Preconception care optimises natural fertility by improving the health of egg and sperm to make the happiest, healthiest baby possible and boosts the prospective mother’s general wellbeing for a healthy pregnancy. It does take two to tango.
As it takes about 3 months for sperm to mature, so it makes sense to improve your diet and lifestyle at least 3-4 months before trying to conceive.
The main areas of focus to boost male fertility are:-
- Eating a fertility fuelling diet
- Avoiding “voluntary social toxins”
- Discovering and tackling any underlying health issues
- Detoxing your world
- Managing stress and sleep
Here, we’re looking at how our food choices, our storage and cooking methods and how we care for our digestive systems can help boost male fertility. You should of course speak with your doctor to make sure that any lifestyle changes are suitable for you, before you begin.
A Fertility Fuelling Diet
Blood Sugar Balancing
This is the starting point for all prospective parents.
Balancing blood sugar helps balance energy, hormones, moods and can help alleviate symptoms of some conditions like PCOS in women. It can help us make better food choices, because we don’t get hungry or “hangry” and reach for cakes, toast, crisps or pizza. It can reduce risk of insulin issues and diabetes and support weight management.
The keys to balancing blood sugar are:-
- Eat quality protein, healthy fats and fibre (veggies, fruit or wholegrains) at every meal and snack.
- Eat breakfast 30-90 minutes after waking.
- Ideally, eat 3 square meals a day; if you feel too hungry or light headed, you must snack.
- Do not eat after dinner, until breakfast time.
- Avoid refined sugar, fruit as snacks (on its own), refined carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, alcohol.
The Basics of a Fertility Friendly Diet
Diet should often be tailored depending on what you’re trying to improve, but generally speaking these tips will stand most people in good stead.
- Eat a varied, nutrient-dense, wholefood diet- quality protein, healthy fats, 7 portions of veggies and fruit daily (only 1 fruit portion daily, ideally), wholegrains.
- Eat food as fresh as possible – that can include frozen veggies and fruits.
- Choose organic or unsprayed foods as far as possible – that’s meat, poultry, eggs, fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy and choose wild fish. You’ll avoid pesticides, herbicides, hormones, drugs and antibiotics (animal foods).
- Avoid antinutrients and low nutrient foods – refined sugar (it’s everywhere!), trans fats (hydrogenated vegetable fats), additives and preservatives, processed/packaged/takeaway foods, caffeine, alcohol, refined carbohydrates.
- Drink at least 1.5 litres of filtered water or mineral water (NOT from a plastic bottle) per day in between meals.
Sperm Supercharging Nutrients
Consider including these nutrients and foods in your diet:-
Vitamin A – found in carrots, tomatoes, mangoes, pumpkin, cabbage, egg yolk, parsley, red peppers, broccoli, liver in moderation (high levels of animal sources of Vitamin A are not advised for women trying to conceive).
Vitamins B – found in eggs, oats, mushrooms, banana, salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, seaweeds, sunflower seeds, potatoes, wholegrains, green veggies, chickpeas, brown rice, lentils.
Vitamin C – found in raw veggies and fruits especially blueberries, kiwi, red peppers, citrus, mangoes, Brussels sprouts, watercress, parsley.
Vitamin E – found in cold-pressed and unrefined oils, wholegrains, egg yolk, leafy green veggies, avocado, lettuce, sesame seeds, nuts, oily fish, broccoli.
Zinc – found in eggs, apricots, wholegrains, dried fruit, seaweed, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, beetroot, oily fish, nuts, peas and beans.
Selenium – found in herring, tuna, garlic, eggs, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, whole wheat (if you can tolerate it).
Essential Fatty Acids- try eating oily fish 2-3 times weekly, flaxseed (ideally ground).
Veganism and Vegetarianism
If you don’t eat all/any animal produce, do ensure you are obtaining essential nutrients from other sources, such as beans, nuts and seeds. Vegans can be lacking in Vitamin B12, which is found mostly in animal products. Supplementation may be the answer or it is also found in seaweeds and yeast extract.
