The Fertility Diet For Men

Although much of the fertility focus falls on women, men are an essential part of the conception equation as well. Specific lifestyle changes, like minimizing stress and quitting smoking, can improve sperm health, but what about daily diet? Researchers have found that incorporating more fruits and vegetables and eating less processed meat can help improve sperm health.


Understanding sperm health

Unlike women, men continue to make sperm throughout adult life. New sperm are made every day, but a complete sperm regeneration process takes about 74 days. There are several reasons why men may have a low sperm count or poor-quality sperm. Hormonal imbalances, physical blockages, certain illnesses, injuries, and lifestyle choices can all affect sperm health. Although less well understood, researchers are beginning to show that diet also plays a vital role in male fertility. Understanding which foods to incorporate and which to avoid can ensure a smooth path to pregnancy.

1. Avoid processed meat

From hot dogs and salami to bacon and beef jerky, processed meats can make for a delicious meal or snack. However, this food category has also been linked with several adverse health outcomes, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Several studies also show an association between processed red meat intake and decreased sperm count. To improve fertility, consider cutting down on processed meat or switching out red meat for healthier options. Other foods to avoid include soy, trans fats, and high-fat dairy.

2. More veggies

Several studies have shown that plant-based foods high in antioxidants such as coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), vitamin C, and lycopene can improve sperm health. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, broccoli, and kale, are great options to include in a diet. Although going completely plant-based isn’t necessary, men looking to follow a specific diet may want to turn to vegetarianism or the Mediterranean diet. Both options have been shown to improve sperm quality.

3. Don’t forget antioxidants

Vitamin E and C, N-acetyl cysteine, CoQ10, selenium, zinc, folic acid, and lycopene are beneficial antioxidants that improve male fertility. Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in the body and protect sperm from reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are produced. Many studies show a positive relationship between antioxidants and improved male infertility. Carrots, blueberries, artichokes, kale, raspberries, and even dark chocolate are rich in antioxidants.

Better diet, improved fertility

A handful of blueberries here and there won’t do much for overall fertility, but with consistent dietary improvements, men may see an improvement in sperm quality and quantity. In addition to more fruits and veggies and less processed meats, a daily multivitamin can help cover the bases. An over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin should include the necessary basics, like vitamin E, zinc, and folic acid, but antioxidant powerhouses like CoQ10 may need to be purchased separately. Better fertility health is possible with the right dietary choices.

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