According to the National Infertility Association, about 40 percent of all fertility problems are caused by male-factor issues such as having a low sperm count. A man is considered to have a low sperm count when he has less than 20 million sperm per one milliliter of ejaculate. The condition can be caused by biological or environmental factors, and often can be rectified by making a lifestyle change, such as eating a healthier diet. Men wishing to increase and improve the quality of their sperm should eat the following foods.
Foods high in Zinc
Zinc is essential to the healthy production of sperm. A deficiency in this trace mineral can lead to low sperm count, poor motility and reduced production. Men with lowered sperm counts should thus make sure that their diet includes foods with an ample amount of zinc. These foods include beef, chicken, lamb, pork, crab meat, lobster and salmon. Adequate amounts of zinc also can be gained from eating brown rice, pumpkin seeds, whole grain cereals, beans and peanuts.
Foods high in Selenium
Selenium is an antioxidant that can improve both the motility, shape and volume of sperm. Natural sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, walnuts, tuna, beef, chicken, eggs and cheese. However, one should take particular care when consuming selenium as too much of it can be toxic. According to Dietary Fiber Food.com, an adult should eat no more than 400 micrograms of selenium a day.
Foods high in vitamin C
Eating foods high in the antioxidant vitamin C can help improve sperm count and quality, as well as reduce a condition called "agglutination," which is when sperm become clumped together. Foods high in vitamin C include fruits such as oranges, lemons, kiwi, papaya, mangoes and tomatoes. But there also are plenty of vegetables high in vitamin C, such as broccoli, potatoes, and yellow, red and orange peppers.
Foods high in L-arginine
L-arginine is one of the 20 amino acids that constitute protein and is essential to boosting sperm volume. It can be found in high-protein foods such as peanuts, Brazil nuts, pork, chicken, beef, turkey, seafood, soybeans and chickpeas.
Foods high in vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant excellent at ridding the body of free radicals that can damage sperm. According to IVF News Direct!, the vitamin has been long understood to improve sperm volume and motility. Foods containing ample sources of vitamin E include wheat germ (particularly wheat germ oil), eggs, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts.
Foods high in Folate
Numerous studies, including one reported in the Dutch journal "Fertility and Sterility," show that folate (folic acid) is vital in improving sperm concentration and quality. To increase your folate intake, eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, as well as broccoli, lentils, chickpeas, organ meats, oysters, asparagus, oatmeal and avocados.