It’s All About the Carrot!
Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Carrots are one of the most nutritious root vegetables. They are one of the richest vegetable sources of carotene (this gives them their vibrant orange colour), high in fibre and packed full of the antioxidants beta carotene, vitamin C and E and also the minerals calcium and potassium – all great nutrients when it comes to supporting fertility. Beta carotene, also called ‘plant’ vitamin A, is a carotenoid, which is converted into vitamin A by our liver. Beta carotene is generally considered to be safer than retinol which is fat-soluble.
Beta carotene (which the body converts into 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. Beta-carotene also helps to produce the female sex hormones (oestrogen and progesterone). These hormones are important for ovulation and for the regulation of the menstrual cycle.
A study by Harvard researchers printed in the Journal Fertility and Sterility found that vegetables such as carrots, spinach and lettuce rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene can improve sperm motility (its ability to swim toward an egg) – further research needed in this area.
The nutrients provided by carrots have also been linked to offering the following important health benefits:
- Healthy skin
- Improved vision
- Cleansing and flushing toxins out of the body
- Antiseptic properties
- Skin hydration
- Help reduce anxiety
- It Helps protects against heart disease and strokes.
Warming, nutritious recipe idea
Carrot and Sweet Potato Mash (makes 4 portions)
- 500g carrots, peeled and chopped
- 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- Splash of milk of your choice
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and chopped (add more if you wish)
- 25g butter
- Seasoning to taste (salt and pepper).
Place the carrots, sweet potatoes and garlic in a large pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for roughly 10-12 minutes. Drain the water. Add the butter and seasoning, roughly mash, then serve. Enjoy!
Important note: When trying to conceive it is important to avoid consuming too much vitamin A in the Retinol form – as this may increase the risk of birth defects – this is why it is best to avoid pate and liver products pre-conceptually. If you are unsure ask your health care provider such as GP or Qualified Nutritional Therapist/Dietician.
Skoracka, K., Eder, P., Łykowska-Szuber, L., Dobrowolska, A., & Krela-Kaźmierczak, I. (2020). Diet and Nutritional Factors in Male (In)fertility-Underestimated Factors. Journal of clinical medicine, 9(5), 1400. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051400
Sue is a Nutritional Therapist specialising in fertility, women’s health and general wellness. She is the nutritionist for IVF Babble, IVF Babble Africa and Emme Magazine. There are lots of recipes and nutrition articles over on IVF Babble written by Sue in the wellness section- www.ivfbabble.com
Sue is able to offer remote Nutritional Therapy consultations. If you would like more information, do take a look at her website www.suebedfordnutrition.co.uk or send her an email email@example.com