Understand the relationship between food and male fertility.

For any and all improvements we seek in our health, the first step we need to take is to adjust our diet. With today’s lifestyle, it is very common for there to be some oversights with our food choices, and these oversights can have an impact on all spheres of our health. In the case of man’s fertility, this rule seems to have a very special value!

Of all the couples who seek specialized support due to difficulties in obtaining a pregnancy, we find the participation of men in about 50% of cases. This means that improving men’s fertile potential can assist an enormous number of couples . It is worth remembering that the causes for male infertility are the most diverse and include genetic inheritance, varicocele, drug use (marijuana, cocaine), smoking, alcohol abuse, exposure to toxic agents (pesticides, radiation, some chemicals, pollution) , use of some medications, anabolic steroids and obesity. In this wide range of causes, everything we eat and absorb also plays an important role. And when it comes to restoring male fertility, every detail counts – a lot!For the body to produce quality sperm, with adequate shape, that can move well and fertilize the egg, an adequate nutritional balance is necessary .

In this sense, it is known that the increased consumption of fruits, vegetables (especially orange, tomatoes and dark green leaves), birds, fish and seafood reduces the risk of seminal changes such as asthenozoospermia . In turn, excess consumption of red (bovine) and processed meats (sausages such as ham, bologna, salami, sausage, sausage. Sweets, soft drinks and yellow cheeses can increase the chance of this same problem. Substances such as vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene may be associated with improved total motility, as well as the amount of sperm produced. This means that increased consumption of foods such as lemon, orange, carrot, pumpkin, kiwi, acerola, tomato and spinach are related to an improvement in sperm parameters. Another group of nutrients that also impairs the quality of semen: The famous trans fats. These fats are present in margarine, filled biscuits, snacks, whipped cream , microwave popcorn, nuggets and frozen frozen foods and processed foods in general. Tip: this nutrient can be present as hydrogenated vegetable fat, an item that can appear on the list of ingredients described on the label. Frequent consumption of these foods can lead to a worsening of the total sperm count , in addition to greater production of free radicals, which harm not only the sperm morphology (leading to teratozoospermia ). And that means that, even when there are no changes in the spermogram, overdoing these foods can reduce the chances of a good sperm functioning ! The excellent Mediterranean food style (food based on olive oil, fish, poultry and seafood, vegetables, fruits and vegetables, whole foods and nuts; and less consumption of processed foods and red meat) has been shown to be beneficial to the proper functioning of the testis and associated with better semen quality, mainly reflected in higher sperm counts.

Therefore, considering the latest scientific evidence, here are some tips to modify the diet of men who seek to conceive:

  • Include orange and dark green foods in your main meals: in general, foods with these colors are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and antioxidants, important substances for better sperm quality. Carrots, pumpkin, orange, lemon, arugula, watercress, spinach and kale are good examples.
  • Foods rich in antioxidants are essential for better sperm morphology and reduce DNA damage caused by free radicals. Foods such as berries, garlic, ginger, lychee, spinach, lemon, blueberry, chestnuts, walnuts and almonds, red grape, broccoli, açaí and eggs are the ones that contain  this substance.
  • Attention to the type of meat: Red meats, above all, fat cuts, such as picanha, ribeye, termite, ribs, flank steak, bacon and pancetta , are rich in saturated fats, related to the worsening of semen quality and to increased inflammation and accumulation of abdominal fat, a situation that also contributes to the worsening of semen. Invest more in white meats like fish and poultry, and eggs or mushrooms as sources of protein.
  • Control abdominal circumference: excess body fat also impairs the quality of sperm and its production, so stay in shape. A balanced diet, with less sugars, bad fats, more caloric foods and excess alcohol, combined with exercise, is essential to having a healthy weight.
  • Whole foods : cateto type rice, 7 grains, black and red rice, coarse flakes and oat bran are rich in zinc, an important nutrient for spermatogenesis. In addition, oysters, fish, seaweed, rolled oats and cereals are nutrient rich  .
  • Include, between meals, a small portion of chestnuts, nuts and almonds:  The famousnutsare very rich in selenium and good fats that help to improve the quality of the sperm. In addition, this habit can help to reduce hunger at main meals, only pay attention to the quantity. The recommendation is a handful of them a day.
  • Attention to the type of oil and fat to be used in food preparation: vegetable oils such as olive oil, canola, soy or avocado have a good proportion between types of omega-3 and 6, in addition to being good sources of vitamin E, important for the production of a good sperm. Animal fats such as lard, bacon , butter and margarine and coconut oil have more saturated fats, which impair semen quality.
  • Sunbathe and eat fish and seafood: Vitamin D is an important nutrient for semen quality, being related to the improvement of sperm motility. Exposure of 15 to 30 minutes a day to the sun is indicated to improve the levels of this vitamin in the blood, in addition to the consumption of the main sources, such as fish, algae and mushrooms.

All this information always points to the same direction that should guide measures for those who would like to increase their fertile potential: balance. It is very clear that, for fertility, it is also important to seek a balanced diet. Avoiding exaggeration, diversifying the menu and looking for natural alternatives are good requests for all the body’s functioning. And for sperm production it would be no different!

As it could not be, in addition to the classic suggestion of greater balance and care with food, follows the tip of a shake to make at home and improve seminal quality, combining the various information found in all the studies discussed. This recipe is easy to make, tasty and goes well with breakfast or afternoon snacks:

 

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