By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Broad beans are currently in season and make a terrific complement to any fertility diet. They’re high in vitamin C, folate, fibre, iron, calcium, and protein, all of which are essential elements for fertility and IVF diets. Broad beans are high in antioxidants including lutein and beta-carotene, which help to reduce the damage produced by free radicals, which can promote cell ageing, including in egg and sperm cells. They are also rich in isoflavones which are plant hormones. The potential health benefits of isoflavones may include protection against age-related diseases including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, hormone-dependent cancer and loss of cognitive function. Isoflavones are considered phytoestrogens, meaning that they are similar in structure to the female hormone, oestrogen. Isoflavones are also considered anti-oxidant compounds.
Although they are little, these healthy and delicious legumes are high in protein and iron, which is a crucial component of red blood cells and a key component in the production of energy. During menstruation, iron levels are depleted and increase once pregnant. Why not try including some of these lovely beans in your fertility diet?
Full of Beans – Broad Bean Dip
• 250g fresh broad beans (podded)
• 1 small garlic clove
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 10 fresh mint or basil leaves
• ½ tsp fine sea salt
• freshly ground pepper, to taste
• pinch of turmeric
• pinch of chilli flakes
Boil a pan of water on the hob. Place the podded beans into the boiling water and simmer for about 3-5 minutes (depending on the size of the beans). Test one to make sure the inside is cooked and then drain and rinse through with cold water. Place the cooked beans, garlic, lemon juice, avocado, mint leaves, salt, pepper, and turmeric (and chilli flakes) into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add a drop of cold water if the dip is too thick. To serve – place in a decorative bowl, drizzle a drop of olive oil on top and sprinkle a few seeds over. Enjoy!