Sperm health matters when you’re trying to conceive, wether naturally or through fertility treatments. There are a number of different nutrients that men can get from their diet that can help different aspects of their sperm health, including motility, sperm count and morphology.
Plants help to get more antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and bioflavonoids, which are important in protecting from free radical damage. The role of free radicals has been studied extensively in the process of human reproduction, and we now know that high levels of free radicals can have negative effects on sperm function and motility (PMID: 22010591) Animal foods help to get enough amino acids (protein building blocks) to help produce quality sperm. L-carnitine, for example, is one of the amino acids that has been shown to increases sperm motility (PMID: 25242977).
Aim to include a variety of these foods to ensure you are getting enough of the nutrients required:
- L-Carnatine: beef, pork, poultry fish and dairy products
- Zinc: shellfish (oysters, crab, lobster, shrimp, etc), beef, nuts & seeds such as pumpkin seeds and pine nuts
- Vitamin C: bell peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes and strawberries
- Selenium: Brazil nuts, beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs
- Vitamin D: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring)
- Folate: dark leafy greens (collard greens, kale, Swiss chard, rapini, etc.)
- Vitamin E: almonds, sunflower seeds, dark leafy greens
- CoQ10: beef, pork, poultry fish and dairy products
Diet is foundational when it comes to fertility - it’s only one piece of the puzzle,
but it is an important one!
Written by Melissa Mastroberardino, RHN