Low sperm count affects more men today than ever before. Our lifestyle and dietary habits have a huge impact on the reproductive system and these two aspects have deteriorated rapidly in the last few decades. Technology and environmental reasons also play a role in reduced sperm count and motility. However, all hope is not lost. By consuming a diet that boosts our sexual functions, we can rectify the problem and improve productivity, quite literally! Here are some foods that can boost sperm count.
Garlic is often thought to improve virility and increase sperm count in men. In Ayurveda and other traditional medicines, it is used for its aphrodisiac and immunity boosting properties. Garlic is rich in vitamin B6 and selenium, which increase healthy sperm production. Allicin is another compound present in garlic that improves blood circulation to the sexual organs. However, the effect of garlic on the male reproductive system has not been studied clearly.1 More scientific studies are required to back this claim. Include a couple of chopped or crushed garlic cloves to meals daily to increase sperm count.
Regular consumption of tomato juice has shown an improved sperm motility in infertile patients. Studies show that semen white blood cells negatively affect semen quality because of reactive oxygen species produced by WBCs. Consumption of tomato juice decreases semen WBCs.2 Lycopene, the nutrient that gives tomatoes their bright red color, could boost fertility in men and increase sperm count by up to 70 percent.3
Walnuts are not only a great source of nutrition, but also have the power to increase the sperm count and quality. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) found in walnut repair cell damage in the sperm. Consuming walnuts and foods that contain walnut can improve sperm quality and prevent damage to sperm cells. Walnuts contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are known to promote sperm development. In a specific study, men in their 20s and 30s who consumed 75g of walnuts a day for three months increased their sperm count and quality.4 Sperm shape, movement, and vitality improved in men who added walnuts to their diet over 12 weeks.
Oysters are extremely rich in zinc. They are replete with this building block of sperm and can positively influence the quality of sperms. They are well-known for their potent sexual enhancing properties. Besides improving your sex drive, they also increase your sperm count. Although oysters are popular as aphrodisiacs, more scientific studies are required to prove these claims.5
Pomegranate is yet another red colored fruit that contains fertility enriching properties. It has been directly associated with fertility for ages. Pomegranate juice consumption increased the epididymal sperm concentration, sperm motility, and spermatogenic cell density. Moreover, it brought about a decreased abnormal sperm rate too.6 Studies show that drinking pomegranate juice regularly can increase the production of antioxidants that help protect the vulnerable fatty acids in sperm against oxidation.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which plays an important role in sperm development, sperm count, sperm motility, and testosterone production. They are also rich in several other essential minerals and vitamins. Raw, organic pumpkin seeds possess optimal nutritional value. They are a good source of vitamins B, C, D, E, and K and they contain essential minerals like calcium, potassium, niacin, and phosphorous, which can increase sex drive. Even pumpkin seed oil and vitamin E can significantly increase sperm count.7
7. Dark Chocolate
For ages, dark chocolate has been used to boost sensual pleasure. It is high in antioxidants, which fight harmful free radicals and helps prevent fertility problems in men. Free radical damage is considered as a major cause of male infertility. Dark chocolate is great for your sperm count as well. It is rich in amino acid L-arginine, which can increase the volume of ejaculate, improve sperm count, and motility.8 It can also increase the intensity of an orgasm.
8. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits contain vitamin C and compounds called phytochemicals. Vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to the sperm cells. It protects the sperm from clumping due to oxidative damage and helps replace lost antioxidants. Low antioxidant levels can expose the sperm DNA to increased oxidative damage.9 Most citrus fruits and vegetables can be consumed raw and this is the best way to avail the protective benefits of the nutrients. If they cannot be eaten raw, cook them lightly.
Bananas are a rich source of magnesium, vitamin A, B1 and C, which enable your body to produce healthy sperm and increase your sperm productivity. Banana also contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is a natural anti-inflammatory enzyme that increases sperm count and motility. Banana not only provides instant energy, but also helps regulates the sex hormones.
Spinach is full of iron, folic acid, and antioxidants, all of which are crucial to maintain the reproductive organs in a healthy condition and to prevent defects in the newborn. But, ensure that the spinach you consume is free of pesticides. A study has revealed that men who consumed greater quantities of fruits and vegetables containing high-levels of pesticide residue had 49% lower sperm count and 32% lower percentage of normal sperm than men who ate the less quantity of such fruits and vegetables.10 Eat only organically grown spinach, which is completely devoid of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
So, go ahead and take your pick. Include as many foods as possible from this list into your daily diet. However, consult your physician before consuming any of these foods if you are allergic to them.
|↑1||Hammami, I., and M. V. El May. “Impact of garlic feeding (Allium sativum) on male fertility.” Andrologia 45, no. 4 (2013): 217-224.|
|↑2||Yamamoto, Yu, Koichi Aizawa, Makiko Mieno, Mika Karamatsu, Yasuko Hirano, Kuniko Furui, Tatsuya Miyashita et al. “The effects of tomato juice on male infertility.” Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition 26, no. 1 (2017): 65-71.|
|↑3||Innes, E. “How eating tomatoes could increase male fertility: Key compound in the fruit could boost sperm count by 70%. Australia Daily Mail.” (2014).|
|↑4||Cohen Tamara. The Daily Mail. 2012.|
|↑5||Kotta, Sabna, Shahid H. Ansari, and Javed Ali. “Exploring scientifically proven herbal aphrodisiacs.” Pharmacognosy reviews 7, no. 13 (2013): 1.|
|↑6||Türk, Gaffari, Mustafa Sönmez, Muhterem Aydin, Abdurrauf Yüce, Seyfettin Gür, Murat Yüksel, Emrah Hicazi Aksu, and Hakan Aksoy. “Effects of pomegranate juice consumption on sperm quality, spermatogenic cell density, antioxidant activity and testosterone level in male rats.” Clinical nutrition 27, no. 2 (2008): 289-296.|
|↑7||Hashemi, Jamilah M. “Pumpkin seed oil and vitamin E improve the reproductive function of male rats inflicted by testicular injury.” World Applied Sciences Journal 23, no. 10 (2013): 1351-1359.|
|↑8||Obert Isabelle. The healthy sperm diet. The Daily Mail. 2015.|
|↑9||Khaki, Arash, Elaheh Ouladsahebmadarek, Layla Javadi, Laya Farzadi, Fatemeh Fathiazad, and Mohammad Nouri. “Anti-oxidative effects of citro flavonoids on spermatogenesis in rat.” African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 5, no. 6 (2011): 721-725.|
|↑10||Eating fruits and vegetables with high pesticide residues linked with poor semen quality. Harvard School of Public Health. 2015.|