By Sue Bedford (MSc nutritional Therapy)
Fancy making this ‘nutritious and delicious’ Pomegranate and Aubergine dip with some of your favourite crudites as a great fertility friendly snack swop?
Pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits and has been a symbol of health and fertility for centuries. Pomegranates are an excellent source of flavonoids and polyphenols. They also contain vitamin C, vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) and folate, along with, vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc and fibre. In relation to fertility, pomegranates possess anti-inflammatory properties. They are also thought to support fertility by helping balance hormones and increasing blood flow to the uterus. Pomegranate is rich in zinc- this has been shown to increase sperm count and sperm quality – both are important for successful conception.
Aubergine is part of the nightshade family along with tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes. It is a fruit and is classed as a berry, but often cooked as a vegetable. Nutritionally it 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. Aubergine needs to be cooked as it is too bitter otherwise. Aubergine provides heart health benefits as it contains flavonoids such as Nasunin that protect the heart from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Dark purple varieties are rich in the antioxidant Cholorgenic acid which helps to balance blood sugar levels (important when it comes to fertility as this will help to balance hormone levels too). Aubergine is very versatile when it comes to cooking and is great when baked, roasted and fried.
Pomegranate and Aubergine dip (serves 3-4)
Seeds of ½ pomegranate (remove any white pith)
1 medium aubergine
1 clove of garlic
½ – 1 fresh chilli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 handful of fresh coriander
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Pinch of sea-salt and black pepper
Slice the aubergine in half lengthways and place into a preheated oven (180 degrees C) for around 30-40 minutes until soft, remove and allow to cool. Crush/chop finely the chilli and garlic in a garlic press and finely chop the coriander. Place the aubergine, garlic, chilli, lemon and seasoning and coriander into a food processor and combine them together.
Place into a bowl, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and enjoy with crudites or a piece of sourdough.