Now that summer seems has finally arrived, we can look forward to the British strawberry season once again. And because strawberries are bursting with nutrients that are particularly good if you are trying to conceive, make sure that you regularly top up on these little bursts of sunshine – but make sure they’re eaten within a day or two of picking, as the amount of vitamin C and antioxidants quickly deteriorates. So, why not get out there and pick your own, you’ll be multi-tasking by having fun, de-stressing and topping up on your vitamin D levels all at the same time!
Strawberries are an excellent powerful antioxidant source, containing high amounts of vitamin C. They also contain the flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin and are a good source of B vitamins, folate, manganese and potassium. Strawberries provide a good source of fibre and contain ellagic acid which is a powerful antioxidant and thought to help fight cancer. It is important as it hunts out and binds to cancer cells which it then neutralises. The flavonoids found in strawberries also help to prevent atherosclerosis, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Strawberries help to reduce inflammation in the body and have shown to reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels when a portion is consumed daily.
Strawberries and your fertility
Strawberries are very low in calories, with 100 grams only containing 33 calories. So, if you are trying to reduce your weight (BMI and your Fertility) to improve your conception chances they are a great addition to breakfast, or just eaten as a sweet snack through the day. The high fibre content will also make you feel fuller for longer in between meals. As mentioned, strawberries are rich in folate. Folate is particularly important in both pre-and post-conception. In pregnant women it is used for cell division and embryo development, helping to reduce birth defects and also helps in pre-conception to counteract ovulation problems. Just 125g of strawberries provides 10 percent of your daily folate needs along with a whole day’s amount of vitamin C. This is important in order to boost the immune system and fight infection and also to increase iron absorption, which is essential for both men and women when trying to conceive. Vitamin C is also important for male fertility, helping to improve sperm motility and shape. So why not start the day off with a summer smoothie (see below).
- Try to buy organic strawberries wherever possible or grow some of your own! Many non-organic strawberries are heavily sprayed with pesticides, so ensure that you wash them thoroughly before eating.
- Make sure you eat strawberries within two days of buying them as the amount of vitamin C and polyphenols quickly decrease.
Here are some quick and easy ideas to help you to add strawberries to your daily diet:
- For breakfast, layer yoghurt, muesli and strawberries.
- Add strawberries to a spinach, basil and green leaf salad – particularly lovely with ground black pepper.
- Dice strawberries, peppers, cucumber and mint into a strawberry salsa – serve with salmon or seabass.
Make your own summer strawberry smoothie
- 200g strawberries
- 1 large banana
- 50g fresh or frozen mixed berries
- A handful of goji berries
- 1 mug of organic milk (or rice, coconut or almond milk if you prefer not to use dairy).
- 1 small organic strawberry yoghurt
- Teaspoon of liquid omega’s (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of wheatgrass or a wheatgrass shot.
Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender. Alter the thickness to suit by adding more or less milk or yoghurt.
- This summer smoothie is packed full of antioxidants which are vital for healthy sperm production and egg cells.
- The wheat grass helps to balance PH levels (alkaline), which is important for sperm survival. It also helps to balance hormone levels.
- The fish oil (omegas) helps to lower inflammation in the body and increases blood flow to the uterus.
- The milk contains protein which is vital for growth and repair of cells.
Strawberry, spinach and chicken toastie
Layer sliced strawberries, spinach leaves, sliced cooked chicken and mozzarella between two slices of wholegrain bread. Gently toast under a grill, in a toastie maker or panini press.
For a vegetarian version, use sliced avocado in place of the chicken.