Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
It’s tomato time and great to benefit from this ‘nutritious and delicious fruit whilst they are in season and bursting with goodness! Packed full of the fertility-friendly nutrients vitamins A, C, and folate, along with lycopene and iron- why not try making some delicious Gazpacho? A traditional cold soup from Spain, gazpacho is ideal for hot summer days. Traditionally, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and garlic are used in its preparation.
Did you know that tomatoes contain Lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant?
Tomato -the main food source of lycopene for many people is the tomato (carrots, watermelon and apricots contain a good amount too). 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. In relation to fertility, there have been some studies into the beneficial effects of lycopene on male fertility. Research has been carried out to examine the effect of the antioxidants in lycopene in helping to protect developing sperm from free radical damage and possible DNA damage. Lycopene has been shown to help healthy sperm motility and morphology.
Onions– Vitamins A, B, and C are just a few of the abundant nutrients found in onions. They are also regarded as prebiotics, which aid in cleansing the body of harmful bacteria and supply our gut with the beneficial organisms required to maintain microflora. Because onions have anti-inflammatory characteristics, they may aid women who have endometriosis or PCOS by reducing their pain. Additionally, onions are a good source of iron, folate, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and other elements essential for a healthy conception.
Bell peppers – like watermelons and tomatoes, are rich in lycopene. High levels of vitamin C are also present in this wonderful vegetable. A strong immune system and iron absorption depend on vitamin C. It has also been discovered to lessen agglutination while preventing oxidative damage to the sperm (clumping together).
Garlic- by enhancing circulation, the delicious herb garlic helps heart health and minimizes tension. It also contains a lot of vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and is essential for a healthy pregnancy and conception. Garlic benefits women with PCOS, the menstrual cycle, and PMS symptoms by regulating insulin levels and providing adequate amounts of B vitamins.
Gazpacho (makes 5-6 portions)
1kg ripe tomatoes
1 small (1/2 lb) cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped and deseeded
1 shallot, chopped
2 small garlic cloves crushed
100ml olive oil
1tbsp wine vinegar
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper (optional)
1 fresh red chilli (optional)
Roughly chop all your ingredients and mix together in a large bowl – place in the fridge for half an hour to chill and for the flavour to develop. Add to a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the seasoning (optional). Keep in the fridge until well chilled (about 3 hours). Ladle into a bowl and enjoy with some crusty sourdough.