By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Avoiding alcohol over the festive period? Why not try this nutritious and delicious festive mocktail, packed with antioxidants?
Why are antioxidants important in relation to fertility?
Antioxidants are important as they are compounds which protect our cells from free radical damage. Found in food and in the body, there are many different types, protecting different types of cells including the egg and sperm cells. Antioxidants are important in relation to fertility as they help to neutralize the effects of free radicals which may affect the developing egg and sperm. Surrounding the ovarian follicles is a follicular fluid which contains nutrients and hormones. These provide the egg with nourishment before leaving the ovary. If there are too many free radicals surrounding the egg this can cause harm, so it is important to consume plenty of antioxidants from a variety of foods.
Some of the main antioxidants important for fertility are:
COQ10- this antioxidant has shown in studies to help improve sperm motility and is thought to protect the DNA in the sperm and egg. There is plenty of COQ10 in salmon.
Vitamin E –helps to reduce oxidative stress on the sperm and egg cells – found in bran, avocado, spinach, nuts …to name a few!
Vitamin C- helps prevent free radical damage to the sperm -also to help balance oestrogen and progesterone in women. Good sources are strawberries, kale, broccoli, potatoes, citrus fruits.
Lipoic acid –helps in the reactivation of all of the other antioxidants. It also helps with liver detoxification (helps remove excess hormones) as it helps to boost glutathione. It is found in red meat, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and yeast.
Festive Antioxidant Mocktail (makes 2-3 servings).
230ml of pomegranate juice
10 oz of mixed berries -fresh or frozen
1 glass of sparkling water (adjust amount for desired consistency)
Ice cubes and fresh mint to garnish
Place all into blender or smoothie maker and blend. Pour over ice and Enjoy!