When trying to conceive, ensuring you’re eating a balanced and healthy diet is important to make sure the body is primed for pregnancy.
BUT it’s important for men to eat right, too, in addition to having a generally healthy lifestyle (no smoking, no drinking, no stress, lots of sleep…) to ensure they are as fertile as possible.
Adding some of these ‘superfoods’ to your partner’s diet will help bolster their overall health, help boost their fertility, and may even increase their sperm count.
Here are 12 healthy foods that can help increase sperm count…
Brazil nuts and other types of nut are rich in selenium, the mineral that has the effect of increasing sperm count and helping them become strong swimmers.
It’s not set in stone, but it has been shown in some studies that selenium really does boost health. In fact, Komal Kumar, Specialist Dietitian at the Lister Fertility Clinic, recommends giving them a go – especially instead of a selenium supplement.
“If you choose to get it from whole foods most common sources are nuts especially brazil nut, dairy, fish, poultry, meat, whole grains and lentils,” she explains.
“Having a handful of brazil nuts every few days is an easier way to get the requirement of selenium in comparison to having supplements that may lead to toxicity when overdone.”
Brazil nuts and fertility – what you need to know
2. Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are also a good source of essential fats and zinc – important because low zinc levels have been linked to decreased semen levels.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has antioxidant properties. Nutritional studies have shown intake of lycopene is directly linked to prostate health.
“Processed tomato products are the primary dietary lycopene source. Lycopene has a strong antioxidant potential which influences improvement in sperm motility,” says Komal.
“Lycopene becomes highly available when tomato is processed so canned, bottled and juice of tomato are dense sources.”
4. Pink grapefruit
Not keen on tomatoes? Pink grapefruit also contains lycopene.
“Lycopene is a non-provitamin A carotenoid that is responsible for the red to pink colours seen in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and other foods,” she explains.
5. Whole grains
Eating things like whole grain bread, quinoa, brown rice, and oats can help keep sperm health in tip-top shape.
“Rather than a low carbohydrate diet,” suggests Komal, “a diet rich in low glycaemic index carbohydrates or good carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables improve male fertility as they are rich in important nutrients such as antioxidants and fibre.”
6. Oranges, kiwis, lemons and limes
Fruits high in Vitamin C such as oranges and kiwi fruits have been found to assist in the making of properly functioning sperm, and stops them from massing together.
Vitamin C also helps the body’s absorption of iron, and is generally great for your overall health.
7. Oily Fish
Good fats like Omega 3 and DHA can assist in the improvement of the blood flow to a man’s genitals, which in turn boosts sperm production. The best fish for omega-3s include salmon, swordfish, tuna and sardines.
Are a particularly good source of zinc. Low zinc levels have been connected to a decreased production of seminal fluids, as well as lower testosterone levels.
A healthy intake of zinc is important for maintaining vascular health as well, which improves the ability to achieve and maintain erections. Good sources include oysters, clams and mussels.
9. Lean meat and poultry
Protein-rich foods such as lean meat and poultry contain co-enzyme Q10 – the nutrient acts as an antioxidant and energy-releasing agent and is thought to stabilize the integrity of the sperm flagella (tail of the sperm).
Another great source of protein, wth the same benefits as lean meat and poultry. Of course, this is probably the best option if your partner is vegetarian or pescetarian.
11. Lots of water
Keep fully hydrated as this helps to maintain energy levels high and helps the fluency, texture, and consistency of sperm stay within healthy parameters.
Try to avoid drinks containing caffeine and alcohol as these do dehydrate the body.
12. Leafy vegetables
It is well known that 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.
Recent studies found that men who consume high levels of folic acid (over 700 mcg a day) actually lower their risk of sperm abnormalities by 20 to 30%. Folic acid can be found naturally in pulses and dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli.
When cooking, make sure to steam them, to help keep the nutrients in.
One thing to add…
A generally healthy and balanced diet is the key! Don’t you and your partner go mad with the brazil nuts in lieu of eating from a wide range of food groups.
Images: Stock image via Getty Images