When couples are trying to conceive, the focus often falls on the woman and her health. However, according to the American Pregnancy Council, men's infertility comprises about half of all infertility cases. Prior to conception, men should follow a balanced diet, exercise and abstain from smoking and binge drinking. The foods listed below can also naturally increase sperm count which gives couples a better chance to conceive.
Antioxidants like the vitamin C found in citrus fruits can increase sperm count. Orange or grapefruit juice that contains 100 percent fruit juice will provide the same effect. Males who aren't big juice drinkers can try squeezing fresh lemon juice into their water.
Tomatoes contain lycopene which also raises sperm count. Since lycopene is also found in ketchup and marinara sauces, most men won't need much encouragement to add this to their diet.
A zinc deficiency is one of the leading causes of male infertility. Beans are a versatile, vegetarian source of zinc. To avoid food boredom, get creative with bean dishes. Try making chicken burritos or tacos with black beans, turkey chili with pinto beans, hummus (which is made from garbanzo beans) or lentil soup.
Nuts are great for raising sperm count because they contain zinc and the antioxidant vitamin E---both of which can raise sperm counts. Try to have a handful of unsalted nuts like almonds every day.
Oysters are one of the best sources of zinc. Hitting up the raw bar a few times prior to conception might increase your chances. Too much zinc can be problematic, so stay around the recommended amount of 15 mg per day for adult males according to the Mayo Clinic. A 2-oz. serving of oysters is close to the recommended daily amount.
Red meat and turkey are other sources of zinc. Neither contain as much as oysters, but they may be easier to consume on a regular basis. Consume fresh turkey because processed deli meats are high in salt and other preservatives. Since red meat is high in saturated fat, stick to just one serving of lean-cut red meat per week.
Barley is a healthy, vegetarian source of zinc. It's also an economical food. A 16-oz. bag of pearled barley sells for around $2 in most grocery stores. Instant varieties are available for people who don't like to cook.
Tuna contains selenium, which is known to increase sperm count. People who consume tuna on a regular basis should stick with canned tuna. It contains less mercury than fresh tuna.
Eggs contain two ingredients known to raise sperm count---vitamin B12 and selenium. Since it's often hard to find the time for a sit-down breakfast, hard boil eggs the night before and take them on the go.
Most people know that folic acid is vital for women prior to conception and throughout pregnancy. However, in terms of sperm count, it can also be helpful for males too. Broccoli is one of the best sources of folic acid. Try adding it to salads or serving it as a side dish with dinner. Other great sources of folic acid include asparagus and orange juice.