The well-being of your sperm may not be something you think of on a daily basis, but if you are planning to become a father anytime soon, you might as well do whatever you can to ensure that your tiny bundles of genetic propagators are healthy & plentiful.
There are a number of treatment options to improve the health of your sperm and your fertility, including fertility drugs, surgery and assisted reproductive technology. But before you resort to these there are many 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 harmful to sperm health.
For plenty of happy and viable sperm, include the following in a balanced diet:
Vitamins: Deficiencies in vitamin A have been linked to sluggish sperm and lowered fertility. Eat plenty of spinach, carrots, dried apricots,oats, sweet potatoes,red peppers 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).
A good multivitamin supplement is a good idea if you feel that you are not getting enough vitamins from your daily diet.
Minerals: Insufficient levels of Zinc cause lowered sperm counts. Natural sources of this mineral include eggs, turkey, beef,lamb, seafood, pumpkin seeds, oats, yogurt, barley, nuts and oysters.
Selenium is also thought to be beneficial to sperm motility and health. Eat Brazil nuts, red meat, cottage cheese, poultry and eggs to get in some selenium.
Fatty acids: Studies have shown that fertile men’s sperm tends to contain greater amounts of polyunsaturated fats, specifically Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids, than that of infertile men. They are found in walnuts and fish like anchovies, sardines and salmon.
Folic acid: 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 are inclined to have more sperm cells with chromosomal (genetic) abnormalities. By eating leafy green veggies, whole grain foods, avocados, beans and fruit you will Keep your levels up.
Lycopene: Lycopene, a bright red carotene found in tomatoes, tomato sauce, carrots, watermelons and pawpaw, has been shown to help increase sperm counts.
Water: By drinking plenty of water throughout the day you can counteract dehydration which is one of the main factors associated with low semen volume.
Foods to avoid:
Pesticide-laced fruit and veg Chemical pesticides which are generously sprayed onto many food crops and residues of which may remain on the vegetables and fruit you buy at the shop, are known to have negative effects on fertility & sperm health. Always wash your fresh produce thoroughly before eating it, or better yet, go organic.
Canned food 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.
Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can damage sperm. When you’re trying to be fertile keep your intake to moderate levels.
Saturated fats: 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.
Assorted sperm killers:
There a number of other every-day substances and practices that are no good for your sperm, such as:
Drugs: 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.
Smoking: Smokers have been shown to have diminished fertility compared to non-smokers.
Plastics: Sex toys made of vinyl are potential sources of phthalates, plastic-softening chemicals linked to, among other things, infertility. Vinyl shower curtains and some scented cleaners, shampoos and soaps also contain phthalates.
Frequent hot baths: They have been shown to lower sperm counts. Rather take a shower.
Clothing: Underpants that are too tight and that are made of synthetic materials have been linked to infertility, Wear baggy boxers made of cotton instead.
29 March 2011