You’ re not the only one who needs to eat right in order to conceive. Your man’s diet can affect his fertility, too. Help him learn which fertility foods he needs — and which baby-busting foods he should nix.
We’ve all heard the phrase “You are what you eat.” Turns out, that’s also true for men when it comes to fertility.
Eating healthier foods can help increase sperm count, while chowing down on the not-so-healthy stuff may lower his numbers.
If you and your partner are trying to conceive, a change in his eating habits may bring you closer to your goal of getting pregnant.
Foods to increase sperm count
Both you and your partner probably already know the many advantages of a healthy diet. But eating certain foods can be beneficial for his sperm count and quality. Healthier sperm means you’re less likely to have trouble getting pregnant.
Here are some fertility foods he should add to his plate (or eat more often):
There’s a reason oysters are known as aphrodisiacs. They contain more zinc per serving than any other food, and foods high in zinc may help with male fertility by increasing semen volume and sperm motility.
If your guy just doesn’t like oysters, he can also find zinc in beef, poultry, dairy, nuts, eggs, whole grains and beans. Or he can get zinc by taking a daily multivitamin to help ensure he and his little swimmers are as healthy as can be.
Fruits and vegetables
The antioxidants found in fruits and veggies (like cranberries and collard greens) may help protect sperm from cellular damage and keep them strong and speedy — just what they need to race through the fallopian tubes and fertilize an egg. Meanwhile, vitamins E and C may slightly increase sperm count and movement.
Find vitamin E in mangoes, avocados and green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. Get vitamin C in oranges, tomatoes and grapefruit, among other foods. Leafy greens, beans and many fruits are high in folate — a B vitamin with antioxidant properties that may help keep sperm free of chromosomal abnormalities.
If you’re looking for one power veggie to make a staple in your sweetie’s diet, serve up a sweet potato: It’s packed with all of the nutrients above — vitamins C, E and folate.
Some research funded by the nut industry has shown that nuts may help improve the quality and function of sperm. Walnuts, in particular, may help boost sperm quality. That’s because walnuts are packed with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Other antioxidant-rich nuts include almonds, pecans, pine nuts and hazelnuts. Peanuts also pack an antioxidant punch. To keep nut snacking as healthy as possible, your guy should watch his portions. Stick to a 1-ounce serving (about a small handful) and avoid chocolate-covered nuts and those that have added sugar.
Pumpkin seeds contain a hefty dose of zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which may help improve sperm quality.
Looking for other ways to stock up on omega-3s? Try flaxseed, chia seeds or sunflower seeds, which contain vitamin E and other antioxidants that may help improve sperm quantity and movement.
Another powerful player in antioxidant circles is the pomegranate. Pomegranate juice has been shown to boost sperm quality, some animal studies have found, though it has yet to be proven to have the same effect in people.
In the meantime, a little pomegranate juice can’t hurt. Have him swap it for his morning OJ or add it to a smoothie.
Fertile men’s sperm contains more omega-3 fatty acids than the sperm of infertile men. Your guy can get omega-3s by eating fatty fish like salmon, herring, sardines and anchovies.
Bonus: Omega-3 fatty acids also improve blood flow to the genitals, which may help your guy out in the bedroom.
The powder from this Peruvian root has a long-standing reputation as a natural libido booster. That hasn’t been definitively proven, but some research has shown that maca powder increases sperm concentration and motility.
If your partner wants to try this nutty-tasting powder, he can sprinkle some in oatmeal and smoothies, or add a bit when making pancakes, waffles and other goodies.
Foods to avoid for male fertility
Just as there are foods that your guy may want to eat more of to improve fertility, there are others he can cut back on or remove from the menu entirely.
These foods may decrease sperm count and negatively impact male fertility:
Sure, your partner knows this stuff isn’t good for the heart or the waistline, but fatty, fried and sugary foods can impair male fertility too.
Sweetened snacks and beverages like soda can hurt sperm quality, research suggests. One more reason to trade the donuts for fruit and oatmeal.
Changing his diet and eating habits is not an easy task. But when the big picture includes not only bringing a baby into the world, but also maintaining a healthier lifestyle, it’s a lot easier to get on board.