Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Love beetroot and dark chocolate? If so, some of these lovely energy bites may be for you. These are great as a healthy snack, after exercise or as a dessert.
Beetroot is in season and is a great source of nutrients such vitamin C, folate and iron – all of which are important to health and fertility. Beetroot’s secret weapon and a terrific mood booster? – It’s Betaine! Betaine is a modified amino acid which, in addition to many other benefits, helps to increase our levels of a specific compound called s-adenosylmethionine (SAM). This then goes on to increase our levels of serotonin, plus it can also boost our production of dopamine too!
Oats are an excellent slow release carbohydrate (which help to keep you full for longer) and a prebiotic food. They help to balance blood sugar levels which is an important aspect of general health but can also impact positively on other health areas such as fertility. Oats also are high in beta glucan. Beta glucan is one form of soluble dietary fibre that is strongly linked to improving cholesterol levels and boosting heart health.
Dark chocolate 70% and above cocoa is a good source of antioxidants, magnesium, fibre and iron- providing protective benefits re insulin sensitivity, heart health and blood pressure. When it comes to fertility dark chocolate can help support male fertility as it is a rich source of the amino acid L-arginine which in studies have been linked to improving sperm count and motility. This amino acid can also support female fertility and has been linked to helping increase the flow of blood to the ovaries and uterus. Dark chocolate is a good source of magnesium- this is the ‘happy mineral’ that is great for the mind, helps reduce anxiety and also helps manage the symptoms of PMS.
Dates are high in antioxidants and an excellent source of fibre-as they are sticky they help to bind the energy bites together!
100g beetroot, cooked
30 g dark chocolate chips
75g chopped walnuts nuts
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp orange juice
200g rolled oats
30g cocoa powder
50g shredded coconut for rolling (optional)
Place all of the ingredients (except for the dark chocolate chips) in a blender and blend until the mixture is a smooth paste. Next, using a spoon stir in the chocolate chips. Once combined, place the paste in the fridge for 30 minutes so it hardens. When you are ready to make the energy balls, spread some shredded coconut on a plate (this is optional). Take ½ tbsp of beetroot mixture and roll between your hands to make a small ball. Roll in shredded coconut, if desired. Repeat the above with the rest of the mixture. Store the energy balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.