The key to a man's heart, they say, is through his stomach, and you may just use it to your advantage when you're planning to get pregnant.
Research has proven that nutrition could possibly be a safe and inexpensive way to improve semen quality. One of the nutrient-rich veggies that may be most helpful is tomatoes, a superfood because of its red pigment compound called lycopene. Already rich in anti-oxidants that can help fight cancer, lycopene seems to help with men's infertility as well.
A 2000 study conducted at the All India Medical Sciences showed that giving men lycopene supplements boosted their chances of conception. Analyzing and comparing the semen after being given lycopene supplement for three months showed an average of 50 percent improvement in sperm count, activity, and structure. Another report published in 2014 by the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio also showed that lycopene can supercharge a man's sperm in in all three problem areas mentioned above by a whopping 70 percent.
Other studies have also shown lycopene could help reduce or eliminate the chances of developing prostate-related diseases. However, researchers admit there is a need for more studies and larger trials to delve deeper into the correlation between lycopene and male infertility.
"The studies must establish which patient groups would derive the greatest benefit from the therapy--for example, we would need to compare lycopene supplementation in infertile men with low versus normal, baseline sperm concentration," Ashok Agarwal, director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Reproductive Medicine, told the The Daily Mail.
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Currently, U.K. scientists who specialize in treating male infertility are now testing a "tomato pill," a lycopene supplement. "This study will tell us if lycopene improves the quality of sperm already in development by reducing DNA damage, and whether it produces an overall increase in the number of mature sperm produced overall," explained Allan Pacey, professor of Andrology at University of Sheffield's Department of Oncology and Human Metabolism.
Tomatoes are not the only source of lycopene. Guava, watermelon, papaya and pink grapefruit also contain significant amounts of the nutrient compound.