Micronutrients are essential to maintaining overall health and longevity: brain health, muscle mass, bone density, nervous tissue function, skin health, and blood circulation are among the myriad of bodily functions that rely on adequate stores of these vitamins and minerals every day. Normally, micronutrients are obtained in sufficient amounts with a well-rounded diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables. The preponderance of modern agricultural practices, designed to ward off pests and increase crop yields, has undoubtedly resulted in a food supply with ever-declining nutritional value.
A combination of dietary inadequacy and increased physiological requirements due to ubiquitous daily chemical exposures, chronic stress, or states of ill-health means that oftentimes our bodies’ stores of these essential nutrients are depleted. Replenishing these deficiencies results in more optimal cellular function that acts to slow the progression of aging and degenerative disease alike.
At Edgemont Naturopathic Clinic we offer Micronutrient testing. A simple blood test allows us to measure the body’s stores of 31 vitamins, minerals, amino/ fatty acids, and antioxidants to better tailor your IV therapy, supplementation, or nutritional recommendations. Ask us at your next appointment if this type of testing is right for you!
There are two definitive things to avoid to help with male fertility – smoking and drinking alcohol. However, many men do not realize that their diet can also affect their fertility. Processed meat products like bacon and sausages do affect male fertility in a negative way.
According to a study from Harvard University in 2013, men who were involved in fertility treatments and who ate more than one serving of processed meats, such as salami, bologna, bacon, hamburgers, and hot dogs, ended up with lower semen quality. The team analyzed sperm samples of 156 volunteers and compared them to each participant’s food intake, as reported on a food intake questionnaire. “Processed meat was associated with lower sperm concentration and morphology,” lead researcher Dr. Myriam Afeiche, of the university’s Department of Nutrition.
Conversely, men who ate more chicken or other poultry, had a better chance of improving their fertility. However, the research does not show the exact cause and affect cycle. In reality, Dr. Rebecca Sokol says that may studies have shown that diet can affect human fertility, but out diets are very complex and it is difficult to say how a particular food type may affect the reproductive outcomes. There is one possible explanation – processed meats tend to house more hormonal and chemical residues than other meats, which could have potential reproductive consequences.
The fertilization rate for in vitro fertilization (IVF) without intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) was 28 percent higher among men who ate the least amount of processed meat than among those who ate the most processed meat (82 percent versus 54 percent).
In another 2014 study, published in the journal Epidemiology, the same researchers found that eating processed meat was associated with lower sperm count.
What Should Men be Eating?
So, this begs the question – what should men considering fertility be eating? The good news is that the Harvard Nutrition team also noted a positive association between male fertility and fish consumption. According to the research, white meat fish like cod and halibut were associated with a higher percentage of normal sperm. Salmon, tuna and other dark meat fish, on the other hand, were related to a higher total sperm count.
In essence, it is not clear whether eating red meat in general is good or bad for your fertility, due to the lack of depth of the researches. However, there is a possibility that the meat is not the problem, but rather the chemicals or hormones in the processed meats that might be an issue. Regardless, healthier dietary choices, as elucidated through the food sensitivity blood testing with a Naturopathic Physician, combined with a healthier lifestyle, which includes exercise in moderation, may overall increase fertility outcomes in men.
If you or a loved one is experiencing challenges in fertility, please feel free to book an appointment with me at Edgemont Naturopathic Clinic, and I will be happy to help guide you.
By: Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram, B.Sc.(Hon.), N.D.
1) Workout first thing in the morning before you start your day. Then, you will have no excuse later in the day.
2) Be more active – choose to walk or ride a bicycle or swim as much as possible, swimming is one of the highest calorie burning activities you can do.
3) Focus all your meals around a good source of protein and healthy fats. This will help maintain muscle. Protein and fats have the highest thermic effect of food which allows you to burn more calories digesting it.
4) Consider getting sorbet ice cream if you do have dessert. They are usually very low in calories compared to fancy Italian gelato.
5) Eat foods high in fiber for breakfast and this will keep you feeling full all day long.
6) Never have 2 “cheat meals” in a row. For example, if you have pasta for one meal, make sure the next meal is something that is healthy, such as lean fish and vegetables.
7) Ask for the dressing or sauce on the side when you order food at a restaurant – you can add the right amount you want as you eat.
8) Drink water based on your body weight throughout the day. The more water you drink, the less likely you will consume large calorie meals.
9) Drink zero calorie drinks. For example, drinks with stevia will help with sweet cravings and do not contain calories which can cause weight gain.
I should trade mark this last piece of advice – I say it to patients all the time:
10) “If you are going to cheat, cheat well.” Do not cheat with junk foods with artificial or junk ingredients. Cheat with food that feeds your soul and your belly – foods that are decadent and worth the calories. Follow the 80-20 rule or the 6 days on, 1 day off rule.
People gain weight when they go on holidays or travel because there are so many different food choices and options. I hope you found these 10 tips useful and you can apply some of them for the fall. If you do need help with a specific diet to achieve the health goals you want, feel free to reach out and let me help you!
Dr. Sanjay Mohan Ram, N.D.