Correlations between lifestyle and male fertility have been made in numerous studies over recent years. Some show that well fed sperm cells are most likely to achieve successful fertilization, while others confirm what most of us already suspected: that bad diet and lifestyle choices are an important cause of male infertility.
Saturated fats reduce sperm counts, whole grains and fruits boost them
Saturated fats, are not just harder to digest, they may even be responsible for dwindling sperm counts in men. A recent study on young Danish men found that those who had a diet high in foods containing a lot of saturated fats (cheese, cream, fatty meats, chocolate and processed foods) also had 38 percent lower sperm concentrations and 41 percent lower sperm counts than men who did not consume an excess of saturated fats.
Last year, a Brazilian study found that whole grains have a positive impact on sperm counts and viability, and that increased consumption of fresh fruits boosted sperm speed and agility. Things like obesity, drug, alcohol and coffee consumption, but also excessive heat, have the opposite effect, reducing motility (which describes how well the sperm “swims”).
Top five food groups to boost sperm count
Not all fats are created equal: heart-healthy Omega-3 is also great for your sperm. A study published in the journal Human Reproduction found that men who had a higher intake of Omega-3 had the healthiest looking sperms. Flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp, and walnuts are bursting with Omega-3 fats, vitamin D, protein, dietary fiber, iron, calcium, and disease fighting antioxidants. According to best selling pregnancy and parenting author Heidi Murkoff, Omega-3 fats have the ability to improve blood flow to the genital area, which in turn ensures better sexual function and healthier sperm cells.
Kale, spinach, collards, asparagus, avocados and beans are loaded with folic acid, which is an important constituent of healthy sperms. Low levels of folic acid have been linked to sperm cells with chromosomal abnormalities.
Oysters and blackcurrant, but also spices like mustard, sesame, and celery seeds are excellent sources of zinc and selenium, trace elements that have been strongly linked to male fertility. One study found that zinc deficiency decreased testicular function in four out of five men.
Citrus fruits, red peppers and sweet potatoes contain some folic acid as well, but more importantly, they are rich in vitamin C, which is necessary for folic acid absorption. Vitamin C also reduces oxidative stress on sperm cells, improving their life span and motility.
Vitamin A is crucial for the maturation of healthy sperm cells. It is used in very precise biological processes that ensure the replication of healthy genetic material. Low vitamin A intake in men could undermine the sperm cells chances of reaching and fertilizing the egg. Heidi Murkoff described sperm low in vitamin A as “sluggish” in her 2009 best selling book “What to expect before you’re expecting.”
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