The easiest way to boost your sperm health, count and motility is to eat healthy. These foods include lean proteins, raw vegetables and fresh fruit. Not only will they improve your sperm health, they’ll increase your overall immunity and fertility levels. Remember, though, that improving and recovering sperm depends on your overall health, genetics, and lifestyle. It’s not as easy as simply eating magnesium-rich foods or avoiding hot tubs. Improving male fertility and sperm health can be complex – depending on the reason your sperm cells aren’t functioning at optimal levels.
What are the signs of poor sperm health? Unhealthy sperm doesn’t move well and/or is misshapen. Sperm abnormalities may be caused by different diseases, malnutrition, genetic disorders, environmental factors or a combination of these. What causes unhealthy sperm and low count? Blockage of the passages that carry the sperm. This list of foods to eat for healthy sperm include natural, simple fruits, vegetables and proteins that aren’t expensive or hard to find. But, it’s important for you to remember that improving male fertility is not as simple as eating the right food if you have abnormal or misshapen sperm morphology.
You can learn how to improve sperm health and count by eating the right foods. I also included supplements and products that may help improve male fertility levels, as well as research about sperm cell function. If you’re concerned about your sperm health or fertility levels, you must visit a urologist or fertility doctor for in-person sperm testing. That’s the only way to get personalized health information that can increase your sperm motility, count, and production levels.
Two things to remember:
First, stress decreases the quality of your sperm, so it’s important to learn how to cope with anxiety, fear, and worry in healthy ways. Recovering sperm isn’t just about eating healthy foods and participating in a healthy lifestyle, it’s about improving your emotional and spiritual health.
Second, environmental phthalates are suspected to lower sperm quality and disrupt human endocrines (hormones). Many phthalates are found in soft plastics in our daily surroundings: wallpaper, sandals, nail polish, perfume, floors, carpets and more. Phthalate molecules leak out of plastics, and we are exposed to it daily. We absorb the chemicals through food, drink, skin contact and inhalation. Phthalate levels can be measured by a simple urine sample – so if you want to know if they are decreasing your sperm motility and count, consider asking your doctor for a test.
Stress and anxiety lowers your overall health and decreases your fertility levels. The more you worry about eating foods to improve your sperm health, the unhealthier you will be. Instead, take a deep breath. Focus on getting healthier overall – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You might even relax with a glass of your favorite red wine! “Some alcohol is beneficial [for healthy sperm]” says Dr Donald P. Evenson of the American Fertility Association. “Especially dark red wines. So a glass a day may be positive. However, dark grape juice may be substituted.”
FertilAid Sperm Motility and Count Boost for Men is a popular dietary supplement for men. It provides complete multivitamin support plus key ingredients for supporting male fertility, sperm count, motility, and morphology. Designed with sperm health in mind, ingredients include L-Carnitine, Maca, CoQ10, Zinc, and Vitamin B12. FertilAid contains no wheat, gluten or dairy and is suitable for vegetarians.
Below is a list of five foods to improve sperm count, production, and motility – which will increase your chances of getting pregnant. If you aren’t producing sperm at all, read about my husband’s experience with azoospermia (no sperm).
6 Healthy Foods to Increase Sperm Count and Motility
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, there’s at least a 30% chance it’s because of male fertility problems. That’s why it’s so important to eat the right foods and learn how to recover sperm health! The bottom line is that you need to eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and limit your intake of alcohol, sugar, refined food products, junk food, and fat.
Eating the right food can increase your sperm motility and count, and improve your fertility levels – but there are no guarantees. Doctors say that what you eat can have a direct effect on your physical health and fertility levels, including your sperm count. But, it does depend on your current sperm health, motility, and production levels.
1. Red peppers, carrots, oatmeal, dried apricots
“Deficiencies in vitamin A in men have been linked to lowered fertility due to sluggish sperm,” writes Heidi Murkoff in What to Expect Before You’re Expecting. To increase sperm count and motility, eat dark green lettuce, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, and dairy fortified with vitamin A.
The vitamin A in food such as peppers, steel-cut oatmeals, and other types of vitamin-rich natural foods can help grow healthy sperm and improve male fertility. Make spaghetti sauce with red peppers, carrots, dried apricots, and oatmeal – it’s both healthy and delicious. The apricots add a lovely sweet flavor to the sauce, and the oatmeal binds the ground beef together.
New research shows that exposure to aluminum has increased significantly, and aluminum has been found in individual male sperm. Aluminum in the environment is a potential contributor to these changes in reproductive fertility.
