Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
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 as an anti-inflammatory and are great for those watching their waistline too as they help to balance blood sugar levels and have a low Glycemic 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.
Blackberries possess one of the highest contents of antioxidant phytonutrients in food, nearly as high as blueberries. They contain a good amount of folate which is important in sperm formation and also in the prevention of neural tube defects in the developing foetus. Blackberries are rich in the antioxidants Vitamins C and E. In studies, vitamin E been shown to help increase fertility rates during ICSI and also to help women over 35 if her fertility problems are caused by her age. Vitamin C helps to protect the sperm and eggs cells and the DNA contained within in them from oxidative stress. It is also an important vitamin for sperm health and in studies has been linked to improving sperm quality.
Healthy Blackberry and Apple Crumble Serves 4
For the topping
30g whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour
25g chopped pecans
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
25g unsalted butter, slightly soft
For the filling
750g stewed Bramley Apples
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
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 place onto the hob and gently heat until stewed.
Transfer the apples to your chosen baking dish and add the blackberries (we are using the ones we picked last month out of the freezer and spread the crumble topping over the fruit. Place into the oven for about 40 minutes until cooked.
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.
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