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.

Are you trying mama? Check out some products that can support you on your journey in the Motherly Shop!

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama

This book won't bog you down with demands, give you more to be worried about, or tell you what to do. Instead, we've filled this illustrated guide with the best knowledge, wisdom, and support we have to offer. Welcome to the club, mama.

$20

Get Pregnant Bundle

Natalist get pregnant bundle

The Get Pregnant Bundle includes everything you need to jump-start your conception journey. With essentials like ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, prenatal multivitamins and more, you'll be stocked and ready for everything.

$78

Premama fertility support for him drink mix

Premama fertility support for him drink mix

Made with ingredients like maca root extract, vitamin E and folate, the powder can improve sperm health and mobility. It's recommended he take it for at least three months, the time it takes to nurture new sperm to maturity.

$35

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

True