A healthy diet can lead to more motile sperm according to a study presented at the 2011 ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) annual meeting, published in Human Reproduction 2012. The study emphasizes the importance of a good diet for dads-to-be highlighting the importance of fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans (legumes), fresh fish and whole grains. Previous studies have also found these health-promoting foods to be important for good quality sperm.
Emerging data is revealing how a diet rich in red meat and refined grains (think: white flour, white bread, wraps and baked goods) may significantly reduce sperm motility which is critical for speedy progress of the sperm to facilitate egg fertilization.
This study analyzed the diets - and sperm parameters - of one hundred and eighty eight men between ages eighteen and twenty two from the University of Rochester. Their eating styles were categorized as being either: 'Western,' think: lots of red meat, refined carbohydrates - white flour products - sweets and sodas, or 'Prudent,' think: fish, fruit vegetables, legumes (beans) and whole grains.
Men eating a more 'prudent' diet style had significantly greater sperm motility. Interestingly, the 'prudent' diet style is very much akin to a Mediterranean type diet which has been shown on other studies to improve male fertility. The study concluded that:
"Our findings support the suggestion that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish and whole grains may be an inexpensive and safe way to improve at least one measure of semen quality."
If you are trying to conceive, it may be time to cut out the french fries, soda and fast food and keep your fruit and vegetable intake high. Switching your proteins to grass-fed meats, fish, nuts, beans and organic dairy foods or eggs may help too. An ideal fertility food is a chilli made with a little grass-fed beef and lots of beans - soaked and boiled - with plenty of vegetables, onions, garlic, bell peppers - and chilli of course - that doesn't sound so bad does it?
If you are having trouble with poor sperm motility select nutrients may help too boost your sperm quality such as Co Enzyme Q10 and L-Carnitine.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT intended to diagnose, offer medical or nutritional treatment or replace medical or nutritional advice for which you should consult a suitably qualified physician or dietitian.
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Fertility and Sterility, Gaskins A, et al "Dietary patterns and semen quality in young men" Fertility Sterility 2011; 90(3) suppl: Abstract O-27.
Human Reproduction, Volume 27, Issue 11,(October 2012), p. 2899-2907
ISSN: 0268-1161, DOI: 10.1093/humrep/des298
Dietary patterns and semen quality in young men
Gaskins, Audrey J.1; Colaci, Daniela S.2; Mendiola, Jaime3; Swan, Shanna H.4; Chavarro, Jorge E.5