Get prime pointers on the kinds of foods you enjoy that may impact your sperm quality and fertility.
You are what you eat isn’t just advice for those watching their figures, it applies to couples who are struggling to conceive, too.
We quizzed experts to sort out what foods to steer clear of if you want your bedroom mojo and swimmers in top form. Put these foods and drinks on your do-not-eat/drink list if you’re planning to have a baby.
1. Sugary foods and drinks
Consuming excessive amounts of sugar increases the risk of poor heart health and also deals a huge blow to sperm quality and count. You’re also more likely to be at a higher risk of obesity and high blood pressure — both of which are bad news for your chances of conceiving.
2. Processed meats
Bacon, ham, bologna, salami and hotdogs will hurt your sperm quality as it much as it will your waistline and heart health. Since processed meats contain more hormones as compared to untreated meats, this can affect one’s testosterone levels.
Organs like the heart, stomach, intestine, liver and kidney from pigs are rich in cadmium, which is a particularly harmful to sperm, especially smokers.
3. Canned food
Tinned food containing beans, sardines and so forth are lined with a layer of bisphenol A (BPA) resins. Ob-gyn Dr Peter Chew, from the Peter Chew Clinic for Women, notes that both BPA and perfluoroalkyl acids have oestrogenic qualities which may reduce one’s sperm count. But it still remains unclear how much of the tinned stuff you’ll have to scarf down or there to be a negative impact. Do also avoid using non-stick pans which are often coated with unhealthy chemicals like perfluoroalkyl acids that reduce sperm quality.
4. Animal offal
A steaming bowl of kway chap — a dish of kway teow in dark soy sauce served with braised pig intestines and skin — may be behind your conceiving problems. Organs like the heart, stomach, intestine, liver and kidney from pigs are rich in cadmium, which is a particularly harmful to sperm, especially smokers.
Urologist Dr Ho Siew Hong cautions that alcohol can impact sperm quality negatively on top of the other adverse effects it wreaks on the liver. For instance, large amounts of beer can lead to an increase in oestrogen levels in a man’s body, so watch your alcohol intake.
6. Tofu products
SmartParents expert Dr Christopher Chong explains that consuming high amounts of soy can actually decrease one’s sperm count because it can mimic the female hormone, oestrogen. However, it’s still unknown just how much soy you’ll need to eat will produce this disastrous result. To be safe, avoid soy sauce, tofu, edamame and tempeh.
7. Full-fat milk and dairy products
Pesticides and chemicals can find their way into cattle feed from the environment. Once consumed by the cow, these contaminants can bind to the fat in its body and some may be seep into its milk, which may decrease sperm motility.
8. Non-organic fruits and vegetables
If you’re gunning to produce quality sperm, Dr Chong recommends foods that are free from pesticides and preservatives are your best bet.
“[Eat] all kinds of fruits and nuts, such as almond, walnuts, lentils and pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds.”
To boost your sperm Dr Chong notes that foods that are rich in antioxidants and zinc are great for sperm health. Be sure to pick out antioxidant foods like grapes, blueberries, broccoli and spinach which prevent cellular damage in sperm. Besides being a rich source of zinc, oysters also known to boost your sex drive as well.
Vitamins C, E and B, along with folic acid, are vital in improving sperm production, notes ob-gyn Dr Peter Chew from the Peter Chew Clinic for Women. “[Eat] all kinds of fruits and nuts, such as almond, walnuts, lentils and pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds.”
Green leafy vegetables like kai lan, spinach and orange-hued vegetables like tomatoes and carrots can also boost sperm health. Diet aside, how you prepare your food impacts your health, too.
Incidentally, having a regular exercise routine won’t just do wonders to lift your mood after a long day in the office, it will also boost your fertility. As with anything, exercise in moderation. So, be sure not to be overzealous with working out as it will end up doing more harm than good.
Dr Chew points out that activities like cycling and weightlifting in particular, can aggravate one’s varicocele — a cause for a man’s low or no sperm count.
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