Positive Fertility Diets for Males

how to increase sperm count

Diet has a huge impact on male fertility, in particular sperm count and sperm motility. Male fertility can definitely be affected by what a man eats, particularly when sperm health is taken into consideration. Since sperm only live for approximately 74 days, improving your food and lifestyle for just two to three months before trying to conceive may also increase your fertility. Fertility diets for males matters – if you wish to conceive.

Fertility Foods

Many researchers and Dietitians are developing fertility diets for males to fine-tune which foods can be considered fertility-boosting foods. Eating a balanced diet that includes all the food groups namely: grains, meat, vegetables and legumes, fruits and dairy is essential for the overall reproductive health of males and form the basis of fertility diets for males. Here are some predominant foods that help to increase male fertility.

  • Leafy Greens
  • Men who consume more leafy green vegetables have more concentrated and more mobile sperm. Only one in ten Americans, however, eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. Green leafy vegetables are a natural source of folate and these include dried legumes like chickpeas, beans, and lentils as well as dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach. In the Uk, they have just recommended that the UK fortify flour with folic acid to help with this lack of folate in the community. Eat your greens boys has never been truer than when trying for a baby.
  • Fatty Fish
  • Fatty fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that are healthy fats. These are essential for optimum health and to enhance male fertility. It is considered one of the most important fertility diet components. Some good fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids are herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and bluefin tuna for example.
  • Whole Grains
  • Instead of a low-carb diet, a diet high in low glycaemic index (low GI) or “good” carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can increase male fertility since they are packed with essential nutrients like fibre and antioxidants.
  • Oysters
  • Oysters are considered aphrodisiacs for a reason. They have the highest zinc content per serving of any food, and by boosting sperm volume and motility, foods strong in zinc may support male fertility. If you just don’t have a liking for oysters, you can still get zinc from beef, poultry, dairy, nuts, eggs, nutritious grains, and beans. Or, you can obtain zinc by taking a daily multivitamin to assist maintain the best possible health for both you and your sperm.
  • Nuts
  • Nuts may enhance the quality and functionality of sperm. For instance, it is thought that walnuts might improve sperm quality. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Almonds, pecans, peanuts, pine nuts, and hazelnuts are further nuts that are high in antioxidants.
  • You need to watch your portions of nuts to ensure that your nut nibbling is as healthful as possible. Limit your intake to one ounce, or roughly a modest handful, and stay away from sugar-sweetened and chocolate-covered nuts or salt-covered nuts.
  • Seeds
  • Zinc and omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in pumpkin seeds, and both of these nutrients may boost sperm quality. Sometimes just mixing some pumpkin, chia and sunflower seeds or flaxseeds together and eating with some yoghurt as a snack or breakfast can help to increase sperm production and motility. Seeds can also provide your body with vitamin E and some other antioxidants.
fertility in males

Best Vitamins and Minerals for Fertility Diets for Males

Vitamins, minerals, and even some plants can enhance healthy sperm production and are known as male fertility supplements or sperm health supplements. Men’s fertility supplements contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and antioxidants and are sold as vitamins to increase sperm volume and health. Many of these supplements are available online, however certain health food stores also sell them. These can be incorporated in to healthy fertility diets for males.

Supplements (for women, too) are not considered drugs, therefore producers are legally allowed to make all kinds of claims about their products and sell them, even if those products don’t work or have low efficacy rates. So make sure you do your homework and check with your medical professional. Remember diet is always King.

Here are some of the most effective male fertility supplements:

  • Folate
  • Zinc
  • B vitamins
  • CoQ10
  • Vitamin E and Vitamin C
  • L-carnitine
  • Vitamin D
  • Arginine
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • B-carotene
  • Selenium
  • Lycopene

B Vitamins

B vitamins are essential for enhancing sperm quality. B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamin) in particular have been demonstrated to affect male fertility. Lower sperm counts and poorer sperm concentration are linked to folate, or B9, deficiency. In addition to increasing sperm count and motility, Vitamin B12 helps lessen sperm DNA damage.

The B vitamins are found once again in our 5 food groups such as dairy, meat, vegetables and legumes, fruit, and whole grains (brown rice, barley, millet etc) another reason to opt for a healthy well-rounded diet. If getting enough B vitamins in your diet each day proves to be difficult, think about taking a B-complex supplement.


The red to pink hues in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and other foods are caused by lycopene, a non-provitamin A carotenoid. As a dietary source of lycopene, processed tomato products are the main contender. Strong antioxidant properties of lycopene contribute to an improvement in sperm motility and are a beneficial addition for a fertility diet for males.


