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Are you having difficulty conceiving even after regular sex without contraception? Give it a year – it doesn’t necessarily mean your sperm is unhealthy. But if you have already tried for more than a year, it’s time to check your stress levels and see if you are doing everything right to conceive.
If it is indeed because of a problem with your sperms, don’t panic. Increase your sperm count naturally with food and healthy habits. Then, see if you are eating the foods that can help your semen, both in terms of structure (morphology) and in terms of mobility and speed within the female reproductive tract (motility). Your sperms must have the right shape and structure – an oval head and a long tail – so that they can swim inside the female reproductive tract, overcoming all obstacles to fuse with the egg.[ref]Menkveld, Roelof, Cas AG Holleboom, and Johann PT Rhemrev. “Measurement and significance of sperm morphology.” Asian journal of andrology 13, no. 1 (2011): 59.[/ref] Of course, diet isn’t a one-stop solution when it comes to fertility, but
Semen is usually rich in antioxidants that help protect sperm from harmful free radicals. A wrong diet can decrease the antioxidant content in semen. It, therefore, becomes important to eat a diet that’s high in antioxidants. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, is one such antioxidant that is beneficial in improving the motility and structure of the sperm.[ref]Durairajanayagam, Damayanthi, Ashok Agarwal, Chloe Ong, and Pallavi Prashast. “Lycopene and male infertility.” Asian journal of andrology 16, no. 3 (2014): 420.[/ref]
How To Eat: Tomatoes, both cook and processed, are rich in lycopene. Using tomato puree in the preparation of your meals for a really high dose of lycopene. Add some olive oil to help in the absorption process of this fat-soluble antioxidant.
How To Eat: Walnuts are a great way to add flavor and crunch to salads. By itself, a small serving serves as a nutritious mid-afternoon snack and can help regulate blood sugar levels.
3. Dark Chocolate
For ages, dark
How To Eat: Everyone knows the quickest way to enjoy chocolate – just break off a block, pop into your mouth, and let it melt on your tongue. If you prefer something fancier, shave some dark chocolate over some Greek yogurt or fruit sorbets.
Spinach is full of iron, folate, and antioxidants, all of
Clean your spinach thoroughly. Pesticides in fruits and veggies can lower sperm count and affect the quality.
A study has revealed that men who consumed fruits and vegetables containing high levels of pesticide residue had 49% lower sperm count than the men who ate pesticide-free vegetables.[ref]Eating fruits and vegetables with high pesticide residues linked with poor semen quality. Harvard School of Public Health.[/ref] Hence, eat only organically grown spinach, which is completely devoid of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
How To Eat: Add fresh leaves of spinach to your sandwiches as fillers, or tear them into pieces to add more bulk to your salads. If you’re into green smoothies, try making yourself a spinach smoothie instead!
Eating eggs regularly is a great way to increase both sperm count and motility.[ref]Chan, S. Y. W., S. Q. Li, and C. Wang. “TEST‐egg yolk buffer storage increases the capacity of human sperm to penetrate hamster eggs in vitro.” International journal of andrology 10, no. 3 (1987): 517-524.[/ref] Eggs come packed with protein and contain significant amounts of vitamin E. And these nutrients play an important role in the production of strong, healthy sperm and in improving fertility.[ref]Vézina, Denis, François Mauffette, Kenneth D. Roberts, and Gilles Bleau. “Selenium-vitamin E supplementation in infertile men.” Biological Trace Element Research 53, no. 1 (1996): 65-83.[/ref] [ref]Rengaraj, Deivendran, and Yeong Ho Hong. “Effects of dietary vitamin E on fertility functions in poultry species.” International journal of molecular sciences 16, no. 5 (2015): 9910-9921.[/ref] The nutrients in eggs additionally protect sperm cells from destructive free radicals that can drastically decrease sperm count.
