetroot and fertility

In women

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, try a glass of beetroot juice each day, 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). If homocysteine levels are too high there is a chance that blood will clot too easily, which can create blockages that may cut off the placenta and cause miscarriage. Folate is also thought to help with implantation.

In men

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 can help boost male fertility. Beetroot contains plenty of vitamins C and E too important antioxidants.

Here are several recipes you might want to try:

Beetroot Brownies

Ingredients (use organic where possible).
• 400g (2-3 medium beetroot) beetroot, chopped
• 150g Dark Cooking Chocolate (70 or 80% cocoa)
• 100g Butter
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 200g brown sugar
• 3 Free-range eggs
• 100g wholemeal plain flour
• 30g cocoa powder

Method
1. Top, tail and peel the beetroot. Roughly chop and place into a large bowl. Add a splash of water, cover with cling film – pierced with a few small holes – then microwave on high for 10 minutes, or until tender.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter then line a 20cm x 30cm tin. Roughly chop the chocolate and cut the butter into cubes.
3. Drain the beetroot through a sieve, then place into a food processor with the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Whizz until the mix has melted and is as smooth as you can get it.
4. Whisk the sugar and eggs in a large bowl for about 2 minutes or until thick, pale and foamy.
5. Spoon the beetroot mixture into the bowl with the whisked eggs. Then, using a large metal spoon, gently fold the beetroot into the whisked eggs, keeping as much air in the mixture as you can. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and gently fold in to make a smooth batter.
6. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen all over. Cool the brownies completely in the tin, then cut into squares. Serves 15-20 squares.

Why not try the following recipe ideas using beetroot?

• Try finely grated fresh beetroot mixed with horseradish and crème fraiche with smoked trout and organic seeded bread
• Or roast baby beetroot and arrange in a dish with butternut squash. Cut both into round slices, drizzle with a little olive oil and scatter with fresh thyme, then roast for about 40 minutes.
• Try raw finely sliced beetroot with baby spinach and torn buffalo mozzarella with a sweet balsamic and olive oil dressing
• Or a colourful grated beetroot and carrot salad with a dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and a little honey- makes a healthy light meal.
• Try quartering small fresh beetroot, tossing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and whole garlic cloves. Add some fresh oregano, thyme or marjoram, place in a tin foil pouch to avoid burning and roast in a hot oven.

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