What foods help men’s fertility? Dad’s diet is just as important as mom’s! Here are some foods to increase male fertility, plus tips for how to incorporate them into meals.
Fertility is a complex thing. If you and your partner have decided to pursue parenthood, but are experiencing obstacles with fertility, you are far from alone.
When it comes to fertility, there are many factors that come into play, and one of them is nutrition. While no one food is a cure-all for any health issue, dietary choices can certainly impact fertility.
In fact, certain nutrients and eating patterns have been shown to increase or decrease a couple’s change of conceiving. While the focus on foods for fertility is usually on moms, research shows that what dad eats is just as important in the equation.
Here’s how diet impacts fertility, plus some fertility-boosting foods for the dad-to-be in your life!
Diet patterns and male fertility: what the science says
Research shows that adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet pattern can increase your odds of conceiving by up to 69%. This also means that less healthy diet habits could be working against you in the fertility department.
The currently available research around fertility and nutrition, for both sexes, was reviewed in a 2017 paper published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The authors found that getting enough of the following were important for both male and female fertility:
- Vitamin B12, found in B-12 fortified foods like nutritional yeast and plant-based milks, but most reliably in a B12 supplement
- Omega-3 fatty acids, found in nuts, seeds, soy foods, and avocados
- Low glycemic index carbohydrates, such as legumes and whole grains
- Folate, found in leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, and citrus fruits
A great way to incorporate all of these is through a plant-rich Mediterranean-style diet, for example. In fact, this type of diet pattern has been shown to improve semen quality.
Plant-based diets that incorporate plenty of whole foods are also a great source of other nutrients that can support male fertility, such as vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
On the other hand, diet patterns rich in saturated fat – found in things like butter, dairy products, and meat – have been associated with lower sperm count and concentration.
Furthermore, a 2017 review on male fertility and diet patterns published in Human Reproduction Update found that men who eat diets high in processed meat, potatoes, dairy, alcohol, sweetened beverages, and added sugar often have worse fertility outcomes.
Start by looking at your overall diet and identifying some areas for improvement. This may just mean making a couple of small changes that can have a big impact on fertility!
Foods to increase male fertility
The research is clear that eating diets rich in whole plant foods – and low in saturated fat and highly processed foods – are best for male fertility. So what are some good foods to include?
Here are some of our favorite sources of fertility-boosting nutrients for dudes, plus ideas for incorporating them.
- bell peppers: sautéed in a stir fry, roasted in the oven, diced onto a salad, in a veggie soup, or stuffed with quinoa and veggies and baked
- strawberries: on their own, chopped into salads, as a topper for pancakes or waffles, blended into smoothies, in chia pudding, or mixed into oatmeal
- citrus fruits: on their own, blended into smoothies, used to make citrus dressings or marinades
- potatoes: roasted in the oven, used to make potato salad, mashed, in sweet potato waffles, cooked into a breakfast scramble
- cauliflower: roasted in the oven, used to make soup, in cauliflower tacos, riced, steamed, served raw with dip
- broccoli: roasted in the oven, cooked into soups, blended into homemade veggie burgers, steamed, served with dip
- kale/spinach: sautéed with garlic and olive oil, blended into smoothies, in breakfast scrambles, casseroles, and soups
- asparagus: roasted in the oven, used in soups, salads, and gnocchi dishes
Omega-3 fatty acids
- nut and seed butter: spread onto toast or muffins, for PB&J, in chickpea balls, or by the spoonful
- chia/hemp seeds: used to make chia jam, sprinkled into salads and oatmeal, mixed into muffin and pancake batter, used to make chia “eggs” for baking
- avocados: mashed onto toast, used for guacamole, chopped into a salad, or to top enchiladas and tacos
- olive oil: used to sauté veggies, make breakfast scrambles, or make homemade dressings and sauces
- beans: used to make soup, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, marinated, or mixed into salads
- whole grains: for any pasta dish, toast, sandwiches
- nuts and seeds: used for trail mix and granola, on pancakes and waffles, or on their own
- blueberries/blackberries: on their own, in salads, baked into muffins, used to top pancakes, in yogurt bowls
- purple cabbage: chopped into salads, used to make slaw, or cooked into soups
- grapes: on their own, cut in half for green salads, or used in chickpea salad sandwiches
What dad eats is just as important as moms when it comes to conception. If you’ve been wondering what foods help men’s fertility, use this guide to help design a diet pattern full of foods to increase male fertility.
To learn more about how diet affects fertility, download our free “Pre-Pregnancy Checklist” and “Male Fertility” handouts.
Chime in: Does the dad-to-be in your life already eat some of these foods? How can more of them be incorporated into a fertility-boosting diet?
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