Tips for Healthy Sperm
Stronger…faster….more fertile…….no – we’re not talking about the six-million dollar man. We’re talking about your sperm. Duh!
It’s true, a few lifestyle changes can result in stronger, faster, healthier & happier sperm for you and your lover!
About 1 in 6 couples have trouble conceiving – and in 50% of those cases, the problem lies with the man. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health revealed that about 15% of couples have trouble conceiving – and not surprisingly, in many instances it’s the guy’s sperm that is to blame.
Luckily, there are many tips you can heed to improve your sperm health and fertility. Here are four lifestyle changes that can improve your baby-making odds – and help you slip one past the goalie!
1) Avoid Defects
Sperm are not perfectly shaped little tadpoles. In fact, 90-plus percent of the average guy’s swimmers may be too deformed to penetrate the egg. Excess free radicals may be to blame, researchers say.
According to Harvard scientists, consuming foods rich in the antioxidant lycopene is one solution. (For a quick boost, eat tomato sauce: A quarter cup has 8,500 micrograms.)
2) Hit the gym – then the bedroom
A typical ejaculation can contain 15 to 150 million sperm. To maximize your potential payload, you need to work up a sweat outside the bedroom.
In fact, Harvard researchers found that men who worked out the most had a 33 percent higher sperm count than those who exercised the least. That’s because gym time helps burn fat while boosting testosterone.
3) Lose the Mobile
Your sperm must carry out their mission in 12 to 14 hours; that’s how long the egg, once it’s released, remains viable. Success can depend on their swimming speed.
So help them out: Put down the smartphone. In a Cleveland Clinic study, men who used their phones more had decreased sperm mobility, perhaps because of these phones’ electromagnetic waves.
4) Watch the lube
Those swimmers need to stay alive—and your choice of lube matters. Even lubes that are touted as “all natural” may contain chemicals that are acidic or alkaline enough to poison your little “mini-me’s.”
In fact, some brands can wipe out 72 percent of your offering in 30 minutes, say researchers in Australia. Save your sperm with a blend designed for procreation. Or if you can, let your ‘natural juices’ pave the way – precum is actually designed to facilitate the transport of sperm, and can help aid in fertilization.
Your sperm – think of the future!
If you’re like a lot of guys, the concern about having a baby or your potential fertility may not be a hot-button topic at the moment. In fact, most of us guys spend years worrying about GETTING someone pregnant. It’s hard to flip the switch and suddenly be concerned that you might not be able to do it when needed.
If you don’t plan on having kids anytime soon (or ever) – that’s fine. But keep in mind, plans change, life happens – and what you’re thinking right now might not be how you feel in 5 or 10 years. That being the case, you really owe it to yourself (and possibly your future child!) – to keep your little soldiers in peak condition, just in case they get called into battle one day.
“Any man who wants to have kids now or in the future should be concerned about the health of his sperm and take any steps needed to improve sperm quality,” says Darius Paduch, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and urologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. About 30 percent of fertility problems are due to the man. Safeguarding your swimmers today could keep you from getting cozier with a sterile plastic cup than you ever imagined you would be.
More Tips for Happy Swimmers
Here are 5 additional tips you can practice to keep your little guys happy and healthy.
1) Lose the Weight
If you’re overweight or obese, shedding pounds will do more than help you look better naked—it will reinvigorate your reproductive mojo. “Excess fat can decrease testosterone levels, which affects your ability to produce sperm,” Dr. Paduch says. Fat in your belly and thighs also increases your body temperature. “The testicles are outside of your body because sperm prefer colder temperatures,” he adds. Too much heat in your loins can decrease total sperm count and motility, and cause DNA damage. “Men who lose weight improve their sperm quality naturally,” he adds.
2) Just say ‘No’ – to Soy
Raw fish is off limits for women during pregnancy while soy products—such as edamame and soy sauce—can affect sperm production. Soy contains phytoestrogens, naturally occurring compounds in plants that mimic the female hormone estrogen. Your body may respond to higher levels of estrogen by churning out less testosterone, which is essential for sperm production. In a study of mice, rodents fed a soy-rich diet had 25 percent lower sperm counts and fathered 21 percent fewer pups than those that ate a soy-free diet.
3) Activate the Gym Membership
Men who exercise about 7 hours a week have a 48 percent higher sperm count than guys who break a sweat for less than an hour a week, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. Exercising outdoors has an especially beneficial boost, possibly due to the increased levels of vitamin D you receive from the sun, which may play a role in sperm production. In addition to helping you maintain a healthy weight, exercise can rein in stress. An Italian study found that men with the highest levels of stress and anxiety had lower sperm concentrations, decreased motility, and a greater likelihood of DNA damage compared to those with lower levels of stress.
4) Eat Better
A major factor that determines whether your sperm sink or swim is the health of your mitochondria—or your cells’ batteries. “Motility depends on the energy level of the sperm, which is determined by the mitochondria,” Dr. Paduch says. Eating a diet high in fat and light in plants can increase the risk of free radical damage, which negatively impacts the mitochondria. A study in the journal Human Reproduction found that men who downed the most fat had 43 percent lower total sperm count compared to those with the lowest fat intake. Eating plenty of antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can combat free radicals and improve the quality and quantity of your sperm. In addition, consider taking a supplement containing L-carnitine, an amino acid that’s been shown to boost sperm count and motility, Dr. Paduch says.
5) Skip the Hot Tub
You put your time in at the gym, so now you deserve a soak in the steamer, right? Better stay on dry land, especially if you and your partner are trying to conceive. “Research in monkeys shows that just 15 minutes to half an hour in a hot tub renders them completely sterile,” Dr. Paduch says. “An increase of just 2 degrees negatively affects sperm production in humans.” His advice: A quick 10-minute soak is fine, but if you’re trying to have kids in the next 3 to 6 months, you’re better off keeping your dips infrequent and brief—or avoiding them altogether until there’s a bun in the oven.
Take control of your sexual health!
As you can see, there are many things you can do to improve your sperm health and maintain your optimum sexual potency and fertility. There are many benefits and pleasures that come with a healthy reproductive system – and they go far beyond being able to conceive a child.
Follow the tips above and you’ll enjoy better erections, improved sexual stamina – and better overall health. In fact, you’ll probably experience the best sex of your life. You can thanks us later!