Men over the age of 35 are increasingly testing low in sperm count and quality, along with increasing morphology issues and motility issues. All of these factors may indicate an issue with sperm quality, even if a couple chooses to do IVF. Only a DNA fragmentation test can give you a more in depth look into sperm quality, beyond a traditional semen analysis.
But what’s a guy to do? Eat foods that can increase the health of their swimmer! Sperm is particularly vulnerable to free radical damage known as oxidative stress. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are linked with cellular destruction and high levels endanger sperm function and viability. Poor nutrition, pollutants such as smoking and environmental chemicals can all contribute.
Semen normally contains antioxidants to protect sperm against free radicals and if in some way this natural defense system is impaired, the effect on sperm can be extremely damaging. Therefore it is essential both to remove potential causes of free radical damage and to eat a diet high in antioxidants.
Foods to incorporate into daily diet include tomatoes, which contain the antioxidant lycopene which protects sperm against damage, lentils, dark chocolate, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds, which are high in zinc, which plays an important role in sperm development and testosterone production. (Choose raw, organic pumpkin seeds for optimal nutritional value). Blueberries and pomegranates are also great and are a wonderful source of powerful, anti-inflammatory antioxidants including quercetin and resveratrol. Studies show that quercetin can help in maintaining healthy sperm parameters including motility and quality and resveratrol has been found to improve sperm count and motility.