Looking to be a Father? Look at Your Diet and Lifestyle First

Bayo Ajibola

People often assume that the woman has the biggest workload since she does the actual carrying of the baby. It may be true but the man has a role to play and it doesn’t begin at depositing sperm. He has to make sure his sperm is good enough to make a baby! How, you ask?

Just like the woman, it all begins with lifestyle and diet. Balanced meals, exercise and general wellbeing in a man will affect what his sperm achieves when the time comes. 30 percent of fertility issues can be traced back to men and a close 29 percent to women. About 20 percent of men are affected by decreased fertility. These figures are too large to ignore so how about we look at what you need to incorporate in your diet, just to be on the safe and productive side?

Vitamin D

According to one study, vitamin D can affect how mobile your sperm is. Naturally, your body synthesizes vitamin D in response to exposure to sunlight. You can also get it from oily fish and fortified foods like breakfast cereals and margarine.

Zinc and selenium

These two are said to affect sperm quality and the sperms’ ability to move as well. While experts aren’t sure about the dosage, they are certain that these two minerals will increase your chances of conception.

You can find selenium in bread, Brazil nuts, fish, eggs and even meat while baked beans, lean minced beef and chicken contain zinc.

Folate

Known as vitamin B9, this is the natural form of folic acid. Unlike mums, you may not need to take a folic acid supplement but eating foods rich in folate will go a long way in increasing your sperm count.

This is where green vegetables fall. Think spinach, broccoli, sprouts and amaranth. Potatoes, pulses and oranges also pack a punch so add them to your diet too. You will also find folic acid in fortified breakfast cereals.

Antioxidants

These decrease the number of free radicals moving around your body. Free radicals cause cell damage and antioxidants curb their presence and action in your body thus making it a better breeding ground and improving sperm quality.

Antioxidants can be found in vitamins E, C and a form of vitamin A known as beta-carotene. Fruits and vegetables have all the antioxidants you need so pick up bright oranges, dark grapes or deep purple eggplants and throw in some apples.

What you should cut down on

Everything may indeed be permissible but not all of it is beneficial to you, and especially when trying for a baby. Alcohol, for instance, affects your testosterone levels and affects your testes’ ability to properly mature sperm. All this results in poor quality sperm so a less likelihood of conception. You can remedy this by quitting or at least reducing alcohol over a few months to improve semen quality.

With regard to weight, a BMI of 30 or higher will affect conception and sperm quality. A BMI higher than 25 also puts you at risk of poor sperm quality. Weight loss is therefore important for men too when discussing conception and it has been found to improve sperm quality in men whose BMI was over 30.

Caffeine is something you would expect on this list but it isn’t. All the evidence available shows that caffeine intake in men actually increases sperm motility (movement). It may however not affect fertility directly but it doesn’t cause harm either so you can refill your coffee mug.

Smoking negatively affects sperm quality so you might want to keep off cigarettes.

Make sure you add the basic essentials like carbohydrates (wholegrain and starchy), protein, low-fat dairy and lots of fruits and vegetables. All these combined with plenty of water and exercise will help get your swimmers to their destination faster and in better shape!


Bayo Ajibola

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