Does Nutrition Play A Role In Sperm Health?
You betcha!!! Many times, women blame themselves as the sole reason they struggle with conception. But the truth is, MALES contribute to about 50% of all infertility cases (1)!
So what nutrients should you focus on and which ones should you limit?
No (although it does play a big, big role)! Other things that can decrease sperm health include:
Toxic substances that can be found in things like pesticides, heavy metals, and lubricants
Recreational Drugs and Some Prescription Drugs
Hot Temperatures (it’s important for the testes to stay cool)
The great thing about this list though? A lot of these are modifiable which means you have some control over some of the things on this list!
Now just because you should limit these foods does not mean you have to 100% stay away from them. The beautiful part of an overall healthy dietary pattern is that it’s a pattern.
The majority of your diet should be full of nourishing foods, but you’re still allowed to sprinkle in a few treats here and there. Just be mindful of just how often you’re including these foods in your diet.
Caffeine (although studies are inconsistent)
Saturated and Trans Fats
Full Fat Dairy Products (whole milk, cream, cheese, etc)
Basically all vitamins and minerals are important, but I’ll list a few that have been shown to be particularly important for sperm health.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) and Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs)
Polyphenols, Flavonoids, and Antioxidants (all found in fruits and vegetables!)
Vitamin E and Vitamin C
Carotenoids (found in dark red and orange produce)
With all the important nutrients listed above, they can just about all be summed up in two words “fruits” and “vegetables”. So that makes for a pretty short list.
While there are a lot of different foods you want to include in an overall healthy diet. There are a few categories that are important for sperm health.
All Fruits and Vegetables (If I listed them all here it would be waaaay too long of a list)
Fish (especially salmon)
Low Fat Dairy
Nuts, Especially Walnuts (high in omega-3)
What About A “Male Prenatal”?
Why yes, there is such a thing as a “male prenatal”, but it’s not usually called that. I always encourage men trying to conceive to take a male fertility supplement or a multivitamin specific for men.
Remember, even if you are fertile, these supplements are a great safety net to make sure you have healthy sperm.
Nutrition is an important factor for healthy sperm, and you don’t have to be infertile to make healthy changes to your diet.
Try to include healthy lifestyle choices like stopping smoking, limiting alcohol, staying a healthy weight, reducing stress, and being physically active.
Limit unhealthy foods and include lots of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
And remember, your sperm is 50% of your child's genetics so what you are doing now directly affects your future little one.
***talk with your medical provider and dietitian before including any supplements in your diet as supplements may interfere with medical diagnoses and medications.