Eat your way to healthier sperms!!! Foods from the Indian kitchen which aid in sperm health.
When it comes to male fertility, sperm health is of utmost importance. Only when you have healthy sperms will you be able to reproduce and have a family of your own. Often there is a lot of confusion about what comprises sperm health.
Sperm Health Consists of Several Factors
Sperm health consists of several factors, i.e., Sperm Count, Sperm Motility, Sperm Vitality and Sperm Morphology. While sperm count is directly related to male fertility and indicates the number of sperms per milliliter of semen, sperm motility talks about how far the sperm can travel, vitality tells you how long the sperms live and morphology tells you about the shape and size of the sperms. Interesting, isn’t it?
Normal Sperm Count Range
While all of these factors contribute to you being able to help your partner conceive or not, people often stress only one of the components, i.e., sperm count, and ignore the rest. Anything lower than 15 million sperms per milliliter (ml) semen is considered to be low.
To get your partner pregnant, all of these components play an important role. If you have been trying to have a child for some time now without any results, you should visit a fertility clinic and get some basic tests done.
Now, if the Semen analysis reports say that your sperm count is very low, you might have to opt for supplements and treatments, but otherwise, we have some good news for you.
Did you know that by eating some foods and by not eating some and by making a few lifestyle changes, you can drastically improve your sperm health? Let us look at the list of foods that we have put together for the Indian man to help him improve his sperm health.
List of Foods That May Improve Sperm Health
Chomping on a bowl of nuts like Walnuts, Almonds and Hazelnuts on your way to work or while watching TV, may not be such a bad idea after all. Not only are these loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, folate, zinc, vitamin E, selenium, etc.
They also protect the sperms from free radical damage and help in maintaining the structural integrity of the sperms. One study revealed a 14% increase in sperm count, 4% healthier, and 6% faster swimming sperms in men who consumed about two handfuls of nuts every day for 14 weeks.
2. Vitamin C Rich Food
As well all know, vitamin C and vitamin E help prevent oxidative damage and damage from free radicals. While there are supplements available in the form of tablets, isn’t it nice to have those delicious juicy fruits and vegetables?
Some foods rich in vitamin C include Oranges, Lemons, Papaya, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Squashes, Kiwis and Guavas. One study in infertile men showed that infertile men who took 1000mg vitamin C daily for two months saw a 92% increase in sperm motility and a 100% increase in sperm count.
3. Green Leafy Vegetables
Does this remind you of your mum asking you to eat all your greens? Green leafy vegetables are rich in folic acid which when combined with zinc, can lead to a 75% increase in sperm count in sub-fertile men.
Some examples of these green leafy vegetables include Spinach, Sprouts, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Lettuce, etc. If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant, you must include at least 2 servings of veggies to your diet and maybe ditch the fried foods that are high in trans fats. Not only will this improve your sperm health but give you glowing skin and add to your fiber intake.
4. Foods Rich in Vitamin D
Vitamin D increases the calcium levels in the sperm and improves its motility, and also helps with the ability of the sperm to fuse with the egg, inside your partners uterus. Low vitamin D has been directly associated with low sperm quality in several studies. Along with vitamin C and E, vitamin D has also been reported to have antioxidative properties that prevent the sperms from free radical damage.
Some sources of vitamin D (apart from the early morning sun) are Egg Yolks, Fatty Fish, Liver, Milk and several kinds of cereal and pulses. However, our advice would be to consume skimmed milk as whole milk can again harm your sperm health. Similarly, some of these foods may have a not so desired effect on your heart and can also be dangerous if you are obese.
5. Dark Chocolate
Now, this one is reputed to be good for the heart and especially for women. What if we would tell you that you can now enjoy these (not so sweet) treats anytime you want and know that they will help you raise your chances of having a baby?
Dark chocolate contains L-Arginine and antioxidant properties that help in improving the volume of the sperm. So instead of dessert or a fried snack, you could probably have a couple of cubes of dark chocolate and feel less guilty.
Us Indians love garlic in our food, don’t we? Apart from having dozens of Ayurvedic properties, did you know that this smelly little spice could do wonders for your reproductive health?
Garlic is rich in selenium which contributes to improved sperm motility. It also contains allicin that helps in promoting the circulation of blood to the reproductive organs.
No, we aren’t talking about watermelon seeds or anything funny. This category includes healthy seeds like pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with zinc which, if low, can lower the sperm count in men.
Pumpkin seeds are also rich in antioxidants, phytosterols, and amino acids that help in improving fertility in men. They also help in keeping away prostrate issues and promote healthy levels of testosterone. You can have them in your cereals or even have them as a roasted salty snack.
It includes strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries. Add them to your bowl of cereal or complement them with your trail mix or a bowl of walnuts, and you have a powerful fertility improving snack.
Berries are loaded with antioxidants that help undo oxidative damage and also contain anti-inflammatory nutrients like quercetin and resveratrol that help improve sperm production.
9. Fenugreek Extracts
While women use fenugreek for improving the quality of hair, and to reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps, men can use fenugreek to improve their fertility. Fenugreek helps improve the testosterone levels in men, enhances libido, improves mood and also improves sperm count.
Add it your dal or soak in water and have it as a daily morning beverage, and you could see a significant improvement in the way you perform.
Now, you must have been looking for this one since you started reading the list. Ashwagandha has been used for ages to treat fertility problems, but recent research has shown ashwagandha to increase sperm production in men by a whopping 167%.
While ashwagandha has several benefits like improved mood, stamina, memory, reduced stress, and anxiety, it can help both men and women put a check on fertility problems. It is also said to act as a stimulant for sex in men and cures other reproductive issues like erectile dysfunction.
Final Thoughts for Improving Sperm Health
Research says that all of these foods have a positive effect on male fertility and can help in improving overall sperm health. However, once you start consuming them, it might take a few weeks for the changes to appear. Also, for items like ashwagandha, it is suggested you consult an ayurvedic doctor about the dosage before you start consuming it.
Another important factor to take into consideration is that all these steps should be seen as a lifestyle change, and all your other habits must align with them. You cannot add these foods to your diet but continue smoking or consuming alcohol and expect to see wholesome results.
You also need to pay special attention to see that you do not consume the foods that are bad for sperm health if you aim to conceive. We have a list for that as well!
It might feel different when you consciously start paying attention to what you put on your plate but eventually, it should come to you naturally.
So dear men, be aware, make an effort to take care of your health, stay happy and healthy.