Semen quality is on the decline, and has been for decades. Problems include structural abnormalities and diminished sperm production and motility. Physiology, genetics, hormone imbalances, environmental toxins, diet and lifestyle have been identified as factors that have an impact on sperm quality.
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Foods to Help with Infertility
Certain micronutrients can boost your chances of fertility, stress management is important too, with work pressures and overscheduling an issue for many. Stress may also have an adverse effect on cholesterol levels.
A recent study in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that if either one or both partners in a couple had high LDL, or bad cholesterol, it took them considerably longer to get pregnant. One of the researchers concluded that, in addition to raising the risk of cardiovascular disease, the findings suggest cholesterol may contribute to infertility and not surprisingly, many men never have their cholesterol checked!!!
Many studies have linked certain micronutrients such as selenium, zinc, vitamins C and E and folic acid to sperm quality. These nutrients are essential for better health and disease reduction. It appears that the beneficial nutrients recommended for conception are the same ones you need to keep healthy and alive to watch your children grow and start their own families.
The best way to get this diversity of nutrients is to eat well, focusing on seafood, lean animal and plant proteins such as nuts and seeds, wholegrains, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and essential polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Supplementation may be necessary on the advice of your doctor or dietitian.
Righting the Balance with Male Infertility
Getting the balance right leaves little room for the not-so-fertility-friendly fats, such as saturated and trans fats. These are found in fried foods, processed meats and refined and processed foods such as biscuits, cakes and pastries. An excess of these fats may decrease the membrane fluidity and flexibility necessary for healthy sperm motility. Diets poor in omega 3 and rich in omega 6 may also contribute to poor semen quality and sperm function. Walnuts are very rich in omega 3, as well as vitamin E, zinc, selenium and folate.
Our diets have transformed radically in the past 60 years. Last month researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston linked a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages with lower sperm motility in healthy young men.
This builds on the evidence from the Rochester Young Men’s study which found that men who followed a “prudent” diet with high intakes of fish, chicken, whole-grains, fruits and vegetables had better semen quality and motility than those who followed the more typical “western” pattern of refined grains, pizza, high-energy drinks and high intakes of red and processed meats and sweets, while researchers found that women undergoing fertility treatment who ate a diet similar to the traditional Mediterranean diet were 40 per cent more likely to become pregnant than those who had the least Mediterranean-like diets. The effects of this pattern of eating would be useful to study in males too.
Antioxidant-rich foods from Eating Expectantly, Fueling Your Fertility include: Fruits: blackberries, redcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, pineapple, plums and pomegranates
Spices: clove, allspice, mint, sage, thyme, nutmeg, rosemary, saffron, tarragon, oregano, ginger, cinnamon, natural cocoa
Beverages: pomegranate, grape, prune, and cranberry juices. (Espresso, coffee, and green and black teas also contain antioxidants but should be consumed in moderation.)
Nuts, seeds, and grains: walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, chestnuts, peanuts, pistachios, buckwheat, millet and barley
Follow this advice and maybe male infertility will be a thing of the past for you