More and more couples are subscribing to a pregnancy diet. This is a diet which incorporates the best fertility foods. It’s also a diet that reduces the consumption of foods which can negatively affect fertility, such as processed foods and those affected by pesticides and chemical additives.
Fish and shellfish
An excellent source of amino acids and the trace element selenium, fish and shellfish can boost fertility. These nutrients help to enhance the structural integrity of sperm and improve conception chances.
This vegetable is enriched with folic acid (vitamin B9). This vitamin is very important for both male and female fertility and reproduction.
Dried fruit, nuts and seeds
These food items are full proteins to help product strong, healthy sperm and eggs. Their high antioxidant and vitamin content is also important for protecting sperm from oxidative radicals that cause cellular damage.
A great source of vitamin D, this nutrient supports male fertility and female reproduction and pregnancy.
Red meats such as beef are an excellent source of zinc and the amino acids carnitine and arginine. These nutrients are needed to form healthy, viable sperm.
These are five of the best fertility foods that should be eaten on a regular basis, ideally daily. It takes three months for sperm to properly mature. Thus, it’s a good idea to start a pregnancy diet as soon as you decide that you would like to start a family.
Diet, Antioxidants & Sperm Development
The sperm generation process is particularly sensitive to external factors. These include trauma (heat, physical force), energy and nutrient supply for the cells “under construction” as well as oxidative stress.
Research has shown that oxidative stress is the single biggest factor for decreased male fertility. These chain reactions cause DNA damage, disrupt activity, and accelerate apoptosis1. All these factors negatively impact sperm health.
Spermatazoa numbers decline, mobility is restricted, abnormal morphology increase, and overall function impaired. This can render sperm ineffective for fertilizing the egg. It’s estimated that up to 80% of male fertility problems are linked to the effects of oxidative stress2.
However with the assistance of the best fertility foods and key antioxidants, oxidative stress can be controlled quite easily.
What are antioxidants and how do they help?
Antioxidants are compounds that help to prevent ongoing oxidative stress. Free radicals, also known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced as a by-product of bodily functions.
These ROS interact with other molecules which can lead to oxidative damage to genes, membranes, and proteins. Antioxidants intercept these chain reactions and help to neutralise free radicals. Essentially, antioxidants act as a form of armour.
For many men experiencing fertility problems, increasing the concentration of key antioxidants within the body can form part of an effective fertility treatment. In some instances, this may be the only medical intervention that’s required to elevate sperm count, improve motility, and protect healthy morphology.
Common male fertility antioxidants
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different substances that have antioxidant capabilities. These include minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and many other compounds and nutrients. While scientists understand the mechanisms of many antioxidants, there are still new forms being identified.
Although there is still a lot to learn about these substances, many antioxidants are well-known and have been extensively researched.
Several different antioxidants have been identified as beneficial for male fertility. These include a mix of amino acids, vitamins, trace elements and other compounds that that body uses regularly for a range of functions.
Specifically vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, carnitine, glutathione, carotenoids, and zinc are linked to healthy male fertility; among others.
Plant chromoplasts and chloroplasts contain pigments called carotenoids. There are over 600 different carotenoids currently known to scientists and a lot of these have antioxidant properties. Consequently, researchers have found that certain carotenoids can help to enhance male fertility. Specifically, astaxanthin and lycopene have favourable impact on sperm concentration34.
Can Male Fertility Supplements Help?
With busy lifestyles it can be hard to keep track of your diet and ensure that you are getting the right amount of nutrients to support healthy fertility. Complex diet plans can be challenging to maintain, especially when you want to always include the best fertility foods.
The good news is that there are specially formulated male fertility supplements. These supplements provide all the right nutrients to produce healthy sperm and support sperm development and maintenance through maturity. These supplements contain all the right micro nutrients, amino acids and vitamins the body needs to boost fertility without adverse side effects.
Female fertility supplements are also available. These supplements can help to prepare the body for pregnancy and support the healthy development of a baby.
You can read more about some of the other important antioxidants that boost male fertility by clicking on the links below.
These amino acids, vitamins and trace elements are naturally occurring nutrients and no side effects are to be expected. On the contrary, increasing the supply of such micronutrients causes significant health benefits such as a stabilisation of the immune system, a positive effect on cardiovascular circulation and skin and hair health.
There is therefore no medical reason not to implement a micronutrient rich diet for a minimum of six months to increase fertility. Ideally this should be carried on until successful conception.
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More male fertility enhancing-enhancing nutrients
- “Walczak-Jedrzejowska, R. et.al. (2013). The role of oxidative stress and antioxidants in male fertility. Central European Journal of Urology. Volume 66, Issue 1, (pp, 60-7).” ↩
- “Showell, M. et.al. (2011). Antioxidants for male subfertility. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 1, Art No: CD007411.” ↩
- “Comhaire, F. et.al. (2005). “Combined conventional/antioxidant “Astaxanthin” treatment for male infertility: a double blind, randomized trial. Asian Journal of Andrology. Volume 7, Issue 3, (pp. 257-62).” ↩
- “Gupta, N. And Kumar, R. (2002). Lycopene therapy in idiopathic male infertility–a preliminary report. International Urology and Nephrology. Volume 34, Issue 3, (pp. 369-72).” ↩