This Is How to Make Your Sperm Stronger

It seems like it should be a given that right now your
testicles are locked and loaded with millions of healthy sperm, ready
for their release at a very pleasurable moment’s notice. Truth is, there
are countless factors that can affect different aspects of your sperms’
viability including your total sperm count, motility—how well they
swim—and morphology, a.k.a. their size and shape.

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, 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 cosier with a sterile plastic cup than you ever imagined you
would be.

1. Lose weight.
If you’re overweight
or obese, shedding kilos 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 fire 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. Lay off the soy.
If you’re trying to conceive, better skip sushi dates for a while. 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 oestrogen. Your body may respond to higher levels of
oestrogen 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. Pound the pavement.

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. Upgrade your eats.
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. It’s also found naturally in poultry, fish, dairy products,
and avocados.

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.

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