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Boost Your Fertility Naturally: Expert Dietitian's Guide to the Best Foods For Male Fertility


Man hugging woman with pregnancy test

As a dietitian specializing in perinatal nutrition, I see many clients come to me struggling with infertility. And it’s not just women! Their male partners are sometimes the ones who are struggling with low sperm count and quality. In fact, male fertility rates are DECLINING around the globe (1,2)!


What Causes Male Infertility?


There are lots of different things that can cause infertility. Unfortunately, most people are exposed to a combination of them which can make sperm quality and count lower. Things like BMI/weight, age, environmental toxins, tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, certain medications, certain diagnoses, and of course diet all play a role in male fertility (3,4).


Now some of these things may be out of your control like your age, environmental toxins, and certain medical conditions. But if there are things we can control, like diet, we need to make sure we are optimizing it the best we can. And best of all, diet is a way to naturally boost fertility!


The Connection Between Diet and Male Fertility


Today, many men are eating a diet full of processed foods, high in added sugar, high in saturated fat, high in alcohol, high in processed meats, high in sodium, low in fruits and vegetables, low in fiber, low in whole grains, and low in micronutrients. This “western” style of eating is detrimental to sperm health (5,6).


In addition to this overall dietary pattern, there are certain micronutrients that can affect male fertility. It’s easy to forget sometimes that sperm (just like eggs) are just cells, and antioxidants and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are important for cells to function properly (7). Not only do micronutrients help cells function properly, but it keeps them from becoming damaged! 



Salad with lots of vegetables

Key Nutrients for Enhancing Male Fertility: 


All nutrients are important for sperm health, but the following list are key nutrients we want to highlight:


  • Zinc: Important for sperm quality and function (8)

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Important for quality sperm membranes (9,10)

  • Folate: Just as important for men as women. Helps prevent sperm DNA damage (11)

  • Selenium: An antioxidant improving sperm motility (12)

  • Vitamin E and C: Antioxidants that protect sperm from DNA damage (13)


These nutrients are all natural fertility boosters for men!


Top Fertility Foods For Men (6,14,15):


The general dietary pattern of fertility boosting foods for men includes:


  • AT LEAST 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. They are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and folate. 

  • 2 servings of low mercury fatty fish every week. Great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.

  • 50% or more of grains coming from whole grains. Great sources of folate and fiber.

  • Lean meats, poultry, and legumes for protein, zinc, and selenium.

  • Handful of nuts and seeds, specifically walnuts, brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds.

  • Unsaturated fats from foods like avocados, nuts, fatty fish, and various oils

  • 64+ ounces of water every day


Foods We Want To Limit For Male Fertility (6,14,15,16):


Remember, we don’t have to completely cut out all these foods (that would be REALLY hard to do in today's food system), but we want to limit them as much as possible. 


  • Processed foods

  • Added sugar

  • Refined grains

  • Alcohol (17)

  • Sugar sweetened drinks

  • Saturated fats


Lifestyle Modifications for Improved Male Fertility:


Of course there are some other things we can do to improve male fertility besides diet. Things like limiting environmental toxins such as pesticides, increasing physical activity, and stress management are important factors (16,18,19). 

Creating Your Fertility Meal Plan:


Now that you know what foods to include and foods to limit for male fertility, you can start to plan it all out!


First, take a look at your current diet. Make note of what you’re doing now that is great and what might need improvement. Are you eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day? If not, what are some ways we can get that number up? Are you including quite a few sugar sweetened beverages throughout the week? How can we get that number down a bit? 


Once you figure out your game plan, it’s time to start implementing it!


Almonds drawn like sperm moving towards pomegranate

Conclusion:

While some factors of semen quality and quantity are out of your control, there are some things, like diet, that you CAN control.


There are not really any magic foods that are going to improve your swimmers. Instead, making sure your overall diet pattern includes fertility boosting foods and limits not so helpful foods is the best way to go.


Of course, and I may be biased here, but I highly recommend speaking with a fertility dietitian who will take into account your specific medical and nutrition needs while helping you set some of these goals.


So if you’re ready to take the next step in nourishing yourself and your future children, book your complimentary nutrition clarity call with me today!


Frequently Asked Questions:


What is the best vitamin for male fertility?

Men can take prenatals too! In fact, they make male specific prenatals. My personal favorite fertility supplement for men is FertilAid by Fairhaven Health. A male specific prenatal is helpful in filling any nutritional gaps you may have in your diet. 


Remember, the 3-6 months prior to conception is the most important time for optimizing sperm health so start taking a comprehensive prenatal during this time frame. 


How can a dietitian help if I am already fertile? 

I love this question because it applies to both men and women. Just because you are fertile doesn’t mean you are optimizing your sperm (or egg) to the fullest potential. Remember, sperm and egg are the genetic makeup of your baby and there is no changing that once conception happens. 


You may be fertile, but working with a dietitian that specializes in fertility ensures you are getting all the nutrients you need for the highest quality sperm you can make, setting your baby up for a genetically healthy future!

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