13 ways you could be lowering your sperm count
A man’s number of swimmers is affected by many factors, including ones you’re in control of. Sperm count is considered low when there are fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen, and having lower-than-normal levels can make it extra difficult — though not impossible — to fertilize a partner’s egg.
For those of you who aren’t interested in having kids, this issue is still relevant: Low sperm count is also linked to infertility, testicular cancer, prostate cancer and cardiovascular problems later in life, according to National Geographic.
Keep your swimmers at normal levels by taking precautions with the following 13 factors that have been shown to have a negative impact on sperm count. (And scroll below the slideshow for tips on how to improve sperm count.)
Tips to improve sperm count
There are plenty of natural ways to get your swimmers in tip-top shape.
Eating a well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can benefit your reproductive health. Make sure you’re getting 400 micrograms of folic acid a day, which you can get from leafy greens, legumes and orange juice. Vitamin C has been shown to benefit sperm motility, so chow down on foods like bell peppers, dark leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, oranges and strawberries. And don’t forget to get 11 milligrams of zinc a day — some studies have linked short-term zinc deficiencies to a reduction in sperm count and testosterone levels, according to BabyCenter.com.
Get your butt off the couch! A recent study found that couch potatoes who watch too much TV had fewer sperm than men who exercise moderately to heavily each week. And contrary to popular belief, being a fitness fanatic isn’t going to hurt your fertility if it’s all part of a healthy lifestyle. Just stay away from the steroids!
Have a cup of coffee
Yes, yes, we know. We listed caffeine in the slideshow as a potential risk. But the thing is, if you’re drinking it in moderation, it could have some advantages: Some research suggests caffeine actually improves sperm motility.
Now here’s a tip you’ll appreciate: Have sex (safely!) more often. A 2009 study found that daily sex keeps sperm healthy and improves the likelihood of conception. Just don’t take this advice too far if you’re trying to conceive: Doing it more often than once a day can result in too few sperm.