2. Asparagus, snow peas, cooked tomatoes, strawberries
The vitamin C in these foods affect sperm motility and viability (how fast and effectively they swim). Vitamin C and vitamin A are found in many of the same foods: kale, red peppers, sweet potatoes, yellow veggies and fruits. The antioxidants in these foods help increase sperm count by decreasing harmful free radicals.
Don’t eat foods to increase sperm count and motility in front of the television set! Research shows that healthy young men who watch TV for more than 20 hours a week have almost half the sperm count of men who don’t watch much television. Exercise can help increase sperm health: men who do 15 or more hours of moderate to vigorous exercise every week have sperm counts that are 73% higher than those who don’t exercise that much, according to a study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Sperm Health Tip
Age affects how healthy your sperm is. Unfortunately, eating the right foods won’t make you – or your sperm – younger! Studies have shown that older fathers take a longer time to get their partners pregnant than younger men. Fertility researcher Dr Evenson found a molecular reason that links age with lower sperm quality and health. In one study, 100 healthy men were divided into age decades. Fragmented DNA in sperm were found in 5% of men in their 20s. The men in their 30s had increased sperm fragmentation; men in their 50s had the highest levels of sperm with fragmented DNA: 30%. Older men simply have decreased sperm count, quality, and production.
How do you know if your sperm count is low or unhealthy? Your count changes every three months or so, which means your sperm health may have changed in the past few weeks. But you can get healthier, improve your immune system, and perhaps even increase your overall fertility.
Your body is continually producing sperm, and short-term illnesses such as the flu can change your sperm count. However, chronic low sperm count is one of the main causes of fertility issues for couples who are having trouble getting pregnant. Taking a male multivitamin that supports motility, sperm count and volume is the easiest, safest way to improve your sperm health.
3. Turkey, eggs, seafood, oysters, pumpkin seeds
Vitamin D helps make sperm swim faster. Research shows that this vitamin can improve sperm function and movement – and it’s necessary for male fertility and reproduction. You know what? Every vitamin has an effect on our overall health. True, some vitamins and minerals can boost different parts of our bodies – such as zinc to increase sperm health – but it’s important to eat a balance of ALL vitamins and minerals.
“Inadequate amounts of zinc can lead to low testosterone levels and diminished sperm count,” writes Heidi Murkoff in What to Expect Before You’re Expecting. Zinc is actually quite widespread – it’s also found in beef, yogurt, oatmeal, corn.
Research shows that there has been a significant decline in male fertility, including sperm count, throughout the developed world over the past several decades. Environmental factors such as endocrine disruptors are related to low sperm count.
4. Salmon, sardines, anchovies, walnuts
“DHA and other essential omega-3 fatty acids help improve blood flow to the genitals and increase sexual function,” writes Heidi Murkoff in What to Expect Before You’re Expecting. “Fertile men’s sperm contains more of this essential fatty acid than the sperm of infertile men.”
Other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include arugula, crab, shrimp, flax, and chicken. To increase sperm count, load up on foods that contain healthy omega-3s. Or, take a male fertility supplement or vitamin with these essential fatty acids.
5. Leafy green veggies, avocados, beans, whole grains
Make sure you’re getting enough folic acid, because low levels can lead to birth defects. Men with low levels of folate have more sperm with chromosomal abnormalities. To increase your sperm count, production, and motility, make sure you’re eating lots of dark green veggies and fruit. You may also want to consider a folic acid supplement
Have you talked to a urologist, fertility specialist, or family doctor about your sperm health? If you’ve been trying to get pregnant and start a family for more than a year, it may be time to visit a fertility doctor and get your sperm count and motility checked. But first, make sure you’re getting enough of these healthy, natural foods in your diet so you optimize your chances of boosting your sperm count, motility, and production.
6. Avoid soy products (isoflavones are linked to infertility)
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston found that men who eat an average of half a serving of soy food a day have lower concentrations of sperm than men who do not eat soy foods. The association between low sperm count and soy food was particularly obvious in men who were overweight or obese.
Isoflavones such as daidzein, genistein and glycitein are plant-derived compounds with oestrogenic (estrogen-like) effects. They’re mainly found in soy beans and soy-derived products. Animal studies have linked the high consumption of isoflavones with infertility in animals, and this was the first study to link low sperm count with soy. How to increase low sperm count? Easy. Stop eating soy – and lose a few pounds!
