Saturday, 30 May 2015

10 Foods to Improve Sperm Count and Quality

Getting pregnant is not always as easy as we think it should be.  One common problem is a low sperm count, but the good news is that there are foods that are not only super tasty, but super good for sperm.

Asparagus -
 That little green vegetable that gets so much flack for what it does to the smell of your urine actually has some fantastic powers over sperm.  The ridiculously high amount of Vitamin C prevents sperm from oxidizing, and it protects the cells of the testicles.  Additionally, Vitamin C decreases free radicals so your man’s body can focus on producing sperm instead of fighting off disease.The best part?  Some of these foods are also aphrodisiacs… so if you’ve gotten a little bored with getting it on to get preggo, whip up a menu based on these sexy foods.
Avocado - Summer is the perfect time to pick up some yummy avocados for guacamole… and a hot night at home.  Packed with vitamin E, vitamin B6, and folic acid, avocados boost sperm motility and give it the strength to penetrate an egg.

Bananas - Upon reading that this fruit can help your guy out, we had some giggly flashbacks to Drew Barrymore putting a condom on a banana in Never Been Kissed.  Phallic shape aside, there are some awesome things going on in bananas to help increase sperm count.  Bananas have a rare enzyme in them called Bromelain, which has been shown to regulate sex hormones.  There’s also a good amount of vitamin B1, vitamin A, and vitamin C which will help increase his stamina and boost his body’s ability to make sperm.

Beef - This was a little surprising to us given that doctors are constantly saying to lay off red meat if you want a healthy heart.  Lean beef, though, is a fantastic source of zinc.  A little research on the Dr. Oz site told us that zinc has protective properties that keep free radicals from getting at your man’s little swimmers.  In fact, zinc goes even further to prevent testosterone from converting to estrogen, which is the culprit of a low sex drive.

Dark Chocolate - There’s no sexier food to bring into the bedroom than dark chocolate, but now, it’s not just the seductive taste you’ll want it for.  Dark chocolate contains L-Arginine HCL, an amino acid related to the arginine in walnuts.  It also doubles your guy’s sperm count and semen volume.  Men who eat a little dark chocolate everyday have also noted that they have stronger and more intense orgasms.  BONUS: it does that for you, too.  *wink*

Garlic - Along the same lines as ginseng, garlic possesses the power to increase blood flow.  The chemical allicin not only helps keep plaque from building up in the arteries, it also improves the flow of blood to the genitals and boosts the strength and endurance of the sperm.  Garlic also contains selenium and vitamin B6 to prevent sperm damage and regulate hormones.

Ginseng – Dr. Oz recommends ginseng for guys who are dealing with less than impressive bedroom scenarios, but a little more online research tells us that men in Asia have been supplementing ginseng into their diets for centuries because it improves virility.  In fact, ginseng increases libido, sexual performance, and aids in blood flow to the testicles.  In a study at Southern Illinois University, 45 men with erectile dysfunction were put on a ginseng regimen, and at 16 weeks, 60% of those men reported having stronger erections.
Oysters – The fact that oysters are an aphrodisiac was first presented to me in the form of Sex in the City.  The process of feeding to each other and sucking down the slimy little things really gets people going.  Did you know they also have sperm count increasing benefits?  A good portion of a sperm cell is composed of zinc, which oysters are relatively high in.  Eating oysters can not only increase sperm production but it can aid in the repair of damaged sperm.
Pomegranate - This is the most super of all super foods.  It seems like it can truly cure whatever ails you from the common cold to low sperm count.  Because of the intense cocktail of antioxidants in pomegranates, the juice can lower a chemical in the blood called malondialidehyde.  That chemical destroys sperm, so drinking pomegranate juice is like putting a super hero cape on all those sperm so they can destroy the evil free radicals and get to the egg just in time.
Walnuts - In high school, we were given a comparison between the size of a walnut and a testicle.  Strangely enough, size is not the only link between them.  Walnuts contain arganine, which helps the testicles to increase sperm production and also aids in semen volume increase.  It also contains Omega-3 fatty acids which improve the blood flow to the penis.  These nuts also have twice the antioxidant power over other nuts so they do a great job of protecting the little guys, too.  BONUS: eating 7 walnuts a day lowers cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

Friday, 29 May 2015

The benefits of natural food

If you’re looking to improve your overall well-being, help is at hand. Our nutritionist Lucy-Ann Prideaux is here to shed some light on what we mean by natural foods, and what foods you should be avoiding in order to stay healthy.

