They say you are what you eat — but how does one really feel like a spicy chicken wing drowning in blue cheese? Of course, you know that diet affects your health, your mental state, and your rugged good looks. But it also affects the future you. Chowing down on fatty and greasy foods means your valiant sperm are going to have trouble reaching their goal. Here are a few fertility nutrition tips to help you, like the Dude, help your special lady friend conceive, man.
Why Nutrition’s Important
It’s absolutely true you can make a baby with very little sperm. But to increase your chances, it’s a lot better to amass an army (or Navy, as it were) of healthy swimmers. Nutrition plays an important role in this.
Making sperm is an active process. It relies on your cells’ ability to be copy and divide, producing roughly 1,500 sperm a second, or just about 200 million sperm a day. They key is to keep your body tuned up with necessary building blocks. If you have poor nutrition, the process doesn’t work as well, and you wind up with sperm that don’t look so hot. Think about an Olympic team of fit Michael Phelpses versus a few Rodney Dangerfields who’d rather do a Triple Lindy.
The Nutrients Sperm Love
There are a handful of good things you can ingest that’ll help ensure your boys are producing sperm like Enzo Ferrari made cars. Consider them high-performance materials and essential building blocks.
In general, antioxidants improve cell health in the human body. That’s because they help prevent cells from degeneration and death. This quality is pretty great for highly active and short-lived sperm.
Recent research in the journal Fertility And Sterility suggests leaning on one class of antioxidants in particular: Carotenoids. These antioxidants are what give certain fruits and vegetables their red and orange coloration, which should give you a clue as to where they are found. Here are some sources:
- Carrot juice
- Sweet potato
- Leafy greens
Getting these foods to release their nutritious goods (and upping their “bioavailability”) is helped by chopping them up and eating them with a healthy fat like vegetable oil. Hope you like stir-fry.
Foods like shellfish, non-shelled fish, and low-fat dairy products contain vitamins B12 and folate. A few studies have shown that B may help increase sperm count.
There are a couple of reasons this might work. One is that B-vitamins help boost energy and the body’s ability to do the intense work of building millions of sperm daily. Additionally, the research suggests Bs reduce chromosomal abnormalities in sperm. That’s good news for both you and [baby name TBD].
Eat The Food, Not Just The Vitamins
You’ll be tempted to take megadoses of the nutrients good for sperm healthy. Hold off there, partner. There’s a little trick to this stuff.
If you try to get these nutrients with supplements, you’re losing the other benefits from eating the foods with these nutrients. For instance, leafy greens are great sources of antioxidants, but they have the added benefit of iron and fiber. So, aim for whole foods, mostly fruits and veggies, and lay off the bad stuff. What bad stuff? Read on.
What Hurts Sperm Production?
Now that you’re on a ultra-nutritious fertility diet, you’re also going to want to stop the vices that hurt your swimmers. Long story short: it’s everything you enjoy doing in Vegas.
The guidelines for this are pretty simple. Things known to be bad for you are probably bad for your sperm: saturated fat, tobacco, booze, drugs, caffeine, and environmental toxins.
The issue is 2-fold. Factors like a fatty diet and drinking alcohol can wind up decreasing your sperm count and making them weird, deformed, and Bukowski-esque. While environmental toxins (car exhaust, paint fumes, and all BPA you touch constantly) can jack up the chances for genetic defects that cause serious issues for your kid if you do wind up conceiving.
Just keep in mind that if you treat yourself right, it will yield benefits for your genetic material. So go eat those superfoods, not just the supplements, keep partying to a minimum, and maybe blend a kale and carrot juice smoothie once in a while. Your future kid will thank you for it.