June 2015

It takes two to tango and to make a healthy baby. While the woman will carry and deliver the baby, for fertilisation to occur, the man’s sperm must be healthy and strong enough to travel through the fallopian tubes to reach and penetrate the woman’s egg.

A healthy lifestyle is essential to creating healthy sperm. It takes roughly 72 days for sperm to be created so it is important to note your current lifestyle will have a long term effect on your sperm.

Here are some tips for men who want to improve their fertility.

Lose those extra kg’s: Being overweight or obese can have a major impact on your sperm quality, reduce your sperm count, decrease the sperm’s ability to swim, as well as increase damage to genetic material in the sperm. Overweight men are known to have lower testosterone levels.

Exercise Regularly: Exercise will not only help you to stay in shape, but also helps to reduce stress and benefits your long-term health.

Quit Smoking: Smoking is linked with reduced sperm quality, lower sperm counts, decreased sperm movement, and higher numbers of abnormally shaped sperm. Smoking can also decrease the sperm’s ability to penetrate and fertilise a woman’s egg. Also, smoking can cause the blood vessels to narrow, making it difficult for blood to be delivered to genitals, triggering impotence. If you are an aspiring dad, quit smoking as soon as possible.

Cut down on the booze: Heavy drinking in men can reduce sperm quantity and quality. Remember it takes 72 days to create sperm – limit your alcohol intake to low or moderate amounts.

Avoid excess heat: If you frequently visit hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas, it could increase your scrotal temperature which may decrease your sperm count and quality. Avoid exposure to excess heat as much as possible while trying to conceive including using your computer on your lap, or keeping your cell phone in your pants pocket.

Have frequent sex: Delaying lovemaking until your partner is ovulating will not increase your chances of falling pregnant. Couples should aim to have intercourse at least every second or third day, and especially around the ovulation window.

Avoid lubricants: Lubricants can decrease fertility particularly as many can kill the sperm, or inhibit sperm motility. A safe lubricant to use is canola oil.

Avoid pesticides and other harmful chemicals: Exposure to pesticides and other harmful toxic chemicals can be detrimental to your fertility. Where possible, eat organic food.

Get enough healthy sleep: A lack of healthy sleep can increase cortisol levels in your blood stream which is linked to lower testosterone.

Watch Your Soy Intake: Research has shown that men who eat high amounts of soy have lower sperm counts than men who did not. Too much soy, commonly found in health drinks, energy bars, and fake meat products, may impact your fertility.

Stress: Studies have shown that semen quality declines during periods of stress. Engage in stress-lowering activities such as walking or golf. For more information on how to manage your stress visit www.tups.co/index.php

Eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables: The natural antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables are necessary for overall semen quality and sperm motility. Super fertile foods to eat include:

  • Spinach, broccoli and sesame seeds for Coenzyme Q10 which has been shown to increase energy levels and sperm motility. Spinach also contains magnesium which supports men’s hormonal health and improves fertility in those with low sperm counts.
  • Seafood (particularly oysters), red meat, whole grain and pulses are rich sources of zinc, necessary for sperm production.
  • Tuna, turkey, chicken and Brazil nuts for selenium which can improve your sperm’s motility drastically.

Know when to get help: If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for over six months, then you should both see a fertility specialist for an evaluation.

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