Fertility is such a complex idea, and it is not as easy as Hollywood and some would make it seem. There are always multiple things at play, and while there may seem to be many who have no problem conceiving, it is a real problem for a lot of couples out there. There are couples who are desperately trying to have a baby, and they need the help of fertility clinics and medical professionals. There are also those who are not trying to conceive just yet, but they want to know what they should (or should not) do to give them the best chance possible.
When the world looks at fertility, they often think of women. That is likely because the role that women play in pregnancy and childbirth is so momentous, but when it comes to conceiving, it is 50/50. Men have just as much of an impact on conceiving as women do, and their sperm is needed to fertilize an egg that will go on to implant and produce a healthy baby. This means there are some things we need to look at when trying to conceive, from a dads-to-be perspective.
What men eat and drink can have a large impact on their fertility, so we are going to do a complete guide to look at male fertility, and how it can be impacted by the foods that they eat.
A Quick Recap Of Sperm Health
Let’s take a closer look at male fertility, and sperm, to make sure we have a basic understanding of how it works biologically. According to Healthline, the health of sperm is an important factor to think about when it comes to conceiving a child.
When we look at all the couples who struggle with infertility, 30 to 40% of couples struggle due to male factor infertility. When you look at healthy sperm, it needs to have good motilityor its ability to travel into the Fallopian tubes and to an egg for fertility. Sperm count is another thing to take into consideration, and that is how many a male is releasing at once. The more sperm that is released, the higher the chance that one will make it to the egg. All it takes is 1 sperm, but speed and health are important factors.
What Men Should Be Eating When Conceiving
If couples are reading this, and they want to get started on making sure their whole body is healthy for conceiving, there are definitely some foods that dad-to-be should consider including in his diet.
According to Fertility Family, the food you eat can impact the motility, the quality, and the sperm count and while there may be some things that are beyond a man’s control, his diet is one of them that he can control.
- Nuts, specifically walnuts, are a great booster.
- A previous study had shown that 75 g of walnuts every day helped to improve the vitality, and motility of sperm. This is one of the best foods to incorporate, and it can be incredibly easy to do. The reason they are so beneficial is that they are a great source of micronutrients, natural antioxidants, and fatty acids.
- Another great thing to incorporate is spinach or other leafy greens.
- They are rich in folate and folate is a key micronutrient when it comes to DNA synthesis, and it can help improve the quality of sperm.
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and peas are also great for men.
- The good news is that red meat is also beneficial for men’s sperm quality and countas long as it is lean, steak and other red meats are great sources of zincsomething that has been directly linked to male fertility.
What Not To Eat When Trying To Conceive
There are also lists of food that men who want to be dads should avoid. According to What To Expect, these items may not be that surprising, but they can be hard to cut out of a diet since they do make us feel good when we eat them.
- Junk food as a whole should be cut out, research has proven that sweetened snacks and drinks can hurt the quality of sperm.
- Drinks like caffeine and alcohol can also impair male fertility. Coffee, tea, energy drinks, and alcohol have all been shown to reduce sperm count in men.
- Dairy items that are high in fat should also be avoided. They have all been shown to impact male fertility, and men are advised to switch to low-fat milk, or a milk alternative if they are trying to conceive.
- When in doubt, you should always be picking the low-fat version of any dairy product.
- When it comes to meat, red meat may be great, but processed meat is not.
- This means items like bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and deli meat can all have a negative impact on male fertility. If you want a healthier alternative, go for something like lean beef.
Is There A “Sperm Problem?”
According to The University of Chicago Medicine, there has been a trend in recent years that has seen sperm count dropping overall. A recent study has found that over the last 38 years, sperm count has dropped by 59% and diet is blamed as being one of the main culprits.
While they don’t know for sure, they are using an educated guess to suggest that changes in diets are harming male fertility. As we see changes in how Americans eat, and that more are leaning towards quicker meals, they contain a lot of processed foods that we know harm sperm count and motility.
When it comes to trying to conceive, there are many things to think about, and while couples are advised to try naturally for one year before seeking medical opinions, there are things that men can do.
According to Motherly, it is important to remember that men will need to introduce these diet changes at least three months before they want to conceive. That is because that is how long it can take for sperm to reach maturity. It also means that if men have just started these diet changes, they may not notice a positive pregnancy test immediately. It is best to continue with the diet for a few months before you start to think that the changes are not working.
Sources: Healthline, Family Fertility, What To Expect, University of Chicago Medicine, Motherly