Does What You Eat Really Affect Your Sperm Quality?
“You are what you eat” is dismissed by many, but a 2019 study conducted by scientists in Sweden and Spain has found that changes in diet directly affect male fertility. This research has given us important information about the connection between nutrition and sperm health.
If you are trying to conceive or thinking about starting a family in future, learning about the foods that improve sperm quality will help you to make conception-friendly choices at mealtimes.
Lifestyle and Sperm Quality
Sperm quality has been declining in men worldwide. In fact, it is estimated that there has been a 57% decline in sperm concentration in the last 35 years. This trend is thought to be due to increasing male reproductive age, exposure to pesticides, obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption and a lack of physical activity.
When you are ready to start a family, it is understandable that you want to do everything you can to support the development of healthy sperm. Stopping any detrimental lifestyle factors, such as smoking or alcohol, will help to improve sperm quality. Based on the 2019 study, researchers are also able to recommend specific dietary changes to give sperm production a boost to increase your chances of conception.
Sperm-Friendly Diet Changes
In the study, a group of men followed a healthy diet for one week and then increased their sugar intake for one further week. During this time, sperm motility steadily improved and stabilized. This effect was particularly pronounced in men who had relatively low sperm motility at the start of the study. Sperm motility had increased most significantly at the end of the first week (the healthy diet week), although motility did continue to improve during the second week.
The two-week diet not only led to increased motility, but also triggered improvements in the sperm cells’ genetic components, too. This was thought to be due to ‘nutrient sensing’ within the sperm cells.
How to Give Your Sperm the Best Chance
Eating a high sugar diet is not usually recommended due to its association with weight gain, increasing blood sugars and rising cholesterol. However, it is reassuring to note that significant improvements in sperm motility were noted after just one week of healthy eating.
The nutrients you eat will become the building blocks of sperm cells, so it is important to ensure you are consuming the right elements. A healthy diet should include plenty of lean protein, low fat dairy (or alternative) products and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Selenium has been proven to improve sperm motility and increase your chances of conception. Zinc is also needed for healthy sperm formation and fertilization. Eating plenty of whole grains, low fat dairy, pulses, nuts and healthy cereals will ensure you get these minerals. For ease, you could also consider taking a dietary supplement.
Within just two weeks, dietary changes can have a positive impact on sperm motility and genetic development of the sperm cells. Making sensible, healthy choices when trying to conceive could therefore increase your chance of a pregnancy occurring.
If you want to find out more about your motile sperm concentration, you can use YO Sperm Tests in the comfort of your own home.