There are a number of environmental, physical and psychological factors that can have an effect on sperm health. However, did you know that what you eat (and what you don't eat) can increase sperm count and sperm motility? Use the below tips to change up your diet to increase your chances of having healthy sperm.
If you are planning a family and have had some trouble conceiving, you may need to consult a health professional. However, before you resort to medical treatment, there are some simple things you can do to give your reproductive cells the best chance of doing their job by eating a diet of sperm-boosting foods and avoiding things that are detrimental to sperm health. Try the following - with a little bit of time, they can increase overall health and lead to better probability of conceiving.
Deficiencies in vitamin A have been linked to sluggish sperm and lowered fertility. Eat plenty of red peppers, oats, carrots, dried apricots, sweet potatoes, spinach and broccoli to give you a vitamin A boost.
Vitamin C, found in good amounts in strawberries, asparagus, fruit and yellow veggies, has a positive effect on sperm viability and motility (the swimming ability of sperm).
Vitamins C, E and B12 are also great antioxidants that can help boost sperm production and motility by fighting harmful free radicals.
A good multivitamin supplement is a great idea if you feel that you’re not getting enough of the sperm-supporting vitamins from your regular diet. Whilst getting your nutrients from diet is important, taking a multivitamin is one way to top up any nutritional shortcomings in your diet.
Inadequate levels of zinc can cause lowered sperm counts. Natural sources of this mineral include eggs, turkey, oysters, seafood, pumpkin seeds, beef, oats, lamb, yoghurt, nuts and barley. Selenium is also thought to be beneficial to sperm motility and health. You can get it by eating Brazil nuts, red meat, cottage cheese, poultry and eggs. If you don't think you are getting enough zinc or selenium, a multivitamin may help. However, be sure to stick within the recommended dose, as high levels of both these minerals can become toxic.
Studies have shown that fertile men’s sperm tend to contain greater amounts of polyunsaturated fats, specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, than that of infertile men. They’re found in walnuts, chia seeds, omega-3 supplements like calamari oil and fish like anchovies, sardines and salmon.
Some men who have been taking dietary supplements containing folic acid in combination with zinc have experienced increases in sperm counts of as much as 70% and research suggests that men with low folic acid levels tend to have more sperm cells with chromosomal (genetic) abnormalities. Keep your levels up by eating leafy green veggies, whole grain foods, avocados, beans and fruit.
Lycopene, a bright red carotene found in tomatoes, tomato sauce, carrots, watermelons and paw paw, has been shown to help increase sperm count.
By drinking plenty of water throughout the day you can counteract dehydration, which is one of the main factors associated with low semen volume.
Chemical pesticides can remain on the foods you buy from the shop and are known to have detrimental effects on sperm health and fertility. Always wash fresh produce thoroughly before eating it, or better yet, go organic.
Bisphenol-A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical found in some plastics has been linked to decreased sperm health and many researchers believe that our biggest exposure to it comes from food packaging. The insides of many food and beverage cans are coated with BPA-containing resin and especially high levels are found in canned acidic foods including certain fruits and tomato sauce. Choose fresh food and food bottled in glass containers rather than canned items.
Excessive alcohol consumption can damage sperm. Keep your intake to moderate levels when you’re trying to be fertile.
Research suggests that a diet high in saturated and mono-unsaturated fats, such as those found in bacon, processed meats, sausages, ham and butter, can lead to poor sperm health.
There a number of other every-day substances and practices that are no good for your sperm, such as:
A number of drugs, both recreational and medicinal, are known to have harmful effects on sperm. These include opiates, steroids and cytotoxic drugs used in cancer treatment. Alcohol abuse can lead to infertility... if you must drink, do so in moderation.
Smokers have been shown to have diminished fertility compared to non-smokers.
As unbelievable as it may sound, high temperatures can have a negative effect on sperm production. Hot baths and showers, wearing excessive underwear and even sitting for prolonged periods (for example, sitting in traffic or at a desk) may have a detrimental effect on sperm production.
Tight underpants, especially ones made of synthetic materials have been linked to infertility. Wear boxers made of cotton that allow some freedom of movement instead.
This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on male health, visit www.health365.com.au.