Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that has many important functions in the body, from immune support, to skin health, in the prevention of blood clots and offering protection from prostate cancer. But when it comes to fertility, alongside the vitamin C (which helps to protect the egg and sperm from oxidative stress caused by free radical damage) tomatoes contain Lycopene. Lycopene is a naturally occurring carotenoid. The main food source of lycopene for many being the tomato. Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants, and provide red, yellow and orange colour to fruit and vegetables. They have an important role in that they protect the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals.
Aubergine is low in calories, high in fibre and contains a good amount of vitamin c, b vitamins including folate and phosphorus- most nutrients are found just under the skin. Aubergine also contains a good amount of magnesium (the happy mineral), which when combined with vitamin B6 helps to reduce anxiety and aids sleep.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
1 courgette sliced into round slices
Handful of fresh basil and oregano or 2tsp of dried herbs
2 large aubergines, sliced into 1cm-thick rounds
250g mozzarella cheese, sliced
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
Pinch of Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)
How to make:
Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Heat half of the olive oil in a medium saucepan and gently cook the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes and herbs and simmer gently until the sauce begins to thicken. Coat both sides of aubergine and courgettes with the remaining oil. Sauté in a non-stick frying pan over a low to medium heat, turning regularly until very soft (about 5 minutes each side). Add the salt and pepper to the tomato sauce. Place a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce mix into a baking dish that is ovenproof and then place a layer of aubergines and courgettes on top, followed by a layer of the mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of parmesan. Repeat the above layers twice more until all of the ingredients are in the baking tray. Place into the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Enjoy!