A well-balanced diet is essential to your health at the best of times, but when you’re trying to get pregnant, nutrition is crucial.
If you and your partner are planning for a baby, a nutritional plan is a good place to start.
Up to a third of men find themselves with a low sperm count, which is defined as having fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen, or with poor sperm quality.
Research has shown that a diet low in selenium could be a key cause of male infertility
Selenium is a trace element that is a natural ingredient in many foods and readily available as a dietary supplement. It is required by the body daily, but only in very small quantities. Although very little selenium is actually needed by the body, many peoples’ diets are deficient in this key mineral.
It acts to help prevent oxidation (damage) of the sperm cell, which helps to increase the chance of having healthy sperm. Due to its protective qualities, selenium can also prevent chromosome damage which can cause both birth defects and miscarriages.
The mineral also has antioxidant qualities which can improve sperm quality, volume and motility in men. Selenium improves the development of sperm by strengthening the neck piece that connects the head and tail. Stronger necks enable more sperm to swim better and live longer.
Although men with low sperm counts are more often found to have low levels of selenium, it can also affect men with good sperm production too.
An interesting study analysed men with good sperm counts but low fertilisation rates during IVF treatments. These men were then given selenium and vitamin E supplements each day and one month later their fertility rates increased from 19% to 29%.
So what foods should men eat to increase their selenium levels?
The answer is simple: go Brazilian!
Brazil nuts are not just high in protein content and packed full of trace minerals, but they also boast the highest dietary source of selenium.
So, not only can Brazil nuts improve your sperm quality, they can also help to increase your natural testosterone levels and they contain micronutrients that enhance the male reproductive system.
In his book ‘The 4 Hour Body’ author Tim Ferriss discovered that he had selenium deficiency
Tim started eating Brazil nuts to get his selenium levels back to normal and this led to a testosterone boost which showed up in subsequent lab tests.
The recommended dietary intake for selenium is 70 micrograms for adult men, meaning that just one or two Brazil nuts can easily fill the daily requirements of selenium.
So while an apple a day keeps the doctor away, two Brazil nuts a day can help boost your fertility.