You already know that a woman’s diet before conception and during pregnancy is very important for the health of the developing baby, but did you know that her male partner’s diet matters too? After one year of trying, 15 percent of couples are still unable to conceive, and male infertility is the cause about one-third of the time. Eating the right foods can boost sperm count and quality, increasing the odds of conceiving a healthy child. If you’re hoping for a visit from the stork, try these diet tips to support male fertility.

Promote Sperm Health with Antioxidants

Every healthy baby starts with a healthy sperm and egg, and a diet rich in antioxidants can prevent DNA damage and increase sperm motility. Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients for preventing cell damage, especially in smokers. Get plenty of this vitamin every day from citrus fruits, bell peppers, berries and other plant foods. Zinc, an antioxidant mineral found in lamb, oysters, nuts and seeds, is also essential because a deficiency can lower testosterone levels.

Supplement with Folic Acid

Women of childbearing age are often advised to take a daily folic acid supplement, but this vitamin is also important for men who are planning to conceive. Folic acid is essential for repairing DNA and reducing your risk of conceiving a child with chromosomal abnormalities.

Maintain Cardiovascular Health

Erectile dysfunction is a common barrier to conception but improving the health of your circulatory system with a healthy diet can help. The most common cause of ED is hardened arteries that prevent adequate blood flow to the penis. Eating less saturated fat and sugar and more whole plant foods reduces arterial plaque and improves blood flow. Try a heart-healthy diet like the Mediterranean or DASH diet and consider visiting an ED Center if your condition doesn’t improve.

Avoid Soy and Other Phytoestrogens

Although it might seem counterintuitive to avoid healthy foods like tofu and yams, these foods contain estrogen-like compounds that may impede male fertility. It can be especially difficult to avoid soy foods if you’re vegetarian or vegan, so try replacing these products with other plant-based protein sources like beans and lentils.

Remember, infertility is sometimes more complicated than improving your diet. Physical, hormonal, genetic and age-related factors also play a role. If you and your partner have been struggling to conceive for a year or more, consider visiting a fertility doctor if having a child is very important to you.

Author's Bio: 

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.