Healthy diet for a father–to-be

Hi all!

On this special father’s day episode, we discussed during our nutrition segment with nutritionist Christelle Bedrossian a healthy diet for a father–to-be.

  1. Does the diet have an impact on male fertility?
    Doctors say there may be something new that prospective dads can do to improve the reproductive process.
    Research shows that poor eating habits can lower the quality and quantity of sperm, making conception more difficult. And since infertility is nearly as much a man’s issue as it is a woman’s – 32 per cent of infertility problems can be traced to men- a healthy diet now will boost your chances of conceiving a child. Your food choices could play a significant part in your ability to conceive.
    Being overweight can affect your ability to conceive a child and can influence the quality of your sperm. This effect is greatest in men who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
  2. What’s a healthy diet for a dad-to-be?
    Let’s call it a dad’s preconception diet, how to increase the chances of conceiving.  Ensure your diet includes:  plenty of wholegrain, starchy foods (carbs), some protein (lean meat, fish and pulses), some low-fat dairy produce (semi-skimmed milk and yoghurt) and plenty of fruit and vegetables.
    Folates a type of vitamin B (green leafy vegetables). One of folic acid’s major roles is to participate in DNA synthesis. Men trying to conceive might benefit from the same daily dose of folic acid recommended for women. 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day should be adequate to meet folic acid requirements. Many men don’t eat many fruits and vegetables every day.
    Great sources of zinc include extra-lean minced beef, baked beans and dark chicken, liver, eggs, and seafood. It may interfere with the absorption and metabolism of folic acid. Low levels of zinc have been associated with male infertility.
    Foods rich in antioxidants, such as vitaminE, betacarotene and vitamin C (oranges, lemons, kiwi…). Aim for at least 60 mg daily, more (at least 100 mg) if you smoke because smoking makes you less able to absorb it
    Keep drinking coffee, if you like it. Studies showed that it can improve your chances of conception
    Cut back on alcohol. While an occasional drink is generally considered safe or moderate drinking is ok, experts agree that drinking excessively will impair the quality of your sperm. Heavy consumption of wine, beer or spirits affects your hormone levels resulting in decreased testosterone levels. Alcoholics tend to have lower zinc levels, which can then interfere with folate levels. Aim for maximum 2 drinks per day.
    The bottom line is, if you commit yourself to a few months of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, you’ll be in top shape to father a child.
  3. Does the father’s diet have any impact on the health of his children? Can a dad’s diet make a healthier baby?
    Unfortunately, a Father’s Diet and weight can predict and is linked to Kid’s Risk of Disease. We’ve known for a while that overweight mums are more likely to have chubby babies, and that a woman’s weight before and during pregnancy can play a role in the health of her children, partly due to the critical role the intrauterine environment plays in development. We have always focused on dietary habits and preferences passed from mothers during personal interaction, but until now, the impact of the father’s environment — in terms of his diet — on his offspring have not been investigated.
    Contemporary research focused on improving childhood health and kids’ eating habits have increasingly shown that parent’s dietary choices might be more powerful than previously thought. Medical researchers have for the first time shown a link between a father’s weight and diet at the time of conception and an increased risk of diseases in his offspring. Paternal eating habits prior to conception can influence an unborn child’s level of risk for complex diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life. Paternal diet can affect cholesterol and lipid metabolism in offspring.
    Paternal exposure to a high-fat diet initiates progression to metabolic disease in the next generation. It is a non-genetic, intergenerational transmission of metabolic consequences of a high fat diet from father to offspring.
    It’s still not clear whether these changes are caused by a lifelong fatty diet, or whether there are crucial periods in a father’s development when his sperm are affected by such a diet.
    Records showed that food availability between the ages of nine and twelve for the paternal grandfather affected the lifespan of his grandchildren. Shortage of food for the grandfather was associated with extended lifespan of his grandchildren. Food abundance, on the other hand, was associated with a greatly shortened lifespan of the grandchildren. Early death was the result of either diabetes or heart disease.

Fathers play a positive role in the future health of their children by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.

Dads remember how your example influences your children so eat smarter and exercise more.


Helwi El Hayet

Follow us on Twitter: @HelwiElHayet



About helwielhayet

Helwi el-Hayet discusses your favorite topics every week day at 4:30 p.m. Beirut time. From fashion to psychology to books to art to nutrition to cooking and coaching (and much, much more), Helwi el-Hayet is here to shed light on the latest trends and to share with you reports, interviews and recipes from Lebanon and the region!
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