Males require far more zinc than females do since it is a vital mineral that is lost through ejaculation. Men who are infertile or subfertile have sperm with lower levels of zinc, whereas those with higher zinc levels had superior concentration and motility results. Fill up on seafood, poultry, eggs, and legumes like beans, cashews, and shellfish like oysters, fish, and seafood.


Although not foods pesticides nonetheless find their way into our diet, they are genuinely worth discussing as they are also everywhere.

Pesticides naturally end up on fruits and vegetables. Due to contaminated water sources, they also find their way into meat and fish. BPA is no better; it can be found in most food cans and packaging. It gradually seeps into the food we consume. BPA and pesticide ingredients both function as xenoestrogens, or substances that resemble estrogen. As part of healthy fertility diets for males it is best to wash your food well before consumption or choose organic foods if that is an option for you. 

Foods to Avoid for Male Fertility

Male fertility may be increased with a few more lifestyle modifications to aid fertility diets for males. These fertility diets for males include maintaining a healthy weight and striving to exercise every day. For couples who are attempting to get pregnant, it is also best not to smoke and attempting to limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks each day for men who are trying to have a baby.

Poorer semen parameters and decreased fertility are linked to diets high in:

fertility diets for males
  • Processed foods
  • Red meat
  • Fatty dairy
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Potatoes or high GI foods
  • Trans fat
  • Junk food
  • Sweet drinks and treats
  • and being overweight and smoking

and simultaneously low in

  • Whole-grain foods
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Nuts
  • Lean dairy

Fertility Diets for Males

Fertility diets for males is of utmost importance. Diet and fertility have been linked with each other as diet has a huge impact on sperm’s health, count, and motility. Different foods are associated with an increase in male fertility. These foods are a part of fertility diets for males. While some foods have a negative impact on sperm count and are best not incorporated into a fertility diet for males. The likelihood of getting pregnant can be increased by adopting healthy lifestyle habits that encourage fertility and avoiding behaviours that can harm it. It is worth trying your best at a fertility diet for males.


Ferramosca, A., & Zara, V. (2022). Diet and male fertility: The impact of nutrients and antioxidants on sperm energetic metabolism. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(5), 2542.

Safarinejad, M. R., & Safarinejad, S. (2012). The roles of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in idiopathic male infertility. Asian J Androl, 14(4), 514-515.

Gaskins, A. J., & Chavarro, J. E. (2018). Diet and fertility: a review. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 218(4), 379-389.

Skoracka, K., Eder, P., Łykowska-Szuber, L., Dobrowolska, A., & Krela-Kaźmierczak, I. (2020). Diet and nutritional factors in male (in) fertility—underestimated factors. Journal of clinical medicine, 9(5), 1400.

Afeiche, M. C., Gaskins, A. J., Williams, P. L., Toth, T. L., Wright, D. L., Tanrikut, C., … & Chavarro, J. E. (2014). Processed meat intake is unfavorably and fish intake favorably associated with semen quality indicators among men attending a fertility clinic. The Journal of nutrition, 144(7), 1091-1098.

Prenatal Diet – A Quick Healthy Guide

pre-pregnancy nutrition

What to Eat to Prepare for Pregnancy?

A prenatal diet is simply your diet before pregnancy. Another name for it is a pre-pregnancy diet or your preconception nutrition. Making healthy food choices and eating a balanced diet before pregnancy will prepare your body for pregnancy and can be the start of healthy life for you and your baby. Prenatal guidelines are normal adult healthy guidelines, with a few added bonuses thrown in.

Nutritional Prenatal Guidelines

Prenatal vitamins and multivitamins are often taken before pregnancy (especially folate). It is best to talk to your healthcare professional about the best prenatal vitamins that you may require, but following the below guide is a general place to begin.

  • Vegetables and legumes Add this food group wherever and whenever you can.
  • Fruits Fruit is a wonderful source of energy and nutrients. Generally speaking, 2 serves of fruit per day is enough for most adults.
  • Grains and Cereals These are filling and are a good source of energy and fibre. Choose healthy wholegrain carbohydrate options (like brown rice, bread and legumes).
  • Meats, poultry and legumes, nuts/seeds Foods in this group are mainly protein-rich foods – you need this group for good health
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives Calcium, protein, iodine and vitamin A and D are just some of the nutrients that this food group can provide.

Nutrients of Note For a Prenatal Diet

Following are some of the nutrients that should be included in a prenatal diet plan and remember to drink plenty of water!