How To Eat: Eggs are among the most versatile, delicious foods available. Boil them, scramble them, use them
Asparagus contains a super powerful dose of vitamin C, which is extremely beneficial for the development of healthy sperm.[ref]Chauhan, Nagendra Singh, Vikas Sharma, V. K. Dixit, and Mayank Thakur. “A review on plants used for improvement of sexual performance and virility.” BioMed research international 2014 (2014).[/ref] Not only does vitamin C help protect the cells of your testicles, it also fights free radicals and prevents oxidative damage of the delicate sperm cells. This way, it ensures a greater production of healthy sperm swimmers.
How To Eat: Asparagus tastes great when oven-roasted, and just as fantastic when added to risottos and eggs. You can also puree it and add it to soups.
Broccoli is loaded with folate, also known as vitamin B9. Not only does this essential nutrient help women conceive, it also has a huge role to play in improved male fertility.[ref]Najafipour, R., S. Moghbelinejad, A. Aleyasin, and A. Jalilvand. “Effect of B9 and B12 vitamin intake on semen parameters and fertility of men with MTHFR polymorphisms.” Andrology (2017).[/ref] A deficiency in folate is linked to chromosomal abnormalities in sperm cells, which means birth defects in the newborn. Studies have also shown that men who consume folic acid daily have a 70% higher sperm than those who don’t.
How To Eat: Most of us aren’t too fond of steamed broccoli, but roasting or sauteing this vegetable with some salt, pepper, and herbs makes it a delicious snack. You can also add it to soups or omelets to make them more filling.
Bananas are a rich source of magnesium and vitamins A, B1, and C, which enable your body to produce healthy sperm. 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.
How To Eat: Enjoy this delicious fruit whole, or slice it up and use as toppings for your morning bowl of oatmeal. Bananas go really well with yogurt as well. Try adding a few slices to your peanut butter sandwich – it makes a great snack to help you beat that mid-afternoon slump.
Garlic contains two elements that improve fertility – allicin and selenium. Allicin increases blood flow to the sexual organs and protects sperm cells from damage. Selenium, meanwhile, helps improve sperm motility.[ref]Mohammad, K., and Samaneh Tavanbakhsh Moslemi. “Selenium–vitamin E supplementation in infertile men: effects on semen parameters and pregnancy rate.” International journal of general medicine 4 (2011): 99-104.[/ref]
How To Eat: Consuming 1 or 2 cloves per day can significantly help boost sperm health. You can eat these raw, in combination with salads, or cooked in curries and omelettes – they add great flavor.
Pomegranate has been directly associated with fertility for ages. This fruit has several antioxidants, of which punicalagin is the most important. Pomegranate juice consumption increased the concentration of sperm in the epididymis, where sperm is stored till it matures. Pomegranate is also known to improve motility and correct abnormal sperm rate.[ref]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.[/ref] Studies show that drinking pomegranate juice regularly can increase the production of antioxidants that help protect the sperm.[ref]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.[/ref]
How To Eat: If you’re not very fond of juices, you can toss some pomegranate pips into your fruit and vegetable salads.
Orange contains vitamin C and plant chemicals that prevent oxidative damage to the sperm cells. Vitamin C protects the sperm from clumping due to oxidative damage and helps replace lost antioxidants.[ref]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.[/ref]
How To Eat: Oranges are delicious by themselves. Alternately, you can even add them to your vegetable salads to add some sweetness, or juice them to go with your morning breakfast!
Avocado is rich in vitamin E, which protects the sperm from oxidative DNA damage. It also prolongs sperm life and motility.[ref]Mohammad, K., and Samaneh Tavanbakhsh Moslemi. “Selenium–vitamin E supplementation in infertile men: effects on semen parameters and pregnancy rate.” International journal of general medicine 4 (2011): 99-104.[/ref]
How To Eat: Avocados are versatile fruits. You can mash the fleshy bits of the fruit and use as a spread for your toast, or toss chunks of them into your salads. Longing for something more exotic? Scoop out the seed and crack an egg yolk into the hole. Bake until the egg is cooked, sprinkle with some salt, pepper, and garlic seasoning and you’ve got yourself a delicious snack!