Let’s first understand the concept of “wholefoods” versus “fragmented” or processed foods. Processed foods have been stripped of one or more of their original elements, i.e. they are missing valuable nutrients, fibres or water. Natural foods, or Wholefoods (fresh whole fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, seeds, nuts, beans and legumes) have been provided for us by nature, and by their very nature, are the perfect foods for our bodies to thrive and survive on. We are, after all, part of nature, and as such are designed to thrive on natural foods. Whilst we can certainly exist on processed foods, we cannot (I believe) survive on these foods alone.
Natural food, as nature intended

Man-made/factory-made/synthetic foods or any foods, which have been highly sugared, salted and processed, are devoid of so many of the nutrients and life-giving substances needed for optimal health. Foods as close to their natural state, or as nature intended them to be consumed, are, in contrast, rich in health-giving nutrients that sustain and energise us. Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are also full the “life-force” of nature, which along with vital vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients lead to a positive, natural state of physical and mental health and vibrancy.
Not so natural foods: what to avoid

These highly processed foods lead to ill-health and disease, and to the accumulation of body fat and weight gain. Under this banner come:
White flour-based products which have a high glycaemic index and load (High GI or High GL)
Refined grains, many commercial “boxed” cereals
Refined sugars and syrups
Sugary foods and drinks such as biscuits, pastries, cake, canned drinks and many sports drinks and sports products.
Also problematic are foods that are high in both refined sugar AND commercial fats and trans fats. These include manufactured biscuits, many cereal and breakfast bars, processed protein and energy bars, cakes, pastries, chocolate bars, sweets and candies etc.
Doesn’t it make sense to move toward nature and simply eat natural foods?

Looking for healthy snacks?

If you’re after something healthy, low fat and natural which counts towards your 5 a day, why not try these yummy snacks from our range:
Get natural with Nakd Protein Crunch bars that are full of honest, healthy ingredients and 100 % natural goodness. The soya crunchy pieces packed with extra protein will keep you going for longer.
Nakd Caffee Mocha bars are new, delicious coffee flavoured treats made from all natural ingredients with the heavenly rich aroma of a fresh cup of cappuccino with chocolate mocha! Gluten, wheat and dairy free.
Nakd Infused Raisins count as 1 of 5 a day and are a delicious sweet snack to satisfy those with a sweet tooth. 100% natural goodness and delicious flavour.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Home Remedies to Increase Sperm Count

Home Remedies to Increase Sperm Count

 Inadequate sperm production and quality is one of the most common reasons for male infertility as it decreases the odds of one of the sperms fertilizing the egg for conception.
According to the World Health Organization, the normal concentration of sperm is at least 20 million per ml of semen. Fewer than 15 million sperm per ml is considered a low sperm count, also called oligozoospermia. Conception problems are associated with fewer than 40 million moving sperm in the ejaculate.
Oligoospermia can happen due to a wide variety of reasons and contributing factors like hormonal abnormalities, infected semen, infection in the prostate gland, varicoceles (enlargement of veins within the scrotum), damaged sperm ducts, use of anabolic steroids, cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, toxic chemicals, certain medications, heavy metal exposure and radiation. Even vaginal lubricants tend to be toxic to sperm.
Recent studies indicate that heating of the testicles due to electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) may also contribute to low sperm count. Thus, habits like keeping a laptop on your lap and a cell phone in your pants pocket are often discouraged.
Various natural remedies and other tips can help increase your sperm count and also improve sperm quality.

Here are the top 10 home remedies to increase sperm count.

1. Maca Root

Maca root of the black variety can help improve sperm production and motility. It is a popular fertility herb that helps balance the hormones.
Take 1 to 3 teaspoons of maca root in 2 divided doses for a few months daily. You can add it to a glass of water, a healthy smoothie or protein shake, or just sprinkle it on cereal. As maca root is high in fiber, start by taking ½ teaspoon and gradually increase the dosage over a few weeks.

