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Healthy Sperm Recipes with Fertility Nutritionist Emily Barker

Are you looking for fertility-friendly recipes inspiration you can trust? Look no further! We’ve rounded up seven of our favourite meals containing sperm health superfoods – and they all come approved by the wonderful fertility nutritionist Emily Barker of Roots and Shoots Fertility.

From protein-rich breakfasts to tasty salads bursting with nutrients your sperm cells will love, this list has it all!

 

Spaghetti Bolognese with Liver by Life of Pie

Spaghetti Bolognese with Liver by Life of Pie

Why we love this recipe…

Liver is a great source of iron, folate, selenium, Co-Q10, B vitamins and vitamin A – all key nutrients involved in supporting your fertility. The idea of eating liver might not be that appealing but chopped up or grated into a dish like bolognese and you won’t really be able to taste it! This twist on a classic spag bol also includes plenty of vegetables – from tomatoes and carrots – which are all full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Emily says…

Liver is often referred to as nature’s multivitamin. It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat so great to include in your preconception plan. Opt for whole wheat spaghetti for healthier carbohydrates Or higher protein pasta like lentil, chickpea or brown rice pasta.

 

Kale and Broccoli Salad by Olive Magazine

Kale and Broccoli Salad by Olive Magazine

Why We Love This Recipe

Dark leafy greens have always been a go-to when it comes to fertility nutrition – and in this healthy sperm recipe, you get two for the price of one! If kale and broccoli aren’t your thing you can always try other leafy greens like Brussel sprouts, spinach or chard.

Emily says…

Vegetables like broccoli and kale contain micronutrients, such as folate (folic acid), magnesium and iron. Folate, and B vitamins support the process required to make healthy DNA which is obviously really key in baby-making. This salad also features walnuts which are high in antioxidants known to improve male fertility.

 

Walnut and Beetroot Salad by Recipe Tin Eats

Walnut and Beetroot Salad by Recipe Tin Eats

Why we love this recipe

Most nuts are great for sperm health and walnuts definitely are! One study found that sperm morphology and motility movement improved in men who added walnuts to their diet over 12 weeks. Walnuts make a great snack but this salad is the perfect way to bring them into your meal plan – and makes a great side dish to any protein.

Emily says…

Walnuts are the nuts with the highest content of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also rich in protein, fibre, vitamin B6, folate, and minerals including copper, zinc, and magnesium. The beetroot is also good news for sperm health as it contains plenty of vitamins C and E and Vitamin B9 which are also essential for healthy sperm.

 

Salmon with Creamy Lentils by The Body Coach

Salmon with Creamy Lentils by The Body Coach

Why we love this recipe…

This healthy sperm recipe tastes as good as it looks and is so easy to throw together. Salmon is one of our favourite oily fish – and oily fish are a cornerstone of a good fertility nutrition plan thanks to being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

Emily Says…

Salmon is not only rich in omega-3s – which are really important for sperm function – but it is also an excellent source of B vitamins as well as some vitamin D, and selenium. I love that lentils are the side in this dish – high in protein, fibre and folate – all important for fertility.

 

Irish Mackerel Breakfast by Jamie Oliver

Irish Mackerel Breakfast by Jamie Oliver

Why we love this recipe…

Fish for breakfast isn’t for everyone (although it’s pretty common in Denmark where our founders Emil and Morten are from!) but starting your day with something rich in protein is great for your blood sugar levels and your hormonal balance!

Emily says…

Mackerel is another oily fish high in omega 3s fatty acids and eggs are rich in Vitamin A, B’s and protein, which support sperm motility. If you want to make this super sperm recipe even more fertility friendly you could add a handful of greens and use sourdough bread, which is great for your gut!

 

Egg and Veggie muffins by Well Plated

Why we love this recipe….

If you aren’t into fish or meat, these tasty muffins are another way you can start your day with some protein power! The best part is you can batch-cook these ahead of time and have them ready to go first thing in the morning.

Emily says…

These muffins have a lot of nutritional bases covered. They are high in protein and fibre which keeps blood sugar stable which is also super important for healthy sperm. The peppers and tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C and lycopene which is known to support sperm health. They are the ideal size to grab on the go!

 

Kale Pomegranate and Chicken Salad by Olive Magazine

Why we love this recipe…

Salads don’t have to be boring! This colourful bowl is brimming with antioxidants which will help to protect your sperm cells from oxidative stress damage and you’re getting lots of healthy fats and protein from the avocado and chicken.

Emily says…

Avocado is not only a good source of healthy fats, it’s also rich in magnesium, vitamin E and potassium. The pomegranate is a great addition as it’s loaded with vitamin C and has a high content of phytochemicals called punicalagins, which are shown to have very strong antioxidant properties.

 

Want to know the best overall diet for fertility? Check out our article on the Mediterranean diet for sperm health.

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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.