Pucker up for vitamin C rich foods (bell peppers, oranges, kale, papaya) and use healthier oils like olive and virgin coconut oil to prevent sperm clumping due to oxidative stress. Nibble on raw pumpkin seeds; eat oysters to help improve sperm motility. Add tomatoes, pomegranates to your diet to help replace the antioxidants depleted by smoking or alcohol consumption.
The daily rigor and stress of work and life can take their toll on your body, the reproductive system included. But is there some way you can improve your fertility if you’re a man? Eating the right food can ensure your body is well supplied with all the nutrients it needs to keep your sperm production, libido, and testosterone levels healthy.
Of course, some foods are better than others, so be sure to include these in your diet!
Protect your sperm with some help from the vitamin C in bell peppers, oranges, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, or papaya. The key is to consume them raw if possible (or lightly cooked) to avoid loss of the protective effects of the vitamin. Vitamin C helps prevent oxidative damage to the sperm cells. It can even offer protection from sperm clumping due to oxidative damage and help replace the antioxidants depleted by cigarette smoke. Researchers have found that low antioxidant levels can actually cause your sperm DNA to be exposed to increased oxidative damage.
The lycopene in tomatoes helps keep sperm protected from free radical damage. Since it is also an antioxidant, it can help improve sperm concentration, count, and motility. One research study looked at whether tomato juice too could benefit male fertility in patients with motility or sperm concentration related fertility problems. Each test subject consumed a can of tomato juice containing about 30 mg of lycopene daily for a 12-week period. This regular tomato juice intake was found to improve sperm motility of infertile patients.
Eat lots of fatty fish like sardines, salmon, herring, mackerel, or tuna to keep your levels of vitamin D up. Alternatively, you could get the nutrient through eggs or vitamin D-fortified cereals or milk. A deficiency of the vitamin is said to cause testosterone levels to drop. Studies have shown that supplemental intake of vitamin D in overweight men can help improve testosterone levels in about a year.
Research shows a link between zinc levels and fertility. In one study, the seminal plasma zinc concentration of men with a fertility problem was found to be lower than in those without a problem. Researchers also noted that taking zinc supplements helped improve sperm motility, semen volume, and the concentration of normal (in terms of structure and motility) sperm in semen. You can up your intake through zinc-rich food like raw pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds, which make a handy snack at work or home. You could eat more crab, lobster, shrimp, oysters, beef tenderloin, and lamb – all known to be rich in the nutrient.
Ensure you get adequate levels of folic acid. Men with low dietary folate intake show higher chances of having sperm with chromosomal abnormalities. This may cause birth defects like Down’s syndrome or miscarriages if the abnormal sperm fertilizes an egg. Low seminal plasma folate also adversely impacts both sperm density and total sperm count. The B vitamin is available in a variety of beans (kidney, navy, black, pinto, lentil, or garbanzo) as well as in spinach, collard greens, and asparagus.
Pomegranate consumption can improve your mood, but, more importantly, it can also increase testosterone levels in the body. Having some pomegranate plain as a fruit, drinking some as a juice, or adding it to your meals can bring a pop of fresh sweetness and also boost your libido. One study found a 24 percent rise in testosterone levels after 2 weeks of regular pomegranate juice consumption.
Rich in monounsaturated fat, olive oil needs to replace other fats and oils in your diet. Research has found that regular daily intake of this oil can help increase levels of testosterone in the body. In one piece of research, it was found to bump up levels of the male sex hormone by 17.4 percent in just 3 weeks.
If you develop a palate for it, virgin coconut oil can help your fertility too. It can counter the oxidative stress the body (including your sperm cells) experiences, particularly from heavy alcohol consumption. As a result, it helps boost serum testosterone levels even in those with testicular injury due to heavy drinking.