FEATURE ARTICLE SUMMER 2020-2021
FOODS FOR FATHERS-TO-BE
Important food and nutrients for men looking to start a family .
We often talk about how a mother ’ s diet affects her baby ’ s health . What about the father-to-be ? Dad ’ s nutrition may also have an impact on fertility , pregnancy and even on the health of the child after birth . Changing diet is one simple and effective strategy to support the journey .
Laying the groundwork : diet affects sperm quality
Better sperm quality means improved fertility outcomes . Male infertility accounts for approximately 40-50 % of all infertility cases .
The quality and quantity of sperm produced by men can be affected by what they eat . Healthy sperm require a number of key nutrients , some of which include omega 3 fatty acids , folate , zinc and selenium . These nutrients can be found in the following foods below .
Research has shown that men with a higher number of normal sperm :
} eat more fruit and vegetables , legumes , low fat dairy , seafood , wholegrains , and ;
} eat less red and processed meats , refined grains , sweets and sweetened beverages . For some men , multi-vitamin supplements may be beneficial ; however , these should be used under the recommendation of your doctor , dietitian or fertility specialist .
Motility and morphology
We know diet helps to boost the number and quality of sperm . However , other aspects to consider include motility i . e . how those little guys move . If motility is low , then how are they going to swim and meet an egg ? Another aspect to sperm health is morphology , i . e . the shape . Some sperm
Zinc CoQ10 Folate Selenium
Zinc is found in a range of foods . The best sources are beef , chicken , eggs , fish , oysters and pork . You can also find zinc in beans , cashew nuts , legumes , lentils and some fortified breakfast cereals .
CoQ10 can be found in plenty of wholefoods , including : organ meats ; other meats like beef , chicken and pork ; fatty fish ( salmon , sardines , mackerel ); vegetables ( broccoli , cauliflower and spinach ); fruit ( oranges and strawberries ); legumes ; and nuts and seeds ( sesame and pistachios ).
Folate is found in green leafy vegetables , fortified breads and cereals , as well as wholegrains . Folate in food is more readily absorbed by the body , compared to folic acid from supplements . That ’ s why loading up on green veggies with most main meals can help you increase your intake .
Selenium is a tricky nutrient to know exactly how much you may be getting each day . However , an easy way to get enough selenium is to eat one or two Brazil nuts per day to meet your daily needs . Don ’ t like the flavour ? Try throwing them into a smoothie to disguise the taste .
14 YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE