According to Stanford University, 20% of couples in America will seek treatment for infertility problems. Historically, doctors have focused on women when it comes to diagnosing infertility, as women tend to be more proactive when it comes to seeking treatment. However, some studies have found that in 40% of the cases studied, the male has, in fact, been the infertile partner.
Luckily, there are quite a few foods that increase fertility in men, and we’ll list the top ten in this article. Most of the foods listed should already be part of a healthy male’s diet—if they aren’t, then adding them to your diet now is a good idea, as the effects are cumulative over time.
Number 10: Avocado
One of the most common causes of male infertility is actually low sperm motility, and avocados are a good source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is not only an effective treatment for low sperm motility, it also can help the sperm better penetrate the egg. Avocados also are rich sources of both folic acid and vitamin B6, nutrients that have been shown to help regulate male hormonal levels.
Number 9: Asparagus
Since the medieval period, people have used asparagus to treat infertility—as a matter of fact, according to historians, women believed eating asparagus would guarantee a sonthough it didn’t work for Anne Boleyn. Asparagus is high in vitamin C, which can improve sperm viability as well as combat low sperm motility. If you’re not an asparagus fan, than tomatoes or orange juice are also on the high C list. Vitamin C tends to break down rapidly when subjected to heat or light, so eating high vitamin C foods raw or lightly steamed and as fresh as possible is a good idea.
If you’re not really into fruits and vegetables in general, there are quite a few male fertility supplements that contain large amounts of vitamin C, along with vitamin E, Folic Acid, and ALA, the plant equivalent of the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish. Obviously, fresh foods are better for you than pills, but the male fertility supplements are better than nothing at all if you’re trying to insure you’re as fertile as possible.
Number 8: Oysters
Surprise, surprise! For thousands of years, oysters have been an aphrodisiac, and an infertility treatment—and now, science has found that oysters really do work—at least when it comes to males. If you’ve been wondering how to increase sperm motility, the oyster, whether you eat them raw, in stews, fried or even barbecued, is loaded with zinc. Zinc is an essential mineral for a lot of reasons, and in this case, it’s an essential part of forming or strengthening the outer layer of the sperm cell, as well as forming the tail.
Sperm can be damaged by many environmental factors, from chemical exposure to wearing tight underwear or clothing—or spending too much time in hot tubs. The most common type of damage sperm cells experience is malformed or weak tails—so adding 15 mg. a day of zinc to your diet can help repair any existing damage, as well as prevent future damage. Obviously, cutting down on hot tub time and wearing looser clothing should also be part of your do- it- yourself infertility treatment, but now you have an excuse to eat oysters, and eat them often.
Number 7: Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are not normally considered an infertility treatment, but because they are high in zinc and fatty acids, they help raise your sperm count, regulate your hormone levels, and increase blood flow to your genitals—all important pluses when you’re trying to get your partner pregnant. Unlike most of the other foods on this list, pumpkin seeds aren’t commonly found in stores, but they are frequently listed as ingredients in the higher quality male fertility supplements due to the fatty acids they provide.
Pumpkin itself is a good source of vitamins A and C and B vitamins, so when you’re done carving up that Jack O Lantern, you can roast the seeds yourself for snacking on later, and use the trimmings to make some pumpkin pie. If nothing else, you’ll impress your lady with your cooking skills
Number 6: Pomegranate
Since biblical times, pomegranates have been on the list of foods that increase fertility, for both men and women—and once again, there turns out to be a good reason this is the case. Pomegranates are high in vitamin C , and they also contain a host of powerful anti-oxidants. According to recent studies, pomegranate juice increased sperm count as well as sperm motility in mice, and they are often added to male fertility supplements as well as women’s supplements.
In ancient Greece, pomegranate juices and cold soups were used as infertility treatments, and for those who have been wondering how to increase sperm motility over time, there are plenty of pomegranate based juices on the market that can give your immune system, and your sperm count, a nice healthy boost.
Number 5: Oatmeal
No list of foods that increase fertility would be complete without a dessert—in this case, oatmeal cookies. Oatmeal, like other whole grains, is full of vitamins B and E, both known to increase sperm motility and help regulate hormones. Could there be a better way to give your sperm count and overall sexual health a boost than a big plate of oatmeal raisin cookies with some extra cinnamon? Cookies are not only less expensive than your average male fertility supplements, they’re probably much tastier—and this is the perfect excuse to have dessert with every meal.
Number Four: Whole Milk
Cookies are not very fun without milk—and in this case, whole milk or other whole dairy products should be part of your overall plan to increase your fertility. While all milk is a good source of calcium, an essential mineral for overall health, only whole milk has the fats that can actually decrease the risk of infertility in both men and women. Most of the studies to date have been done on infertile females, but other studies have shown that drinking skim milk can lower hormone levels in either gender.
Men who want to protect their fertility, as well as their partners, should try to get one serving of a whole dairy product daily—and raw milk is even better than ordinary whole milk from your local market, as raw milk still has significant amounts of B vitamins and higher mineral levels than pasteurized milk does. Since raw milk usually comes from grass raised cows, the overall vitamin and mineral content will be far higher, as will the beneficial fat levels that help regulate sex hormones.
Number 3: Garlic
Garlic—it’s not just for repelling vampires, it’s also a common ingredient in male fertility supplements (and Italian dinners). Garlic is a good source of Selenium, a trace mineral that helps prevent chemical damage to sperm cells, as well as B6, a hormone regulator. Garlic is also a primary source of allicin, a chemical that increases blood flow and improves circulation throughout the body
Number 2: Cashew Nuts
Cashews are an excellent source of zinc, like many of the foods that increase fertility. While you only need about 15 mg. of zinc a day, even short term zinc deficiencies can cause decreases in testosterone levels as well as decreased sperm counts. A handful of cashews provides all the zinc you need to maintain a good sperm count and help keep your testosterone levels where they should be.
Number 1: Bananas
Bananas are at the top of the list for several reasons. This popular fruit has a wide range of health benefits beyond being one of the foods that increase fertility. Bananas contain a wide range of vitamins that help combat low sperm motility, as well as a lot of bromelain, which helps regulate various hormone levels. They are also high in both potassium and magnesium, minerals that help control blood circulation. The A, C, and B vitamins in bananas all help increase both sperm count and motility as well, making these fruits one of the best foods you can eat if you want to maintain your sexual health and increase your fertility levels.
This list isn’t complete, of course—if you want to really cover all of your options, you’ll want to add some fatty fish like salmon or sardines, and lots of leafy green vegetables and brown rice to your diet as well. In general, if you eat a well-balanced diet and avoid caffeine, smoking, alcohol, drug use, tight underwear and too much hot tub time, you’ll really reduce the chances of infertility problems in the first place. If you do find you have an infertility problem, adding these ten foods to your infertility treatment plan can’t hurt, and it might help.