Although a woman’s body is typically the focus when it comes to getting pregnant, men’s health matters too. When a couple is trying to conceive (TTC), the man must make sure he is in optimal health, both mentally and physically. After all, a healthy body means healthy sperm. It increases the chances of successful conception and an adorable little munchkin with good genes.
So, what can the dads do to ensure their swimmers are ready for the challenge?
Here are some basic nutritional tips for men when TTC:
Get the Right Supplements
Sperm health is directly related to the vitamins and minerals that men consume. Studies have found that certain supplements can increase sperm count, motility, and morphology (shape). Specifically, men should take multivitamins zinc, selenium, C, Vitamin E, and L-Carnitine. These are available in various forms, from capsules to powders, and can be easily found online. Folic acid and Coenzyme Q10 are also great for male fertility.
Certain herbs are also useful for male fertility and may be found in various supplements. One such herb gaining popularity is horny goat weed. It is a Chinese herb used for centuries to treat male sexual issues. It has been shown to improve sperm count and mobility. The effectiveness of horny goat weed is exceptionally high in cases of erectile dysfunction and low sperm motility.
However, men must always discuss taking supplements or herbs with their doctor first to ensure they are safe and will not interact with any other medications they might be taking.
Increase Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables
Some fruits and veggies can help protect sperm from cellular damage. They keep the sperm cells speedy and strong, so they can swiftly make their way through the fallopian tubes and fertilize the egg.
Cranberries and collard greens are high in antioxidants, which help reduce free radicals that can damage sperm. You can enjoy cranberries in oatmeal, smoothies, or salads and collard greens on their own or added to soups.
Other fertility-friendly fruits include ones that are rich in Vitamins E and C. These essential vitamins protect sperm from oxidative damage and improve mobility.
Stock up on berries, kiwis, oranges, melons, and other Vitamin C-rich fruits. Avocados, olives, mangoes, and nuts are excellent sources of Vitamin E.
Include Dairy or Dairy Alternatives in the Diet
Dairy is a rich source of calcium and protein, which are important for healthy sperm production. Milk and other dairy items, such as yogurt and cheese, are also great sources of vitamin D, which is necessary for proper reproductive health.
If dairy isn’t an option (because of allergies or dietary preferences), consider plant-based alternatives such as almond milk, soy milk, or flaxseed milk.
Here are a few ideas on including dairy or dairy alternatives in the diet:
- Enjoy a glass of milk with breakfast
- Add yogurt to smoothies
- Top salads with grated cheese
- For a quick snack, grab a handful of nuts
Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Inflammation can have a negative effect on fertility. So, it’s essential to avoid inflammatory foods. These include processed meats and trans fats like those found in fast food and packaged snacks.
You should also steer clear of processed carbohydrates like white flour, sugar, and other refined carbs. They can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance, which in turn can cause infertility.
Instead of opting for processed foods and snacks, choose whole-grain carbohydrates such as oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, and quinoa.
Try to include plenty of healthy fats in your diet, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and fatty fish.
The best way to ensure that you’re consuming the proper nutrition is to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Base Meals on High-Fiber Starchy Foods
Dietary fiber is vital for digestive health and can be beneficial for semen quality. It helps regulate blood sugar levels, which is important for hormone balance.
Some of the best sources of fiber include whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Include starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash in your diet, as well. They are high in fiber and can help keep blood sugar levels stable.
Finally, don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Water helps flush out toxins and aids in digestion, so it’s essential for optimal fertility health.
If you’re looking for meal ideas, consider these:
- Grilled salmon with roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli
- Veggie omelet with a whole wheat wrap
- Brown rice bowl with grilled chicken and roasted vegetables
Give Up Smoking and Excessive Drinking
Smoking has a negative effect on fertility, as the toxins in cigarettes can damage sperm. It’s best to quit or, at least, cut back on your smoking habit if you’re trying to conceive. We understand this is easier said than done – so if you need help quitting, seek out a smoking cessation program. You can also try to reduce your stress levels, as stress can be a contributing factor to smoking.
Excessive drinking also has a detrimental effect on fertility. It can reduce sperm quality and make conceiving hard. That’s why it’s essential to keep your alcohol intake at a moderate level, or better yet, avoid drinking altogether.
Other Tips for Men Trying to Conceive
There are many other things men can do to ensure they are fertile. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Take regular breaks from the computer and phone screens – it’s important to limit your exposure to blue light as it can have a negative effect on sperm production.
- Exercise regularly – physical activity helps improve fertility and reduce stress levels.
- Maintain a healthy weight – being overweight or underweight can affect fertility.
- Reduce stress levels – stress can have a negative effect on hormone balance, which is vital for fertility.
- Get enough sleep – sleep deprivation can affect hormone balance and reduce sperm quality.
- Time the deed correctly – the five days before and including ovulation is when it matters most, so tracking a women’s cycle and knowing exactly when she is ovulating can help.
If you’re trying to conceive, following a nutritious and balanced diet is essential. Eating the right foods can help regulate hormones, improve sperm production, and boost fertility. It’s also important to give up smoking, excessive drinking, and unhealthy habits such as sitting in front of screens all day.
With good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and the right timing, you can increase your chances of getting pregnant naturally. Good luck!