Carrots can help improve male fertility, researchers reveal.Nisha A/Flickr

Carrots can help improve male fertility, researchers reveal.

Scientists at the Harvard University in the US found that including more yellow and orange coloured fruits and vegetables to the diet helped men improve sperm quality, particularly its ability to swim toward an egg. Of all the vegetables and fruits with these characteristics, carrots provided the best result.

The study looked at 200 young men. The participants were assigned with different diets, rich with different types of fruits and vegetables.

Researchers found that carotenoid - pigments that give yellow and orange colours to the vegetables and fruits - helped increase sperm motility.

The body converts carotenoid into antioxidants, thus deactivating free radicals that pose risk to DNA and cell membranes, Daily Mail reported

Researchers found that carrots improved sperm quality (between 6.5 and 8 percent), than other orange coloured foods like sweet potatoes and melon. On the other hand, intake of tomatoes reduced sperm abnormalities. The chemical lycopene in red coloured fruits helped achieve this, researchers added to the website.

"In a population of healthy young men, carotenoid intake was associated with higher sperm motility and, in the case of lycopene, better sperm morphology," the authors while concluding their study, wrote. "Our data suggest that dietary carotenoids may have a positive impact on semen quality."

The study has been published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

The findings have come at a time when infertility problems are becoming a big concern across India. The "Helping Families" survey, conducted by a pharmaceutical company in nine major Indian cities, found that infertility rates among Indian couple have shot up recently.

Apart from carrots, here are some other foods that help improve male fertility:

  • Pomegranate
  • Garlic
  • Fish
  • Nuts, particularly Brazil nuts
  • Oysters
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Pumpkin seeds

Following are some of the foods that men should avoid while trying for a baby:

  • Processed meat like bacon, sausages
  • Excess soda consumption
  • Excess use of alcohol or drug
  • Excess exposure to mercury via fish intake, particularly mackerel, shark