The association between soy food intake and sperm concentrations were stronger in men who were overweight or obese. Researchers also found the relationship between soy foods and sperm concentration was strongest in men with the higher sperm concentrations. The implication is that men who have normal or high sperm counts may be more susceptible to soy foods than men with low sperm counts – but the researchers said this remains to be evaluated.
Research on Foods to Recover Sperm Count
In Foods to Fuel Your Fertility, the writer says that an excess of “not-so-fertility-friendly” fats (such as saturated and trans fats found in fried foods, processed meats and refined and processed foods such as biscuits, cakes and pastries) can decrease the membrane fluidity and flexibility necessary for healthy sperm mobility. The problem is that diets poor in omega 3 and rich in omega 6 may also contribute to poor semen quality and sperm function. Walnuts are a good food to increase sperm count, production, and motility in men because walnuts are very rich in omega 3, as well as vitamin E, zinc, selenium and folate.
The solution: Omega 3 Fish Oil Triple Strength tablets contain 800mg of EPA and 600mg of DHA per serving. EPA and DHA are two main types of omega-3 fatty acids. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
These fish oil tablets support positive mood, brain power, heart health, and relief from dry eye and joint discomfort. While they won’t guarantee that you’ll recover your sperm count, health, and motility, they can improve your overall health.
Sugar has been linked to decreased sperm health
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston linked a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages with lower sperm motility in healthy young men.
Additionally, a study from the Rochester Young Men’s study which found that men who ate a lot of fish, chicken, whole-grains, fruits and vegetables had better semen quality and motility than those who followed the more typical “western” pattern of refined grains, pizza, high-energy drinks and high intakes of red and processed meats and sweets.
4 Additional Tips for Improving Sperm Health
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly. One research study found that men who received regular dental treatments and who took care of their teeth had improved sperm health, compared to men who didn’t take care of their teeth. Untreated dental problems and poor dental hygiene may contribute to overall poor health. Also, bacteriospermia (bacteria in semen) has been linked to male infertility. So, to improve male fertility and get pregnant faster, floss and brush your teeth at least twice a day. This may improve your love life, too!
- Avoid toxins in the workplace. When my husband was diagnosed with poor sperm health (and eventually azoospermia), the fertility doctor asked if he was exposed to harmful geological substances at work. He didn’t think he was, but the doctor said that environmental toxins may be around without us even knowing it. Research shows that men in occupations such as farming, painting, welding, metal working, and varnishing have a higher chance of infertility and lower sperm counts, compared to men in other jobs. If you’re in a potentially toxic job, one way to make sperm healthy is to consider looking for new work.
- Be aware of your other health conditions. Sperm health and fertility levels are directly related to your overall health. So, if you have medical issues – such as diabetes, thyroid problems, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease – make sure you get the right treatment as soon as possible. If you haven’t seen a doctor lately, get a medical checkup – and perhaps even a fertility workup. Also, ask your doctor for specific ways to improve your sperm health. Your own personal, individual health is different than the general health of all men.
- Eat more antioxidants to increase sperm health. Antioxidants prevent cell damage from free radicals. Free radicals are produced naturally by your body when it breaks down your food, but are also created when you’re exposed to things like toxic chemicals, radiation, cigarette smoke, or pollution. Since sperm are also cells, you can make sperm healthy by adding antioxidants to your diet. In fact, researchers have found that men who took antioxidants in supplement form had less DNA damaged sperm than men who did not take antioxidants. Some researchers found that couples had higher pregnancy rates if the men took additional antioxidants.
A Male Fertility Starter Pack is worth considering if you’re worried about your sperm count or sperm health, and you’ve been trying to get pregnant for months or years. It’s the bestselling male fertility supplement on the market. It’s a supplement, which means you still need to eat the right foods to increase your sperm count and improve your fertility. Taking vitamins and minerals in a male fertility supplement may be helpful for recovering sperm in men. It depends on the reason you have low sperm count and motility, or if you’re dealing with male infertility or serious health issues.
My husband’s low sperm count was not helped by supplements or acupuncture because his issue wasn’t treatable. But, fertility supplements are unlikely to hurt your sperm health. Always talk to your doctor or fertility specialist about supplements for sperm production, especially if you’re taking prescription medication.
For more tips on increasing sperm health, read Food and Fertility – The Effect of Carbs, Fats, Proteins, and Dairy.
A few readers have asked if maxoza- L powder increases sperm health. I haven’t found any evidence that it does, but will update this article if I find a research study. I’ve read that maxoza- L powder is a male fertility supplement that can help improve sperm health but it’s not proven scientifically.