They may not count as superfoods, but carrots are known for their ability to boost sperm motility. Carrots are a rich source of L-carnitine, an amino acid that is known to play a vital role in protecting the sperm membrane. L-carnitine also helps generate energy, which directly translates into sperm motility.[ref]Aliabadi, Elham, Malek Soleimani Mehranjani, Zahra Borzoei, Tahereh Talaei-Khozani, Hossein Mirkhani, and Hamed Tabesh. “Effects of L-carnitine and L-acetyl-carnitine on testicular sperm motility and chromatin quality.” Iranian journal of reproductive medicine 10, no. 2 (2012): 77.[/ref]
How to eat: Carrots are best eaten roasted or steamed. You can juice them or even slice them vertically and pair them with cream cheese for a satisfying snack.
14. Ginseng And Indian Ginseng
While these don’t typically fall under the food category, the aphrodisiac power of ginseng, both the American and the Indian variety (ashwagandha), is well exploited by traditional medicine as a natural remedy for infertility. Ashwagandha is great for male fertility as it increases sperm quality, count, and motility and improves the biochemical composition of semen. It also improves the production of sperm, by activating the follicle-stimulating hormones.[ref]Leung, Kar Wah, and Alice ST Wong. “Ginseng and male reproductive function.” Spermatogenesis 3, no. 3 (2013): e26391.[/ref] Ginseng also increases blood circulation and flow to the genitals. For this reason, some people even believe that it can cure erectile dysfunction.
How to eat: Drink ginseng tea on an empty stomach every morning, or consume dried ginseng root powder each day for a testosterone boost. Or have 1–2 tbsp ashwagandha root powder twice daily, boiled in water or mixed with milk or honey.
15. Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is known to improve sperm quality because of its high content of antioxidants and essential amino acids. It also contains many trace elements like zinc, which is believed to increase sperm count.[ref]Zhao, Jiang, Xingyou Dong, Xiaoyan Hu, Zhou Long, Liang Wang, Qian Liu, Bishao Sun, Qingqing Wang, Qingjian Wu, and Longkun Li. “Zinc levels in seminal plasma and their correlation with male infertility: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Scientific reports 6 (2016): 22386.[/ref]
How to eat: Add a teaspoon of bee pollen to your bowl of cereal or oatmeal each morning. Alternately, you can even sprinkle some bee pollen over your yogurt or add some in your blender while making smoothies or milkshakes.
16. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain nutrients and minerals that are necessary for optimal male reproductive health. Rich in antioxidants, pumpkin seeds minimize the oxidative damage in sperm cells and protect them from toxicity.[ref]Aghaei, S., H. Nikzad, M. Taghizadeh, A. A. Tameh, A. Taherian, and A. Moravveji. “Protective effect of Pumpkin seed extract on sperm characteristics, biochemical parameters and epididymal histology in adult male rats treated with Cyclophosphamide.” Andrologia 46, no. 8 (2014): 927-935. The zinc content in pumpkin seeds also increases semen volume, sperm count, and facilitates fertilization.[ref]Zhao, Jiang, Xingyou Dong, Xiaoyan Hu, Zhou Long, Liang Wang, Qian Liu, Bishao Sun, Qingqing Wang, Qingjian Wu, and Longkun Li. “Zinc levels in seminal plasma and their correlation with male infertility: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” Scientific reports 6 (2016): 22386.[/ref]
How to eat: Have a bowl of roasted pumpkin seeds every other day. If you want to mix things up for a unique flavor, add the roasted pumpkin seeds to some hummus.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant and start a family for over a year, it is advisable to visit a fertility doctor to have your sperm quality evaluated. Over and above a healthy diet, the doctor may also suggest various other lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, reducing your intake of alcohol and tobacco, or avoiding wearing tight-fitting trousers or shorts. Remember, you won’t be able to see the results overnight. It is, therefore, important for both you and your partner to have plenty of patience, faith, and discipline and you are sure to see a gradual improvement in your sperm health.