How do we as fathers (or future fathers) set the foundation for the good health in our family? Eight years ago, I would have responded with “Eat right and exercise.” Yet, I had no idea how to do that in my day-to-day life. Before my marriage, my diet consisted mostly of microwaveable, highly processed “chicken fries,” free pizza at school, and beer. The only vegetable in my diet was the lettuce that I ordered on my Subway sandwich.
What changed? I discovered that my focus should not be what I needed to do, but rather why I needed to make strides in my health and wellness. I was inspired by one of my favorite authors, Matthew Kelly. He wrote that we need to “love [ourselves] enough to live a healthy lifestyle.” What was truly driving my unhealthy habits was my struggle with self-acceptance and worth. That version of me would not have been ready to serve in the vocation of being a father. Eventually, my love for my wife and my family became my motivation for health and wellness.
Where do you start for good nutrition to support male fertility and fulfilling the vocation of fatherhood? I recommend educating yourself on this topic. Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon is a good place to start. Chapter 15 is dedicated specifically to men and does an excellent job highlighting the specifics of nutrition for male fertility. For me, establishing a few nutrition principles to live by everyday
makes health and wellness easier to live as a father.
Walnuts are a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid. In an amazing practical application of the benefit of alpha-linolenic acid to male fertility, researchers provided walnuts (about one-half cup raw walnuts) to presumably fertile young men eating a “Western-style” diet. After three months, sperm motility and morphology significantly improved in these men, and DNA damage to their sperm decreased.Chapter 15, Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon
Focus on addition rather than subtraction. It is more effective to focus on the nutritious foods you want to add into your diet, rather than fixating on all the foods you “can’t have” or want to “avoid.” The mind wants what it cannot have. A notable example is raw walnuts. They are a source of alpha-linolenic acid, which is commonly low in men with fertility issues. By adding in nutritious food like this, you will begin to naturally “crowd out” the unhealthy foods. Another way to simplify making nutritious choices is to eat foods that have five ingredients or less.
3 Tips For Fathers and Fertility Health
- Keep in mind the “why” of it all.
- Focus on nutritious additions rather than subtraction.
- Start small, stack wins, and build belief in yourself
Think about the best-version-of-yourself that God intended you to be as a husband and father. That includes being present with our children. You need energy and stamina to keep up with your kids. You need to have a nutritionally balanced diet to be fertile. One of the best things you can do for your family and future children is to start living a healthy life.
Brian is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist. He is the founder of EmpoweRx Health Solutions. Brian found his passion for helping people, especially men, improve their overall wellness and lead healthier, happier lives. For more information, visit www.fast2fitlife.com