Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Looking for a nutritious and delicious dessert to try as part of your fertility diet plan? Why not have a go at this healthy rhubarb and apple crumble?
Rhubarb is a great source of vitamin K (important for bone, blood and brain health), fibre, vitamin C, lutein, antioxidants and is low on calories. Studies show that rhubarb can help reduce ‘LDL’(bad) cholesterol levels in the blood. In relation to fertility, the vitamin C obtained from consuming cooked rhubarb is a powerful antioxidant which is important in protecting DNA in cells, including that of the egg and sperm from free radical damage- helping to prevent cell ageing. As vitamin C is involved in glucose metabolism- it helps with sugar balance (important for those with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome), may also help in the prevention of diabetes and is important for hormone balance too.
Apples contain only a few nutrients, but the ones they do have are highly important when it comes to health and fertility –and these include the powerful antioxidants vitamin A and C. Vitamin C helps to protect cells and DNA (including that of egg and sperm cells) helping to slow down cell ageing. It also plays a role in male fertility and has been linked to improving sperm quality and preventing agglutination. Vitamin A helps to keep the tissues in the reproductive system healthy, along with ensuring the normal growth and development of embryos during pregnancy. It also helps with tissue repair in the mother after birth has taken place.
Apples contain high levels of plant chemicals including the flavonoid Quercetin which acts an anti-inflammatory and are great for those watching their waistline too as they help to balance blood sugar levels and have a low Glycaemic Load (GL). These properties are important re inflammatory conditions of the reproductive system and to help balance hormones. Apples are high in pectin, a soluble fibre that can help to lower bad cholesterol.
Oats contain healthy unsaturated fats, protein, dietary fibres, disease-fighting phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. They are an excellent slow-release carbohydrate (which help to keep you full for longer) and contain beta glucan, a prebiotic soluble fibre which is great for the gut and heart health, lowering ‘LDL’ cholesterol.
Healthy Rhubarb and Apple Crumble Serves 4
For the topping
- 75g oats
- 30g flour of your choice
- 25g chopped pecans
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 25g unsalted butter, slightly soft
For the filling
- 750g stewed bramley apples
- 300g rhubarb
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Natural sweetener of your choice
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
- To make the crumble topping, combine the oats, pecans, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the maple syrup and soft butter. Stir until fully incorporated.
- For the filling, chop the apples and rhubarb (just the stalk – discard the leaves) and place onto the hob and gently heat until stewed….sweeten with natural sweetener according to taste.
- Transfer the apples and rhubarb to your chosen baking dish (spread the crumble topping over the fruit). Place into the oven for about 40 minutes until cooked.
Cautions: Do not eat the leaves of the Rhubarb plant as they are poisonous, due to a high content of oxalic acid and anthraquinone. Eat only the cooked stems and avoid the raw stem.
Halvorsen B, Carlsen M, Phillips M, Bohn K, Holte K, Jacobs D, Blomhoff R (2006). Content of redox-active compounds (ie, antioxidants) in foods consumed in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr.84(1):95-135.