One of the most common causes of male infertility is a low sperm count, affecting around one in three couples who are struggling to get pregnant. When trying to start a family (either naturally or through assisted conception), it is important to ensure your body is in the right condition. If your diet is lacking the proper nutrients, then your ability to conceive could be reduced.
Neema Savides, Nutritional Therapist at Harley Street Fertility Clinic runs through a few simple dietary changes that can have a significant impact on the quantity and quality of your sperm:
FERTILITY BOOSTING FOODS:
Bananas: contain a rare enzyme called Bromelain, which has been shown to regulate sex hormones. There’s also a good amount of vitamin B1, vitamin A, and vitamin C which will help increase stamina and boost the body’s ability to make sperm.
Folic acid: is essential for women who are trying to get pregnant, but what may come as a surprise to you is that it is important for men too. In fact, recent studies found that men who consume high levels of folic acid (over 700 mcg a day) lower their risk of sperm abnormalities by 20 to 30%. Folic acid can be found in dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and green beans.
Walnuts: are full of omega-3 fatty acids that help boost sperm volume and production by increasing blood flow to the testicles. Walnuts also contains twice as much antioxidants than other nuts, helping you fight toxins in your blood stream. They’re a great way to add flavour and crunch to salads or as a nutritious mid-afternoon snack to help manage blood sugar levels.
…and two things to give up
Diet drinks: research shows that aspartame (sweetener widely used in diet drinks) is linked with lower sperm count and can contribute to sperm DNA damage. A fantastic alternative for a fizzy fix is swapping it for some sparkling mineral water.
Alcohol: heavy intake has been linked to reduced libido, impotence and decreased sperm quality. The good news is even if you’ve been drinking regularly, the effects of alcohol on male fertility can be reversed. So, if you are aiming to conceive in the future, start reducing your alcohol intake now.
For more information about fertility and nutrition visit www.hsfc.org.uk