Sprouts are also for life, if you are trying to create one. Brussels Sprouts are named after their popularity in Belgium. They are a leaf vegetable about 2.5cm in diameter and resemble a small cabbage. They have long been a constituent of the traditional British Christmas dinner. In the two weeks before Christmas, supermarkets sell 750m of them, enough for a serving for each and every citizen!
The problem with these little cabbages is that 50% of them will go to waste because many people can’t stand the taste. In fact, there is a scientific basis for this difference of opinion. Those of us who possess the TAS2R38 gene find Brussels sprouts bitter tasting, whereas those of us without the gene find them quite palatable. So, there is a good chance that there are lots of them being thrown out in the UK at the moment in the post-holiday clearing out. But are we being too hasty in consigning them to the bin?
A fertility superfood
It turns out that sprouts are mini powerhouses packed full of vitamins and minerals that are vital for fertility. Available nutrients include sulforaphane, which combined with folate, magnesium and fibre, helps the body in the elimination of excess hormones. This boosts fertility as even a slight imbalance of hormones can have a huge impact.
In addition, sulforaphane triggers an increase in the activity of antioxidant enzymes that fight inflammation and allows DNA to protect and repair itself.
As well as sulforaphane, sprouts are full of B vitamins including folate, which is essential for fertility. It helps line a woman’s womb with nutrients that nourish the womb and increase the chance for sperm survival. It is also important in the prevention of neural tube defects. And it’s not just women who benefit folic acid is important for sperm health too.
The superfood has some high-profile adherents. Back in 2011 Vanity Fair magazine reported that the UK’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, insisted on sprouts being made available in their private villa on their honeymoon. It seemed to work for them. Celebrities aside, nutritional experts also say it makes sense. December is the most popular month in terms of conceiving with around 9% of all conceptions taking place in the month and although parties and a relaxed convivial atmosphere contribute to this, sprouts may well play a part.
Neera Savvides, Harley Street Nutritional Expert said, “Believe it or not, this green micro-cabbage is a baby-making superfood. Firstly, they are bursting with folic acid, which is essential for boosting fertility in both men and women. The vitamin rich source also increases sperm levels and helps line the womb with the right nutrients raising sperm survival chances. Another benefit of this folate-rich food is that it helps to decrease the risk of miscarriages and birth defects.”
So, if you are trying to conceive think before you consign this year’s unwanted sprouts to the bin. And, like William and Kate, consider having them more often than just your Christmas dinner once a year.