Pregnancy Articles

Nutrition and Fertility: An Overview for Men

It's Not Just About the Ladies

When trying to conceive, women are not the only ones who should be paying attention to what they're eating. What men eat can affect their fertility, too.

Good nutrition can generate valuable dividends, and there is no better time than the present to start. The better a man's nutritional status, the healthier his sperm are and the more easily a woman will conceive. His diet should be very similar to a woman's pre-pregnancy eating plan. However, the calorie intake will be altered based on his age, sex, body structure and activity level. By using the recommendations below, he will be providing his body with adequate nutrition and also supplying the key nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, calcium and Vitamin D. These nutrients have been identified as having specific roles in the production of sperm.

A man's daily diet should include bread, grains and pasta (6-11 servings daily); vegetables (3-5 servings daily); fruits (2-4 servings daily); protein and meat (2-3 servings daily); and dairy (2-3 servings daily).

In addition, here are some other nutrients and factors that can affect male reproductive health:

Antioxidants: All fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, which help keep sperm healthy. At a 2006 meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, researchers reported that the more produce a man ate, the more mobile his sperm were.

Fruits and vegetables naturally contain antioxidants. Eating a range of produce, in various colors, each day ensures a variety of antioxidants are consumed.

Caffeine: Coffee, tea and soda (in moderation) can provide an energy boost in the mornings; however, too much caffeine can harm sperm. While Brazilian researchers found that moderate caffeine consumption can give sperm a little extra swimming power, that boost is fleeting, and in the long run, caffeine actually makes sperm lethargic. Limiting or reducing caffeine intake can help boost sperm motility.

Folate/folic acid: This nutrient helps prevent birth defects. Mothers-to-be need 400 micrograms (mcg) of the key nutrient every day, and as recent studies have proved, fathers to be need to get that much, too.

According to researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, men who don't consume much folic acid have increased risks for sperm containing either too few or too many chromosomes, which can lead to birth defects and/or miscarriage.

Leafy green vegetables, fruit and beans, chickpeas and lentils, plus fortified breads and grains, are all good sources of folic acid.
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About The Author

Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health and fitness, with an emphasis on whole foods and from-scratch cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys Spinning, international travel and vegetables of all kinds. See all of Stepfanie's articles.

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