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Fertility Foods For Men - From Fertility Dietitian Nutritionist

sperm made from seeds moving towards bell pepper

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)!

But here’s the thing… Even if you are fertile, it’s still important that you have healthy sperm (2,3). After all, your sperm makes up half of your baby’s genetics!

So what nutrients should you focus on and which ones should you limit?

Is Nutrition The Only Factor? (1,3)

No (although it does play a big, big role)! Other things that can decrease sperm health include:

  • Smoking

  • Sedentary Lifestyle

  • Extra Weight

  • Stress

  • 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!

Foods To Limit (2,3,4)

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.

  • Alcohol

  • Caffeine (although studies are inconsistent)

  • Processed Meats

  • Saturated and Trans Fats

  • Full Fat Dairy Products (whole milk, cream, cheese, etc)

  • Added Sugars

Couple sitting on bed celebrating positive pregnancy test

Important Nutrients (2,3,5,6)

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)

  • Zinc

  • Lycopene

  • Folate/Folic Acid

Foods To Include (2,3,5,6)

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.

Couple kissing and celebrating positive pregnancy test

Final Thoughts

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.

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