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Fertility-Friendly Recipes for Christmas

From canapésto advent calendars – we love a bit of festive food here at ExSeed HQ. But eating at Christmas time isn’t always the most friendliest for your fertility. But getting stuck into a festive recipe feast doesn’t have to interfere with your preconception plan.

 

Our Favourite Festive Recipes

From dark chocolate gingerbread mousse to turmeric prawn starters, if you’re looking for inspiration for sperm-friendly festive recipes, look no further!

 

Festive Cranberry Smoothie

OK, a smoothie might not be the most festive drink you can think of, but why not take inspiration from your cranberry sauce and have a cranberry smoothie on Christmas morning? Cranberries are full of antioxidants which can help protect sperm from cellular damage and keep them strong and speedy. This recipe comes with antioxidant-rich blueberries too for an extra sperm-friendly boost!

 

Easy Stuffed Mushrooms

If you’re looking for a healthier canape option that’s fertility-friendly, swap your vol-au-vents and your brie parcels for a stuffed mushroom. Mushrooms are great for sperm health as they’re high in protein and folate, as well as selenium and vitamin D, which are also beneficial to fertility and overall health. If you want to give your baby-making some extra mushroom magic, why not add in Cordyceps, which are known aphrodisiacs, sometimes known as ‘Himalayan Viagra’?

 

Brown Butter Chargrilled Prawns

Your swimmers love seafood and prawns are a great thing to add to your fertility meal plan as they are rich in choline, selenium, and iodine as well as lean protein. This recipe is the perfect holiday season starter to impress guests, without derailing your preconception plan. We also love that it comes with a turmeric pickle – turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice that could help to improve sperm count, concentration and motility.

 

Confit Salmon with Lemon and Parsley Salsa

Speaking of seafood – have you ever considered swapping your Turkey for some oily fish? Now we probably wouldn’t advise making herring or anchovies as your Christmas Day centrepiece – this confit of salmon would go down a treat! Oily fish is one of the best things you can eat for male fertility as they are an amazing source of Omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds are not only great for reducing oxidative stress but can help to improve overall sperm quality.

 

Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Almonds

When it comes to sides, the humble broccoli is an incredible source of folate, which is important for both male and female fertility. But as it’s Christmas, why not jazz it up a bit and go for the purple sprouting variety? Vegetables with a purple or blue tint to them are good sources of Anthocyanins – a unique and powerful group of antioxidants! This festive recipe also contains almonds and we all know that nuts are great for your nuts. Almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts are packed with nutrients that are known to support sperm health — such as omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and antioxidants like vitamin E, zinc, and selenium.

 

Roast Parsnip and Chestnut Salad

The song may talk about roasting chestnuts on an open fire, but we prefer ours in this delicious warm Winter salad recipe. Chestnuts are a primary source of the natural anti-inflammatory Aescin. Studies have shown that men struggling with fertility issues saw an improvement in sperm density, sperm motility, and sperm quality when taking aescin regularly, so eating chestnuts could support your swimmers too!

 

Brussel Sprouts with Pepitas and Figs

Christmas Dinner wouldn’t be Christmas Dinner without Brussels sprouts – but how do you serve yours? This year we’ll be trying this new festive recipe that comes with a fertility-boosting triple threat.

Brussel sprouts themselves are great sources of folate, a B vitamin linked to healthy sperm DNA and higher sperm densities. But then you add in the Pumpkin Seeds (an amazing source of zinc, one of the most important nutrients for male fertility) and the figs (one of nature’s aphrodisiacs that can support testosterone production!) and you’ve got yourself a sperm health superfood sprout dish!

 

Garlicky Kale and Pea Sauté

For another side dish bursting with folate, try this garlicky kale recipe. Kale gets a bad reputation but when cooked in the right way it’s delicious – and we love combining it with other green superfoods – like peas. Garlic itself is another helpful ingredient when trying to support your sperm health as it’s rich in allicin and selenium. Allicin improves blood circulation which not only supports sperm production but also helps with healthy erections!

 

Gingerbread and Dark Chocolate Mousse Pots

Sugary desserts are usually an enemy of sperm health – and we wouldn’t recommend overdoing it – but this Christmas dessert recipe caught our eye for several reasons. Firstly it features dark chocolate which is known for its antioxidant properties. Secondly, aside from the chocolate, there’s no added sugar, so it will be much better for you than a shop-bought dessert. Thirdly, it contains ginger which has been proven to improve sperm health parameters. And fourthly – well it just looks really delicious!

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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.

Stress

Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.

Nutrition

Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Vegetables
Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.

Heat

Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.

BMI

There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  

Alcohol

A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.

Age

Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.