Infertility - it’s not just “the woman's problem” anymore: Until recently if a couple was unable to conceive, the woman was “the infertile one.” Now it’s generally recognized within medical circles that the problem lies with the man as much as 50% of the time.
According to research reasons for male infertility can arise before birth. Substances that could be harmful or poisonous to unborn boys include the now banned insecticide DDT, and seemingly innocent things such as clingfilm and soya.
Having sex every day improves the quality of men's sperm and is recommended for couples trying to conceive, according to research.
Should infertile couples take supplements?
At this stage, it’s probably safer to follow a well-balanced diet that’s rich in protective antioxidants than to take vitamin and mineral supplements in large doses.
The following foods are rich sources of the antioxidants that appear to improve fertility:
- Vitamin A or beta-carotene: Liver, eggs, fatty fish, carrots, butternut, sweet potato, broccoli, spinach, dark green lettuce leaves, spanspek, mangoes, pawpaw, orange juice, apricots and yellow peaches.
- Vitamin E: Wheat germ oil, sunflower, maize, olive and canola oils, almonds and avocado.
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, naartjies), guavas, berries (especially cranberries), spanspek, mangoes, pawpaw; tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, sweet peppers and chilli peppers.
- Zinc: Oysters, wheat germ, lean meat, liver, poultry, Ricotta cheese, pecan nuts, peanuts and seafood.
- Selenium: Brazil nuts, fish and other seafood, wheat germ, molasses, sunflower seeds, eggs and milk.