Thanks to advances in technology and research, the issue of infertility has been reasonably controlled over the past few years. Studies have also ensured that much of the blames that are often placed solely at the feet of the female folks when there is infertility is being reassessed, thanks to revelations that in some cases, infertility is caused by men-related problems.
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For most men with an infertility problem, it has been observed that sperm count and sperm quality are two of the most important contributing factors. According to the Mayo Clinic, low sperm count is a particularly crucial factor in most cases of infertility, with this capable of decreasing the odds that a man’s sperm would fertilise his partner’s egg to bring about pregnancy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, low sperm count is said to occur when the semen ejaculated by a man during an orgasm contains fewer sperm than normal i.e a man with a low sperm count would have fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen. But be that as it may, it is believed that some men can still impregnate their partners despite having a figure below the aforementioned figure.
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However, despite this, a man’s sperm cells should be kept healthy to avoid some of the challenges that do come with infertility. Unfortunately, several men have certain lifestyles or habits that often lead to the death of their sperm cells. A few of such habits that should be avoided by men, according to the Mayo Clinic, are examined below:
1. Drug use
In their bid to stimulate strength and growth, some men often engage in the act of using anabolic steroids including cocaine and marijuana. However, this is bad for such men’s fertility as those drugs often lead to the shrinkage of the testicles, decreased production of sperm, and reduction in the number and quality of sperm.
2. Alcohol use
While alcohol might be great for the body, it is often advised that men limit their intake of it to two drinks per day, as any extra consumption would be counterproductive to health. One of the things that inadvertently get affected when men drink alcohol excessively is sperm, as alcohol can lower men’s testosterone level, leading to decreased sperm production.
Smoking is not only bad for your lungs, but it is also bad news for your sperm cells. According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking is linked to lower sperm count, and thus should be avoided by men.
4. Lack of physical activity
When a man lives a sedentary lifestyle which involves a lack of physical activity and sitting idly for long periods of time, such a man would be doing his sperm cells a huge disservice. This is because such a man would become vulnerable to obesity, which can, in turn, directly impact sperm and cause hormonal changes that reduce his fertility.
5. Overheating the testicles
Also according to the Mayo Clinic, men can kill their sperm cells and increase their chances of infertility when they expose their testicles to elevated temperatures. This is because elevated temperatures impair sperm function and production and this can happen when men sit for long periods, wear tight clothing, or work on a laptop computer for long periods.
In maintaining the health of sperm cells, food also plays a crucial role. Some foods have been particularly found to hamper the well-being of sperm cells, thus, should be avoided or limited by men. A few of such foods are briefly examined below:
1. Processed meats
Processed meats such as hot dogs, sausage and bacon are all delicious but beyond that, the effect they have on the body means they are not healthy to be consumed regularly, especially by men. This is because their increased intake by men is linked to decreased sperm counts and altered sperm motility.
2. Trans fats
According to studies, trans fats just don’t affect the heart, they also affect sperm cells and can significantly contribute to infertility in men, as their intake is linked to decreased sperm counts. Trans fats are present in foods such as cakes, cookies, pies, shortening, french fries, doughnuts, frozen pizza and microwave popcorn.
3. Soy products
The consumption of soy and soy products should also be watched by men as their high intake is linked to infertility. No thanks to the presence of phytoestrogens in soy products, a high intake of them can significantly decrease sperm concentration, thus leading to infertility.
4. High-fat dairy products
The intake of high-fat dairy products including whole milk, cream and cheese should also be watched by men as their intake is linked to decreased sperm motility and abnormal sperm shape.
Having considered some of the foods whose intake can have undesirable effects on sperm cells and male fertility by extension, what then are some of the food whose intake is beneficial to sperm health? A few of them are examined below:
Thanks to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, herring, salmon, and sardines, they are often recommended to be consumed regularly by men as their intake is linked to better sperm motility.
2. Fruits and vegetables
A high intake of foods such as green leafy vegetables and beans is also recommended as these foods are high in antioxidants such as co-enzyme Q10, vitamin C, and lycopene, with these nutrients all linked to higher sperm concentrations and better sperm motility.
Walnuts should also feature more prominently on the diet plans of many men as their intake and those of other nuts have been proven to be beneficial for male fertility. According to studies, the intake of walnuts is associated with significant improvements in sperm vitality.
Eggs are a superfood but apart from some of the health benefits that have come to be associated with their intake, eggs also help improve male fertility, thanks to their high content of vitamin D, a crucial nutrient for fertility in both males and females.