It should come as no surprise that what you put into your body will affect what comes out of it. (Get it? I’m talking about your sperm, here.)
Who hasn’t heard of the phrase “You are what you eat”?
What about “Your sperm is what you eat?” Ok, I made that up. But I think you get my point:
What you put in your body will affect your sperm — the quality of your sperm, to be more accurate.
In our fast-paced society, people don’t have the time to purchase and prepare well-balanced, nutritious meals. For men, processed and high-fat fast foods are the most convenient and affordable sustenance, so that’s what they end up shoving into their face holes after a long work day.
Yet, little do they know that eating a quarter-pounder four times a week could be creating havoc on their sperm, weakening them to the point of uselessness, or even worse, systematically killing off their little guys as if it were D-Day.
Wake up, dudes.
Scientific studies show that certain foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats can not only be harmful to your sperm health, but also your overall health. And how many men are actually following this advice when they are trying for a baby? Not many. Definitely not enough.
[insert stock or animated/cartoon photo of fast food]
Stop putting trash into your body, Dummy.
So, it is all about priorities. If your sperm health is a priority to you because you want to have a healthy child, for the love of all that is holy, force yourself to find the time and commitment it takes to avoid putting trash into your body.
Here are the “sperm killer” foods to avoid If you have a low sperm count, poor motility, or messed up sperm morphology. It’s not too late to start thinking carefully about the foods you are putting in your body.
The Sperm Killing List
People with diets abundant in saturated fats tend to eat a lot of meat and dairy. I’m not saying you should cut out meat and dairy completely, but steps can be taken to single out the worst offenders.
Some foods that are heavy in saturated fats are:
- Red meat
- Dark chicken meat
- Chicken skin (yes, this includes chicken wings!)
- Whole milk
- Sour cream
- Ice cream
When eaten in excess, these foods are bad for your sperm and your heart. Studies show that diets that are high in saturated fats correlate with increased cases of asthenozoospermia, which means reduced sperm motility.
[insert images/gifs of healthy alternatives]
Healthy Alternatives: lean meats, skinless poultry, fish (not fried fish – duh!)
[Insert stock BBQ image and create a text box or annotation beside or below it. Something like this: http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips ]
Stop charring your meat on the BBQ!
BBQ Tip: Don’t char your meats! Charred foods contain HCA’s (heterocyclic amines) and are known cancer causing agents. Instead, use a fresh herb marinade to drastically reduce the HCA’s like olive oil and rosemary and BBQ safely! Read more tips on BBQing and HCA’s here.
Trans Fats (Fried Foods)
Saturated fats can be damaging to your health and sperm, but trans fats are even worse! Short for “Trans Fatty Acids”, this type of fat is by far the most harmful fat we consume.
Examples of trans fats are:
- Fried foods – chicken wings, French fries, anything that is deep-fried with a batter
- Baked goods – cakes, pies, cookies, donuts
- Snack foods – microwave popcorn, crackers
- Anything made with shortening, like pies and other pastries.
Trans fats may be the worst “food” ever
People with diets heavy in trans fats are not only at risk of diminished sperm efficiency, but also heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Healthy Alternative: Bake breaded cauliflower florets and add your favourite wing sauce. If you do it right, it will be similar to your favourite chicken wings…seriously.
Tip: Read your food labels. Common names for trans fats in many foods include shortening, hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and margarine.
I’m sure it doesn’t come as much as a surprise for most people that processed meats are not good for you. Even just a quick glance at a horrifying concoction like pimento loaf or macaroni and cheese loaf should be enough of a warning signal for most humans. These are the types of processed meats that even a wild animal has the sense to avoid.
What the hell is “mock chicken” exactly?
Does anyone really even know?
[I suggest that you put an image of a pimento loaf and put a red line through it or a warning label or something]
Here are some processed meats to cut back on:
- Lunch meats/Cold cuts
BACON? BACON? Yes I know, no one ever wants to be told to eat less bacon. But, the truth is that bacon is high in saturated fats and loaded with preservatives that are typical in processed meats.
Healthy Alternative: Slow-cook a chicken and use the leftovers for sandwiches instead of cold cuts.
Much like processed meats, boxed foods hold little in the way of nutrients.
[image of boxed food]
Let’s take granola bars, for example.
They seem wholesome enough, right? Nope. Most granola bars are crammed with sugars and preservatives and have very little nutritional value. Boxed foods are also notorious for trans fats (see above) and soy lethicin (see below).
Refined carbohydrates, like the ones in boxed foods, are everywhere. Everywhere! If you want your swimmers to make it to the egg, you best avoid them.
Healthy Alternatives: Have fruit, veggies, or unsalted nuts for a snack.
This one may come as a bit of a surprise. Soy-based tofu is often recommended as a healthy alternative to meat, so how could soy be bad for sperm?
The soy plant contains naturally existing estrogens, which are called phytoestrogens. If eaten in small doses, soy won’t have much of an effect on the male body. However, if consumed more frequently, in larger portions, soy may have a negative effect on sperm.
Soy Ya later Bean Curd!
Too much soy can increase estrogen levels, which can lead to lowered testosterone. Studies show that diets rich in soy result in lower semen quality. Soy can be found in more foods than you think, so be sure to check ingredients before buying.
If you need a soy fix, consider fermented soy products like miso and tempeh, which are not near as bad.
Healthy Alternatives: Seitan, beans and lentils, quinoa, and fermented soy
For many people, an alcoholic beverage is an ideal way to unwind after a hard day at work and loosen up during social activities and events.
But alcohol can be immensely damaging to the male reproductive system. So, how much is too much?
Unfortunately, there is no cut and dried answer.
Alcohol affects different people in different ways. Heavy boozing has been known to actually shrink testicle size, decrease testosterone, and even result in impotence. Studies have concluded that alcohol can negatively affect the shape and volume of the sperm.
Reduce the booze, jerk .
Basically, the less you drink, the better your sperm will be. Reduce the booze for the sake of your sperm and you may also benefit from losing a few pounds!
Healthy Alternatives: decaffeinated herbal teas, soda water with a splash of juice
Like with most things, moderation is key when it comes to caffeine. Many people like to have a cup of coffee to get them going in the morning, or a caffeinated soda at lunch to stay alert throughout the afternoon.
Try half regular with half decaf
Recommended doses for caffeine are two servings per day, at the most. If you need more than two coffees a day to stay awake, you may want to review your sleeping habits (i.e you may not be getting enough quality sleep!).
Healthy Alternatives: Decaffeinated coffee (Swiss water method is best) or herbal tea
Sports drinks are all the rage for replenishing electrolytes after a workout, while also providing rehydration.
The problem with these sports drinks is that they are absolutely packed with sugar. Juices and soda pops are also on this list.
Sugary soda is bad for your swimmers!
High glucose levels can have a damaging effect on sperm, and health in general.
Men who indulge in sugary drinks on a regular basis will likely have a lower sperm count, and reduced sperm motility. They are also more susceptible to type 2 diabetes.
Healthy Alternatives: Carbonated water with a splash of juice
The Next Step: Man up!
Now it’s time to be honest with yourself.
Think about how your diet is on a normal day and ask yourself “Am I consuming too much crappy food and drink?”
If the answer is yes, man up! Start making some changes.
Not only will you feel better, but your partner will be happy you are trying to make this process more successful. Your sperm will thank you for your efforts!