What to eat to build sperm count, and why we can go back to work on an egg
Sunday February 15, 2004
Ten tips to improve male fertility
1 Eat brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a mineral that seems to help boost sperm production and improve their swimming ability. Brazil nuts, it seems, are good for nuts of an entirely different kind.
2 Eat tomatoes
Research suggests that lycopene, a nutrient found in tomatoes, helps in the production of healthy, agile sperm.
3 Take vitamin C
Studies show that supplementing with vitamin C can assist in the making of properly functioning sperm, and reduce their tendency to clump together (agglutinate). 1,000mg of vitamin C each day should be enough to help men make top seed.
4 Take zinc
High doses of zinc appear to help boost levels of testosterone in men with low levels of this hormone, and may bring substantial improvements in sperm numbers. A zinc supplement of 50-100mg should be taken each day (balanced with 3-6mg of copper per day to prevent copper deficiency) for three months.
5 Take Korean ginseng
Like zinc, Korean ginseng appears to have the ability to enhance both testosterone and sperm levels. About 500mg of standardised extract should be taken each day for three months.
6 Eat healthy fats
Healthy fats, known as essential fatty acids (EFAs), appear to be important ingredients in the manufacture of sperm. The Total EFA is a supplement that contains a range of EFAs that may help boost sperm numbers in time. Phone 020 8763 1414 for stockists.
7 Go organic
Declining sperm counts could be related to xenoestrogens, hormone-like chemical pollutants that come from a variety of sources, including agrochemical residues. A shift towards more organic foods in the diet will help to reduce exposure to these fertility-sapping chemicals.
8 Avoid hot pants
Research shows that the wearing of tight underwear or trousers is associated with lower sperm counts. A less restrained, therefore cooler scrotum makes for better sperm formation in the testes.
9 Avoid smoking
Cigarette smoking has been associated with an increased risk of infertility in men, and is a habit well worth dropping for anyone seeking to maximise their fertility.
10 Go easy on the exercise
Prolonged strenuous exercise has been associated with reduced fertility in men. Exercise fanatics whose fertility firepower is on the low side might consider going to the gym a bit less often.
Soft drinks and childhood obesity
Recent weeks have seen a media blitz of scare stories about the ever-declining quality of our children’s diets and the burgeoning rates of obesity that this helps fuel. One foodstuff that seems to be particularly linked with excess weight is the sugar-laden soft drinks that seem to be pretty standard fare for most kids. Research has found that children who imbibe soft drinks tend to consume more calories than those who don’t. One study published in the Lancet found that each additional daily serving (about 300mls) of soft drink had by a child was associated with a whopping 60 per cent increase in risk of obesity. Efforts to reduce the amount of soft drinks our children consume is one little thing that may reap big dividends in the long term.
While eggs were once seen as a wholesome and nutritious food, their image has been tarnished in recent times on account of their high content of saturated fat and cholesterol. Actually, the most plentiful form of fat to be found in eggs is monounsaturated – a type of fat (also found in foods such as olive oil and avocado) that is widely thought to help protect against heart disease.
Also, several studies show that eating eggs tends not to bump up cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. While eggs may have an unhealthy image, the evidence suggests they have been unfairly maligned. In one study, the relationship between egg consumption and risk of heart disease was assessed in a group of 117,000 men and women over a 14-year period. Healthy individuals eating more than one egg each day were found to have a risk of heart disease that was essentially the same as those eating less than one egg each week. The notion that eating eggs is bad for the heart looks to be a myth that needs laying to rest.