Diet and nutrition are essential factors in getting your body ready for making a baby, and it turns out what male partners consume matters, too. Fertility diets aren't just for women.
Certain foods could potentially increase sperm count and quality, while others can cause damage. And if you didn't know, a man is considered to have a low sperm count if he has fewer than 39 million sperm per ejaculation. It sounds like a lot, but considering how far they have to travel, it's not that many. The point? It's important for him to evaluate his diet, so it won't interfere with your chances of conceiving. Remember, though, any fertility concerns should be discussed with your doctor.
Here are eight superfoods that men should add to their diets when you're trying to conceive:
1. Oysters + pumpkin seeds
Both are very high in zinc, which may increase testosterone, sperm motility and sperm count.
Oranges contain lots of vitamin C, and studies have proved it improves sperm motility, count, and morphology. Other foods that contain vitamin C include: tomatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage.
3. Dark, leafy vegetables
The folate (also known as vitamin B) in spinach, romaine lettuce, brussels sprouts, and asparagus can help produce strong, healthy sperm.
4. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate contains arginine, an amino acid that can improve sperm count and quality overtime.
5. Salmon + sardines
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish and seafood—especially salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines—helps improve quality and quantity of sperm.
6. Pomegranate juice
The antioxidants in pomegranate juice may improve testosterone levels.
7. Brazil nuts
The selenium found in Brazilian nuts can help increase sperm count, sperm shape and sperm motility.
Staying hydrated helps create good seminal fluid.
And while you're adding these rich, healthy superfoods into your diet, you should also be cognizant of what foods to steer clear of, too.
Here are six foods men should cut back on or eliminate while you're trying to conceive:
1. Fried foods
These hard-to-resist foods can decrease the quality of sperm.
2. Full-fat dairy
Full-fat dairy contains estrogen and can lower healthy sperm. Opt for almond or soy milk.
3. Processed meats
Processed meats (including bacon, ham, sausage, hot dogs, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat and meat sauces) can lower sperm count.
Ready for Starbucks? Not so fast! Researchers have linked caffeine consumption by both men and women in the weeks leading up to conception to an increased risk for miscarriage.
One or two alcoholic drinks are okay, but more than 14 mixed drinks in a week can lower testosterone levels and affect sperm count. In fact, studies show that consistent drinking (five or more drinks in a two-hour time frame) have negative effects on sperm, too.
Changing his diet and eating habits is not an easy task. But when the big picture includes not only bringing a baby into the world, but also maintaining a healthier lifestyle, it's a lot easier to get on board.