Your body’s performance depends on the fuel you give it. A proper diet results in a healthy penis and healthy sperm because it boosts reproductive health by enhancing your sperm morphology and motility. Your diet affects your reproductive health through its impact on the endocrine system, the system responsible for the production of the hormones that course through your body.
Certain foods increase the production of natural testosterone and shield your sperm from the toxic effects of foods that are detrimental to your fertility. However, before we get into which foods to eat and which ones to avoid to improve your sperm health, let’s take a brief look at what sperm health entails.
What It Means to Have a Healthy Penis and Sperm
Many couples struggle to get pregnant. In more than a third of these cases, it’s the man’s sperm that’s the problem. Sperm cells originate from germ cells, and the number of germ cells that migrate into your testes during fetal development determines your sperm count.
The quality of sperm depends on:
- Sperm count: The number of sperm in a semen sample.
- Sperm morphology: The shape and size of sperm cells.
- Sperm motility: The effectiveness with which sperm swim.
- Semen volume: The minimum amount of semen necessary to get sperm into the female reproductive tract.
At least 25% of a fertile man’s sperm cells are rapidly progressive, meaning they’re swimming in the right direction and at the right speed to reach the egg. Poor motility occurs when free radicals (highly reactive substances) fragment and cause damage to sperm DNA. To be clear, sperm fragmentation is common. It’s only detrimental to your fertility when it occurs at high rates (more than 20%). Diet isn’t the only factor that affects the fragmentation of sperm DNA (age does as well), but it is the most important one.
Now that we’ve defined good sperm health, let’s find out what to include and exclude from your diet to improve your reproductive health.
What to Eat and What to Avoid for Good Sperm Health
Several factors, such as your general health, hereditary factors, overall fitness, weight status, diet and psychological health, affect the quality of your sperm. Top among these factors is diet. Practicing good nutrition can greatly improve your reproductive health.
The following foods help your fertility:
- Vegetables and fruits – They contain a variety of vitamins, minerals (including folate and zinc) and antioxidants that aid in sperm development.
- Beef – Lean beef contains zinc, Selenium, L-Carnitine, and Coenzyme Q-10, which aid in sperm production.
- Seafood – Seafood is a lean protein that contains vitamin E, Selenium and Coenzyme Q10. Together, these nutrients improve the production of sperm and protect it from toxins.
- Poultry – Poultry contains zinc, which aids the production of DNA and increases testosterone levels.
- Nuts – The omega-3 fatty acids in nuts enhance the quality of sperm, which the Coenzyme Q10 protects it.
Avoid excess consumption of the following:
- Fat – Excess fat can raise cholesterol and clog the circulatory system, which can lead to health problems, such as erectile dysfunction.
- Soy – Consuming excess soy, which contains phytoestrogens, can cause an imbalance in testosterone and estrogen. Low testosterone can result in a low sperm count.
- Sugar – Excess sugar consumption can increase aromatase, an enzyme that is involved in the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
Maintaining good overall health is easier than many people imagine. Start with the basics and eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and get quality sleep.
Avoid Cigarette Smoking and Excess Consumption of Alcohol
Excess alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking also negatively impact your reproductive health. Alcohol may increase the production of estrogen in the liver, which could diminish the quality of your sperm and poison cells in the testes. Keep in mind that alcohol is only negatively impactful when you consume it in high doses.
Smoking, on the other hand, is responsible for about 13% of all cases of infertility. Circulating blood transports cigarette toxins throughout the body. These toxins cause dangerously high rates of DNA fragmentation and increase the likelihood of bearing children with developmental issues.
In addition to maintaining a healthy diet for healthy sperm, it is imperative that you minimize your alcohol intake and avoid harmful recreational substances, such as cigarettes and other narcotics. If you’re reading this and have a history of excess alcohol consumption and smoking, don’t despair. Your body continuously produces sperm. Therefore, making these simple lifestyle changes can significantly improve your sperm health.