Is Your Man's Diet Stopping You from Getting Pregnant?

As couples prepare for pregnancy, it's easy to focus only on the woman’s health. However, future baby daddies need to prepare their bodies, namely their sperm, for a healthy conception, too!

Issues of fertility do not rest solely on the female. In fact, male fertility factors contribute to approximately 50% of all infertility cases.

Taking steps to optimize his health and the health of his tiny swimmers is critical.

Here are a few ways to boost his sperm quality today:

1. Minimize toxin exposure.

Sperm are sensitive to industrial pollutants. Sperm abnormalities have been linked to the following toxins, termed “reprotoxicants” for their negative effects on sperm development and maturation. Make the appropriate lifestyle changes to avoid the following:
  • Heavy metals: found in unfiltered water, personal hygiene products, seafood
  • Pesticides: found in non-organic produce 
  • Herbicides: found on park lawns, soccer fields, baseball fields, intramural sports fields, golf courses, and in many backyards.
  • Formaldehyde: found in pressed wood products, hair products, fabric softeners, and many household products
  • BPA: found in plastics, water-bottles, aluminum cans
  • Dry-cleaning chemicals: found on traditionally dry-cleaned clothes
  • Organic solvents: found in household chemicals and paints
2.  Eat fresh, whole foods.
 
Avoid processed and packaged foods and buy certified organic produce. If you can’t afford to buy all organic, steer clear of  the “Dirty Dozen.” The Environmental Working Group has found that people can lower their pesticide by almost 80% by avoiding the top 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables (or buying them organic) and eating the “clean fifteen” instead. Fruits and vegetables that made the Dirty Dozen list include strawberries, celery, and apples.
 
3.  Stop smoking. 

Studies show that smoking can harm sperm quality. A study in Germany showed that men who smoke heavily may experience fertility problems and damage to sperm's DNA.

4. Minimize alcohol consumption. 

Alcohol consumption has also been linked with lowering both the quantity and quality of sperm. Some fertility specialists advise that when men are planning a baby, they should cut back completely on how much they drink and especially avoid all binge drinking.

5. Avoid animal-derived estrogens. 

Dairy products account on average for 60-70% of estrogens consumed. Consumption of dairy products has been linked to certain cases of male infertility.

6. Lose weight. 

A 2008 UK study found that men with a higher body mass index (BMI) had smaller volumes of seminal fluid and a higher proportion of abnormal sperm. Other studies have suggested an association between male obesity and increased DNA damage in sperm.

7. Don't over-exercise. 

Exercise moderately, particularly while you're actively trying to conceive. Over exercising can cause the internal temperature of a man's testicles to rise and sperm to overheat and die off. Also, men who over exercise and become underweight can also experience increased sperm mortality and poor sperm morphology.

8. Eat foods with sperm-enhancing nutrients. 

A healthy, balanced diet is important throughout all stages of life. But there are a few foods that are especially good at helping make healthy, moving, high quality sperm.
  • Zinc: oysters, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, peanuts
  • Selenium: Brazil nuts, meat, seafood, mushrooms and cereals.
  • Vitamin C: strawberries, broccoli and kiwi fruit
  • Lycopene: tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit
  • Vitamin A: paprika, carrots, dark leafy greens, liver
  • B vitamins: dark leafy greens, legumes, nutritional yeast, pomegranates, lean meats
9. Drink filtered water. 

Drink filtered water to ensure your drinking water is clean and pure. Our waterways are polluted by industrial waste and their byproducts, as well as pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides, herbicides and commercial cleaning products. Heavy metals are the most common of the reprotoxicants reaching our water supply through industrial waste, jet fuel exhaust residue, and a variety of other sources.

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About the Author

Alejandra Carrasco, M.D. is the founder of NOURISH , an innovative medical practice in Austin, TX that attends to all aspects of an individual’s life, including health, family, community, nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, self-care, and renewal.

"Dr. Alex" wants to Revive Primary Care and she is passionate about helping patients tap into the awesome wisdom of the body through integrative and functional medicine. She is board certified in Family Medicine, as well as Integrative and Holistic Medicine, and has spent hundreds of hours studying nutrition, functional medicine, and integrative medicine.  

Her ultimate goal is to give people the tools, inspiration, and information to live vibrant and nourished lives.

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