2. Ashwagandha

A 2013 pilot study by Indian researchers, published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that ashwagandha root extract can significantly increase sperm count, semen volume and sperm motility. The study participants were given 675 mg of ashwagandha root extract in 3 divided doses, daily for 90 days.
Plus, this herb promotes healthy testosterone production. It also improves your overall health, increases vitality and reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Mix ½ teaspoon of ashwagandha powder, also known as Indian ginseng, in a glass of warm milk. Drink it twice daily for a few months.
  • Another option is to take ashwagandha root extract. Consult your doctor for proper dosage.

3. Panax Ginseng

Panax ginseng, also known as Korean ginseng, is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to help the body adapt to stress. It also can be used to increase testosterone, and sperm count and motility to enhance male fertility. Panax ginseng can help improve erectile performance as well.
Take 1 to 3 capsules of 500 mg Panax ginseng daily for at least 3 months. Consult your doctor before starting this or any other supplement regimen.

4. Garlic

Garlic acts as a natural aphrodisiac and increases sperm production. It contains a compound called allicin, which boosts the endurance of the sperm and also improves blood circulation. Plus, the mineral selenium in garlic helps improve sperm motility.
Simply include 1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves in your daily diet.

5. Tribulus

Tribulus terrestris, also known as gokshura, is an Ayurvedic remedy to increase sperm count and improve sperm quality as it can enhance hormone levels. A 2012 study by Indian researchers also found this aphrodisiac herb to be helpful in treating oligozoospermia (low sperm count).
Take 1 to 3 capsules of 500 mg Tribulus terrestris daily for a few months, but only after consulting your doctor.

6. Moderate Exercise

Studies have found that moderate exercise can help boost healthy sperm production. In fact, a 2013 study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine indicates that the increase in sedentary lifestyle among young men has lead to a decline in the overall quality of semen.
The study found that young men who lived a sedentary lifestyle and watched more than 20 hours of television a week had a 50% lower sperm count compared to those who did not watch much TV.
On the other hand, those who engaged in at least 15 hours of moderate exercise a week had better sperm quality and 73% higher sperm count than those who engaged in little or no exercise.
To increase your sperm count, do some type of physical exercise for at least 1 hour a day on a regular basis. Outdoor physical activities (except cycling) as well as weight training are also beneficial.

7. Damiana

Damiana is another useful herb for low sperm count. It also calms the nerves, relieves anxiety and mental exhaustion, and acts as a muscle relaxant.
  • Steep ¼ teaspoon of dried damiana leaves in a cup of boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the solution and sweeten with a little honey. Drink it up to 3 times a day for a few months.
  • You can also take this herb in supplement form after consulting your doctor.

8. Saw Palmetto

saw palmetto
Saw palmetto, commonly used for prostate health, is another useful herb to increase sperm count. It is also good for treating erectile dysfunction.
Take 160 mg of saw palmetto extract twice daily for a few months, after consulting your doctor. The supplement should be standardized to contain 85 to 95% fatty acids and sterols.

9. Horny Goat Weed

horny goat weed-opt
Horny goat weed is a time-tested aphrodisiac commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. It helps increase sperm production and treat erectile dysfunction. Horny goat weed supplements, however, have not been tested for safety as yet.
Take 250 to 500 mg of horny goat weed supplement daily for a few months, after consulting your doctor.

10. Green Tea

green tea
Research suggests that the high antioxidants in green tea have good fertility-boosting potential as they neutralize free radicals that can damage sperm cells.
According to a 2012 study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, low doses of a compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) present in green tea can improve sperm quality, including motility, thus improving its potential for fertilization. However, higher concentrations of EGCG can have an opposite effect. Thus, further studies are still required.
Drink 1 or 2 cups of green tea daily to enjoy enhanced fertility as well as overall health.
Additional Tips
  • Go organic in terms of food as well as other products, such as deodorants and other cosmetics, to avoid toxic chemicals.
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin C, zinc, selenium, folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, such as pumpkin seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, spinach, eggs, lentils, beans, broccoli, tomatoes and oranges. You can also take nutritional supplements after consulting your doctor.
  • Avoid the use of plastic bottles, containers and other items made of plastic to reduce xenoestrogen (environmental estrogen) exposure.
  • Do not wear tight briefs or boxers.
  • Steer clear of hot baths and saunas to avoid heating the testicles, which is detrimental to normal sperm production.
  • Manage stress as it can interfere with the hormones that help produce sperms.
  • Keep your weight in check.
  • Get proper sleep.