Infertility in men is usually the result of a low sperm count. According to the World Health Organization, a sperm count of over 15 million per milliliter is considered healthy, and a count below that is abnormal (1).
Male infertility associated with low sperm count is linked to vitamin or zinc deficiency, which means that a few dietary changes could help shoot up the sperm count. MomJunction has put together the best fertility foods you should take if trying to conceive.
Super Foods That Increase Sperm Count:
Sometimes, the quality of the sperm also has an impact on fertility. Men with a low sperm count can still be fertile if their sperm is in an excellent condition. The sperm is vulnerable to free radical damage, which affects its viability. So, having a good sperm count is of no good if the quality of the sperm is poor.
However, eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants can improve the semen quality and protect the sperm’s count and viability (2). Listed below are the foods that increase sperm count and semen volume:
They are a rich source of lycopene, an antioxidant believed to improve sperm motility, structure, and activity. Research reveals that regular consumption of tomato juice can improve the motility of sperm in infertile men (3).You can also add olive oil to cooked or processed tomatoes for improving the absorption of the antioxidant.
Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. A study by the Society for the Study of Reproduction found that daily consumption of 2.5 ounces or 70 grams of walnuts improved the sperm vitality, morphology, and motility in men aged between 21 and 35. Walnuts can be added as toppings to any salad or consumed directly as a snack (4).
3. Pumpkin Seeds
They contain antioxidants, essential amino acids, and phytosterols, which enhance fertility in men. Studies found that they can increase serum levels of testosterone, sperm count, motility, and vitality. You can consume raw and organic pumpkin seeds topped on salads, cereals, and smoothies (5).
Lentils are rich in folic acid (folate), which is a very important nutrient for male fertility (6). Studies also reveal that a lower intake of folic acid increases the likeliness of chromosomal abnormalities in men (7). Consuming lentils every day will improve fertility (8).
All kinds of berries, including blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, and blackberries, contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidants quercetin and resveratrol. They are known to improve the sperm quality, count and motility (9) (10). You can consume a handful of berries every day, either made into a smoothie or topped with yogurt for a delicious treat.
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The superfood is high in antioxidants. Studies show that they improve the testosterone levels and sperm quality, and increase sex drive. One of the studies showed that rats fed with pomegranate juice every day for about eight weeks showed an improvement in sperm cell concentrations (11) (12).
7. Dark Chocolate
It is rich in the amino acid L-arginine, which is known to increase the semen volume and sperm count. It is also high in antioxidants, which work against free radicals that may otherwise affect sperm quality. A small bite of dark chocolate every day is sure to boost the sperm count (13).
Garlic contains allicin, an active ingredient responsible for stimulating blood circulation. The blood flow thus surges to the sexual organs protecting the sperm from any damage. It also has selenium that improves sperm motility and vitality (14).
They are a good source of protein and vitamin E, which are known to stimulate the production of sperm cells. They protect the sperms from free radical damage and improve their motility (15).
Carrots contain beta-carotene which is antioxidant. They help maintain healthy sperm by neutralizing free radicals. The antioxidants also improve the motility of sperms by helping it swim towards the egg (15) (16).
11. Goji berries
The bright red berries are powerful antioxidants. They fight oxidative damage, maintain optimal temperature levels in the male reproductive organs and improve sperm production. They are also known to improve stamina and mood (17).
Also known as Ashwagandha, it is an aphrodisiac root used in traditional medicinal practices. In a study that involved 66 men, the use of Asian ginseng extract was found to increase testosterone levels and sperm count. It is also said to treat erectile dysfunction (18). It can be taken in the form of tea made from the fresh or dried root.
Super rich in vitamin C, asparagus protects the sperm from oxidative damage and improves sperm count and motility. And increased sperm count means more sperm swim towards the egg, increasing the chances of reproduction (19).
Bananas have a rare enzyme called bromelain that regulates sex hormones. Bananas also contain vitamins A, B1 and C, which boost the stamina in men and improve their ability to produce sperm (20).
15. Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy greens are rich in folic acid, which plays a prominent role in male fertility. Also, studies show that men taking high levels of folic acid every day have fewer chances of sperm abnormalities. Including spinach, broccoli, green beans, and other dark green leafy vegetables can help in improving the sperm count (21).
[ Read: Causes Of Male Infertility ]
16. Zinc-rich Foods
Zinc can protect the sperm from free radical damage. It also stimulates libido by preventing testosterone from converting into estrogen. It increases the testosterone levels and improves sperm count and motility (22).
Oysters are a great source of zinc. They also contain nutrients such as taurine and glycogen that play a role in stimulating the reproductive system. Research findings showed that oyster extract helped in preventing reproductive defects and improved sperm production (23).
It is a traditional remedy for decreased libido and low sperm count. A study found that an innovative patented extract from fenugreek seeds, on administering for 12 weeks, improved the semen and sperm count (26).
20. Olive Oil
Regular consumption of olive oil improves semen and sperm count. It acts by lowering the bad cholesterol levels, thus stimulating the oxygen flow to the testicles and allowing the formation of healthy sperm (27).
The above list of foods is not a comprehensive one. Including other foods rich in zinc, vitamins A, B12, C and folate promotes healthy sperm production in testes. If you are planning to begin a family, see a dietician and plan your health. A healthy diet keeps your body and mind fresh, and that itself could be an aphrodisiac.
[ Read: FertilAid For Women & Men ]
Do you have any more fertility foods to add to our list here? Share with us in the comment section.
Note that the fertility foods mentioned above have not been proven by well-controlled double blinded studies.
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