Food allergy and sensitivity can influence male and female fertility. In women it can affect cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to reach the egg; in men it can make sperm thicker and reduce its ability to swim and fertilise. Allergy and sensitivity are a very complex subject. Many experts suggest that even food sensitivity testing is unreliable and that exclusion/provocation diets can be more helpful.
Symptoms of food sensitivity include:-
- skin issues such as itching, rashes, eczema
- runny nose, mucus in the throat, sinus issues
- joint and muscle pain or arthritis
Common sensitivities are gluten – found in wheat and other grains – and dairy products. You could choose to avoid these as part of preconception care, so long as you’re eating an otherwise nutrient-dense, whole food diet.
Healthy digestion supports optimal fertility too. It reduces the risk of stomach upsets, bloating, diarrhoea/constipation, nutritional deficiency, toxic overload, blood sugar imbalances, hormone imbalances and autoimmune reactions.
Some basic tips to support digestion include:-
- Eat in a calm, relaxed state, ideally at a table with no distractions.
- Chew your food properly until it small/liquid enough to swallow easily.
- Eat regularly.
- Control portion size.
- Take regular, gentle exercise.
- Encourage good bacteria – reduce stress, avoid/reduce antibiotics, tackle thrush/yeast, choose probiotic foods (kefir, live yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi but NOT sugary probiotic drinks) or take probiotic supplements.
Shopping, Storage and Cooking
Here are some basic tips:-
- Read food labels carefully to avoid sugar in all its guises, additives, preservatives, allergens (if you suffer) etc.
- Reduce or avoid plastic packaging and/or “decant” food into safer storage containers at home. Many plastics are health and hormone harmers.
- Store food in natural containers such as glass, ceramic, stainless steel, wood, paper.
- Avoid aluminium and copper pans or kettles.
- Try to avoid canned foods, which can be lined with BPA (harmful plastic).
- Avoid plastic wrap or aluminium foil touching your food, especially avoid wrapping fatty foods like cheese in plastics.
- Avoid microwaving food and certainly don’t microwave in cling wrap or plastics.
- Get a non-plastic, reusable drinks bottle.
- Soak nuts, pulses and oats to avoid antinutrients.
- Avoid frying foods especially in oils that denature at high temperatures; similarly, charring food is best reduced or avoided – steam, braise, stew, poach, slow cook instead.
Hair Mineral Analysis
Some nutritional therapists and natural health practitioners – like myself – can arrange hair mineral testing. The tests highlight:-
- Mineral status
- Mineral balance
- Toxic metals (see Detox Your World section)
All of these can impact female and male fertility. Any issues found can be supported with diet, lifestyle changes, supplements or complementary therapies.
On the “Avoid” List
Some studies show that sperm issues appear greater with increased coffee intake.
It’s found in:-
- Regular coffee, tea, green tea
- Some soft drinks
- Some over-the-counter medicines.
Decaffeinated products can be chemically processed, so you are often better to choose coffee substitutes like grain “coffees” or herbal teas.
It is best to give up alcohol when trying to conceive for women and men. It’s a diuretic contributing to nutrient deficiency and a toxin to egg and sperm.
Refined sugars and carbohydrates wreak havoc on blood sugar balance, energy, mood and hormones. They also promote cravings and tendency to binge-eat. Choose starchy veggies, legumes and whole grains instead. And eat to maintain blood sugar balance.
Packaged, Processed and Takeaway Foods
These may contain additives, preservatives, chemicals, trans fats and other health harmers. They are best avoided as part of preconception care.
In my practice, I tailor my preconception care packages to my women and couple, because we are all unique and deserve to be treated that way. That said, these tips are great general tips for eating to fuel male fertility.
Until next time.
Get access to her totally FREE online course 7 Steps To Boost Fertility right here > https://kathypaynenaturalhealth.simplero.com/page/64181-7-steps-to-boost-fertility