Menu

8 foods that increase sperm count (and 5 to avoid)

Good news: Dark chocolate can improve sperm count and quality.

how to increase sperm count

Diet and nutrition are essential factors in getting your body ready for making a baby, and it turns out what male partners consume matters, too. Fertility diets aren't just for women.

Certain foods could potentially increase sperm count and quality, while others can cause damage. And if you didn't know, a man is considered to have a low sperm count if he has fewer than 39 million sperm per ejaculation. It sounds like a lot, but considering how far they have to travel, it's not that many. The point? It's important for him to evaluate his diet, so it won't interfere with your chances of conceiving. Remember, though, any fertility concerns should be discussed with your doctor.


Here are 8 superfoods that men should add to their diets when you're trying to conceive:

1. Oysters + pumpkin seeds

Both are very high in zinc, which may increase testosterone, sperm motility and sperm count.

2. Oranges

Oranges contain lots of vitamin C, and studies have proved it improves sperm motility, count, and morphology. Other foods that contain vitamin C include: tomatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage.

3. Dark, leafy vegetables

The folate (also known as vitamin B) in spinach, romaine lettuce, brussels sprouts, and asparagus can help produce strong, healthy sperm.

4. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains arginine, an amino acid that can improve sperm count and quality overtime.

5. Salmon + sardines

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish and seafood—especially salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines—helps improve quality and quantity of sperm.

6. Pomegranate juice

The antioxidants in pomegranate juice may improve testosterone levels.

7. Brazil nuts

The selenium found in Brazilian nuts can help increase sperm count, sperm shape and sperm motility.

8. Water

Staying hydrated helps create good seminal fluid.

And while you're adding these rich, healthy superfoods into your diet, you should also be cognizant of what foods to steer clear of, too.

Here are 5 foods men should cut back on or eliminate while you're trying to conceive:

1. Fried foods

These hard-to-resist foods can decrease the quality of sperm.

2. Full-fat dairy

Full-fat dairy contains estrogen and can lower healthy sperm. Opt for almond or soy milk.

3. Processed meats

Processed meats (including bacon, ham, sausage, hot dogs, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat and meat sauces) can lower sperm count.

4. Caffeine

Ready for Starbucks? Not so fast! Researchers have linked caffeine consumption by both men and women in the weeks leading up to conception to an increased risk for miscarriage.

5. Alcohol

One or two alcoholic drinks are okay, but more than 14 mixed drinks in a week can lower testosterone levels and affect sperm count. In fact, studies show that consistent drinking (five or more drinks in a two-hour time frame) have negative effects on sperm, too.

Changing his diet and eating habits is not an easy task. But when the big picture includes not only bringing a baby into the world, but also maintaining a healthier lifestyle, it's a lot easier to get on board.

From the Shop

Empowering pregnancy must-haves for your journey to becoming mama


You might also like:

      True

      14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

      They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

      With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

      From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

      Meadow ring toss game

      Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

      Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

      $30

      Balance board

      Plan Toys balance board

      Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

      $75

      Detective set

      Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

      This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

      $40

      Wooden doll stroller

      Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

      Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

      $120

      Sand play set

      Plan Toys sand set

      Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

      $30

      Water play set

      Plan Toys water play set

      Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

      $100

      Mini golf set

      Plan Toys mini golf set

      Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

      $40

      Vintage scooter balance bike

      Janod retro scooter balance bike

      Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

      $121

      Wooden rocking pegasus

      plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

      Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

      $100

      Croquet set

      Plan Toys croquet set

      The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

      $45

      Wooden digital camera

      fathers factory wooden digital camera

      Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

      $179

      Wooden bulldozer toy

      plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

      Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

      $100

      Pull-along hippo

      janod toys pull along hippo toy

      There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

      $33

      Baby forest fox ride-on

      janod toys baby fox ride on

      Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

      $88

      We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

      Shop

      Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

      Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

      As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

      Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

      1. Use room temperature water

      The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

      2. Buy online to save shopping time

      You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

      3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

      The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

      4. Divide serving sizes for outings

      Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

      5. Memorize the mental math

      Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

      6. Warm up chilled formula with water

      If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



      Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

      This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

      Our Partners

      Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

      It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

      Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

      Keep reading Show less
      Work + Money