Folate: Folate is a very important nutrient that should be consumed in adequate amounts before pregnancy. It helps prevent neural tube defects, i.e. spina bifida. Prior to pregnancy, women should take 400 mcg of dietary folate equivalents (DFE) per day from folic acid supplements and try to consume foods that are fortified with folic acid or are from food sources. Sources of folic acid;

  • Dark, green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach)
  • Citrus fruits
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Whole grains
  • Breads and cereals fortified with folate

Iron: This is another essential component of a prenatal diet. It should be consumed in high amounts prior to pregnancy to prevent iron deficiency anaemia. If you have struggled in the past with iron deficiency it would be wise to see your healthcare professional to discuss this prior to conceiving. Some women require supplemental iron upon recommendation from their health professional. It is also helpful to have some vitamin C with your iron to help your body absorb the iron. Try to include iron-containing foods such as;

  • Red meat
  • Chicken and fish
  • Fortified cereals and breads
  • Leafy greens
  • Beans

Calcium: Another dietary area where we need to focus on is calcium. Calcium is essential for building up your bones and it helps to regulate how your body uses fluids. If you are considering getting pregnant then women need roughly three big glasses of skim milk every day or equivalent (approx. 1000 mg of calcium). You may also need extra calcium to supplement your prenatal vitamins. Healthy sources of calcium include;

  • Yoghurt
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Dark green vegetables
  • Seafood like shrimp, salmon, canned light tuna, and catfish.

Protein: Protein plays a very important role in prenatal care.  A study in the Journal of Nutrition recommends women consume 70 to 100g of protein daily (12-20 % of your daily calories), depending on your weight. Discuss with your healthcare provider to see the specific amount you need. Healthy sources of protein for prenatal care include;

  • Peanut butter
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Lean pork and beef
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Cottage cheese
prenatal diet

Foods to Reduce or Avoid if Planning For a Pregnancy

  • Aim to reduce packaged foods, these foods can be often high in salt/sodium, calories/kilojoules and fat or sugar
  • Discretionary foods (you know the ones we mean) – chips, chocolates and cakes.
  • Soda/soft drinks, sports drinks, flavoured milk and high-calorie drinks.
  • Try to consume good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and decrease your intake of saturated and trans fats. These add calories and may lead to increased weight and increased blood cholesterol levels. Plant-based foods are the winner here.
  • If you are hungry try not to eat snacks that are high in fat or sugar such as candy/lollies, cookies/biscuits or chocolate. Try and reach for a healthy snack.
  • Foods that contain added salt. Try not to add salt in cooking or at the table
  • Limit alcohol, both to contain calories, but also to start healthy habits. When you are pregnant alcohol is not recommended.
  • Reduce caffeine – once again begin healthy habits now. High caffeine intakes may also affect your fertility and it can hinder your body’s ability to absorb other nutrients that it needs, for example, iron and calcium.

Conclusion on a Prenatal Diet

Ensure that your prenatal diet is balanced and nutritious. Add nourishing, whole foods to your prenatal diet and reduce the intake of foods that do not provide nutritional value (like fast and processed foods) and consume the appropriate prenatal vitamins needed. By doing these small steps you will be positioning yourself for the best possible pregnancy diet.

All information found on simple nutritional advice is given as general advice only. Please consult your healthcare provider for individual advice.

Elango, R., & Ball, R. O. (2016). Protein and Amino Acid Requirements during Pregnancy. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.)7(4), 839S–44S. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.115.011817
Stephens, T. V., Payne, M., Ball, R. O., Pencharz, P. B., & Elango, R. (2015). Protein requirements of healthy pregnant women during early and late gestation are higher than current recommendations. The Journal of nutrition145(1), 73–78. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.114.198622
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025
Eat for health Australian Guidelines
Centre for Diseases and Control Prevention

Should I Lose Weight Before Getting Pregnant?

healthy weight before pregnancy

This is a great question! Does being overweight affect fertility? Should you lose weight before getting pregnant? While we don’t want to delve deeply into issues here regarding weight stigma, prejudice and body image, weight loss and getting pregnant are very important issues to discuss. It is particularly important for a couple to discuss if they are planning to conceive and have a baby.

The topic of weight loss before pregnancy or being overweight before pregnancy needs to be discussed for proper prenatal care.

There are so many questions that you may have regarding this topic around wether or not you should lose weight before getting pregnant;

  • How does being overweight affect fertility?
  • Is it harder to get pregnant if you are overweight?
  • Does being overweight affect male fertility?
  • What is the ideal weight for getting pregnant?
  • How much weight do I need to lose to get pregnant?
  • What is the ideal weight for fertility and many more?

Let’s try and unpack some of these thoughts. I would like to preface it all however by saying, as we talked about in prenatal nutrition if you are planning a pregnancy this is the perfect time to be trialling and introducing new healthy habits into your daily lives.

should I lose weight before getting pregnant
It is like a doorway into the next stages of your life…

If you are carrying a few extra kilograms or pounds, then by adjusting some small habits, may take care of these kilograms or pounds for yourself. If you do have a lot of weight to lose and are interested in losing weight to conceive then it may be necessary to seek help from a qualified professional or a registered dietitian or an accredited practising dietitian, and your GP.

