How diet affects sperm

You are what you eat, and so are your sperm. Discover the positive influence nutrition can have on sperm health.

As with most health issues, nutrition is absolutely key and is one of the biggest influencers of sperm health. A few small changes in your diet can have a huge impact on your chances of success when it comes to conceiving.

Foods rich in antioxidants can help to combat the damaging effects of free radicals. A diet high in good quality fruit, vegetables and unprocessed meat is essential, because of their antioxidant elements and their high content of vitamins and minerals.

Where possible, organic meat and vegetables are best.  Generally, meat should be lean and low fat. Saturated fats, as found in red meat and processed meats, are particularly bad for sperm health so these should be limited. Fish is generally very good, especially those higher in Omega 3s, such as Salmon, Mackerel and Trout.

Nuts and seeds are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals and can prove a useful snack.

Antioxidant-rich foods include:

  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruit – grapes and blueberries
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Fish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Pulses and beans

Foods men should avoid during fertility treatment

Just as important as getting the right nutrients is limiting the wrong foods. Processed, fried, burnt or barbecued foods are all known to increase free radicals.

Caffeine and alcohol too raise free radicals and it’s important for fertility to limit their intake, whilst maintaining good levels of hydration by drinking plenty of water.

Many men question whether they should cut out alcohol altogether and you will find varying advice on this. My understanding is that staying within recommended daily limits will not adversely affect your sperm. The big “no nos”, however, are smoking, recreational drugs and anabolic steroids.

Obesity can be a big factor for fertility and research shows that being overweight can reduce the quality and quantity of your sperm. By cleaning up your diet and exercising regularly you should be able to maintain a healthy weight which is a good idea if you’re trying to conceive.

Foods to avoid

  • Processed foods
  • Fried, burnt and barbecued foods
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Tobacco
  • Recreational drugs
  • Saturated fats
  • Refined sugars

Get the right advice for your needs

There are many other tweaks and additions that men can look at so it’s worth getting more detailed advice on what you can be doing to help improve your fertility. What’s important is getting the advice that is right for you and your specific needs.

For some people, making dietary changes can be hard work and bewildering and for some it can feel like the curse of a never-ending New Year’s resolution! If you’re someone who needs help and support, then drop me a line and I can help you find a way. Often, it’s about making small changes over a period of time to get the best long-term results, rather than jumping on a crash diet. It’s also about balance in all areas of your diet.

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