Our fast paced, bad diet lifestyle is full of sperm enemies.   We smoke, we drink too much alcohol at the weekend and we eat ‘food on the run’ during the working week. Often these meals are high in calories but low in nutrients.  They may not contain vitamins and antioxidants that protect our sperm from harm. They also make us put on unhealthy weight.

 

Eat well

Scientists have shown that a healthy balanced diet is important for healthy sperm. Just like you, your sperm need lots of different nutrients to function properly. 

Your diet should have:

  •  Lots of fruit and vegetables
  •  Lots of starchy foods, like bread, rice, potatoes and pasta
  •  Some protein like meat, fish, eggs and beans
  •  Some milk, yoghurt and cheese
  •  Not too much fat, sugar or salt

Cut down on smoking and drinking

Smoking over 20 cigarettes a day can reduce both sperm count and motility. Tobacco contains over 4,000 ingredients and lots of them are toxic to sperm.  Smoke produces ‘free radicals’ and these can damage DNA and even kill sperm. 

Drinking too much alcohol isn’t good for your sperm either. UK guidelines say that men trying for a baby shouldn’t drink more than 2 units of alcohol once or twice a week.

 

Leave out recreational drugs

Cannabis damages sperm in lots of ways.  It slows their swim speed and makes them act abnormally. The worst effect is that long term regular use can permanently reduce a man’s ability to make sperm.

 

Age

Whilst the effects of aging in men aren’t as dramatic as in women, men over 40 are now making up nearly a quarter of fertility consultations.  There are exceptional stories about men who have fathered children in their sixties.  What the media doesn’t say is that these men all had much younger partners.  Don’t leave fatherhood until your forties without weighting up the potential price to be paid.

 

Stress and weight

Both men and women suffer from the effects of obesity and stress. Both damage your general health and wellbeing, and can also reduce your fertility. Stress can even stop you wanting to have sex.

 

The good news for men

You need regular sex. When you don’t ejaculate for a week or more, your sperm become old and sluggish.  These sperm are less likely to get your partner pregnant. The healthiest sperm are those produced between 2-7 days after the last ejaculation.