What about if you are already pregnant? Well, congratulations jump here to learn about pregnancy nutrition.

What is A Healthy Weight Before Pregnancy?

We know that there are many benefits of being in what we call a “healthy weight range” for your height. These health benefits provide long-term and immediate results for your prenatal care, pregnancy care and postpartum.

The healthy weight range can be used in most countries to help determine what is a healthy weight for us to be. It tells you, for your height, approximately what weight range is considered healthy for you.

The table below shows what your weight range is in comparison to your height. Please note that it is a guide only from the NHS – UK. Some countries may use the BMI (body mass index scale) but the BMI is a population tool and should not be used at an individual health level.

Everyone’s healthy ideal weight for conceiving is slightly different and it is important to note that this table does not take into consideration your sex or your age. Have a look at the table below or use this interactive tool to determine your healthy weight range.

Healthy Weight Range Chart
ideal weight for fertility

Why is A Healthy Weight Range Important for Everyone?

The US Department of Health and Human Services state that a healthy weight range is important at any age for these reasons:

  • Important for our overall health
  • Helps prevent lifestyle diseases such as;
    • Heart disease
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • Some cancers
    • and breathing problems
  • Being a healthy weight helps you to feel good about yourself and
  • Also helps you to have more energy to do the things you need to do and love to do

Why is a Healthy Weight for Pre-Pregnancy Important?

There are so many reasons why being a healthy weight before pregnancy is important for your future pregnancy and also for the health of your baby. Some reasons are listed below;

  • Being overweight/obese can reduce fertility and also reduce the chance of having a healthy baby broadly speaking due to;
    • Hormonal imbalances
    • Ovulation issues
    • and menstrual disorders
  • Overweight/obesity can also make assisted reproduction more difficult, ie; it can make IVF treatment difficult for example
  • Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome – (PCOS) can also reduce fertility and it is well known that PCOS is related to obesity issues. PCOS weight loss and fertility are linked.
  • We also know that being overweight affects male fertility. Obesity can lower fertility in men too, not just women. This is due to;
    • Hormone problems
    • Erectile dysfunction 
    • and other health concerns that are linked with carrying too much weight. 
    • Hot tip: We know that weight loss in men can lead to an increase in sperm count. If you have time to plan, losing weight (if needed) is a great objective, as sperm can take 3 months to develop, so reaching a healthier weight 3 months before conception is ideal. 
  • The closer you are to a healthy weight for pre-pregnancy the better chance you have to conceive and also of having a healthy baby. The baby is more likely to be healthier at birth and throughout its life into adulthood.
  • Being overweight and getting pregnant, may lead to some complications for your pregnancy. These can include; high blood pressure, miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, caesarean births and stillbirths.

Please remember even a small weight loss before getting pregnant can make a positive impact on fertility and baby health


The Factors That Affect a Healthy Weight? 

Many factors affect a healthy weight and interplay with your decision to lose weight before getting pregnant and in the section on prenatal nutrition, you can see specific information for you to follow, but general factors that can play a role in being a healthy weight are;

  • Family history
  • Genetics
  • Our Environment
  • Personal Metabolism
  • Energy balance, which is how much energy (calories/kilojoules) you consume.
    • If the total amount of calories or Kj’s you consume is more than you exert (use up) then you will put on weight over time – but the reverse is true as well. For weight loss, you need to exert (use up) more calories than you eat or drink. Another hot tip: If you are trying to lose weight adjust your calories slightly by approximately 500 calories/2100 Kj per day and see how you go.
  • Activity – try to be active every day and increase your activity if you are able
  • Limit how much time you sit around (either working or playing)
  • Sleep well. Set up some good sleep hygiene habits now (Yes they will be tested when your baby comes along, but you may as well enjoy the many benefits of a goodnight’s sleep now – whilst you can).
  • And our habits ………

A Final Note on Should You Lose Weight Before Getting Pregnant 

If you are thinking of getting pregnant while overweight, or wondering if you should lose weight before getting pregnant, then starting a healthy prenatal nutrition plan and an exercise plan to be the healthiest version of you may improve your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby. It is not really a matter of should you lose weight before getting pregnant, but what steps can we do today to make out life as healthy as possible for ourselves.

So the take-home message is that what you eat and what you do makes a huge difference to your health and the health of your future children. Take one day at a time and start practising some healthy habits that you can pass on to your children.

weight loss
  • Better Health Victoria – Better Health Channel
  • National Health Service – UK
  • Dietitians of Canada Association
  • Dietitians of Australia
  • CDC- Healthy Weight – Nutrition and Physical Actvity
  • US Department of Health and Human Services