When I was struggling with infertility, I made a major overhaul to my diet.
To improve my chances of conception with PCOS I eliminated gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine, and processed meat products while boosting my intake of alkalizing fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. My husband decided to support me by adhering to my new plan. After some research we found that boosting his Omega 3 fatty acid intake was extremely beneficial for his fertility too.
Most people fear eating too much fat.
But there are good fats that we need in our diets, including Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s are found in many of my favorite foods, including avocados, walnuts, salmon, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and flaxseed oil.
The healthy fats for male fertility
The three types of fatty acids are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) found in plant foods, EPA (eicosapentaenoic) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) both of which are found in fish sources. Science has determined that Omega-3s EPA and DHA benefit cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and boosting good cholesterol.
Omega-3 fatty acids possess anti-inflammatory qualities and have also been found to boost fertility. Score!
DHA (found in fish) in particular has been found to improve sperm quality. This particular fat is needed for sperm to develop properly, which is crucial for fertilization and conception.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, are an excellent source of DHA.
Vegetarians who rely on ALA sources do not get the beneficial fish-based DHA. You see, while our bodies can convert ALA into DHA, the process is not very efficient. You need to consume a lot more ALA in order to get the same amount of DHA after conversion. This conversion is also based on how healthy our body is and how well it can make that conversion.
Vegetarians who are open to supplementation can get their daily requirement of DHA through fish oil pills. They can also increase their daily intake of plant-based Omega 3s in order to help the body get enough ALAs to convert.
It would be wrong of me not to mention the potential drawbacks of Omega 3s. And although I believe that they are more beneficial than not, recently a study was published that found a correlation between DHA concentrations in the blood and an increase risk in developing prostate cancer. The study found that supplement forms of DHA were particularly concerning. It is unclear though exactly why high levels of omega-3 fatty acids would increase prostate cancer risk.
I’m a big believer in whole foods and eating closest to the source.
And I also feel that this is only one of a small handful of studies that have attempted to correlate Omega 3 supplementation to cancer risks. The evidence supporting the health benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids is overwhelming. So I recommend that men seeking to boost their fertility consistently eat four ounces of cold water fish two to three times per week. You can try my recipe for Walnut Crusted Salmon or Creamy Dill Salmon for dinners and the Salmon and Avocado Salad makes a great lunch.
The use of supplements (which can easily be found on amazon) should only be used when needed.