Sperm production is a complex process that can take up to three months, and diet and lifestyle can have a big impact on the quality and amount of sperm that the average man produces. Whether you’re trying to conceive, regulate your hormones or just improve the overall health of your sperm, read on to find out which foods can boost sperm count and which could have a negative impact.
What to eat to improve sperm quality and count
Below, you can find a list of just some of the foods that have been shown to improve sperm quality and count.
Foods rich in vitamins C and D
Vitamin C is primarily responsible for boosting and improving our immune systems, while vitamin D helps our bodies to regulate calcium and phosphate intake. Both vitamins are really important for our overall health, and a deficiency could start to impact your sperm count.
Taking an antioxidant like vitamin C can help to reduce the body’s levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS levels can become high when you’re stressed, run down, ill, exposed to environmental pollutants and more, but when you’re healthy, ROS are kept to a minimum. Taking vitamin C can also reduce ROS levels, which in turn may improve sperm quality and count.
Vitamin C can be ingested through your food, particularly foods such as:
Calcium, and therefore Vitamin D, can have an impact on sperm health and count too, but it’s not entirely understood why. Men who have higher levels of vitamin D and calcium also have improved fertility. It’s recommended that further studies and research are undertaken before this information can be regarded as accurate. However, there’s no harm in taking a fertility supplement that contains vitamin D or increasing the consumption of the following foods:
- Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel
- Red meat
- Eggs, particularly the yolk.
Spinach contains folic acid, which is particularly important for both men and women when trying to conceive. Leafy vegetables like spinach contain plenty of folic acid, which helps to reduce the number of ‘abnormal’ sperm and could increase the chances that the sperm will penetrate the egg successfully.
Bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals that can make sperm healthier. These include Vitamins A, C, B9, B6 and potassium, all of which could improve sperm motility and count. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in hormonal balance, too.
Any kind of healthy fat is good for sperm count and motility, including dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, avocado and more. This is because the fat is used to create the membrane around sperm cells and the omega-3 boosts blood flow to the testicles, thereby promoting sperm production.
But walnuts are a particularly useful nut for sperm health because they contain antioxidants as well as the amino acid L-arginine. This amino acid encourages the body to build proteins and can also be found in fish and red meat.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients and vitamins that are beneficial for fertility. In particular, pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which is involved in the production of testosterone.
What foods should you avoid when trying to conceive?
While it’s important to have a healthy, well-rounded diet, there are some foods you may wish to cut down or remove altogether. Taking them out of your diet may not guarantee quick conception, however, it could result in healthier sperm.
Processed foods have long been known to cause various health issues, such as high cholesterol, but they can affect your sperm health too. It’s unknown how exactly they decrease sperm count and inhibit sperm production, but you should try to avoid or cut down on processed meats like salami, bacon, ham, beef jerky, etc. when trying to conceive. It’s the same story for trans fats too, such as butter, vegetable oil and fried food.