There’s no easy way to gauge the quality of your
semen just by looking at it, so you’ll need to schedule an appointment with
your doc to find out for sure.
But while you wait, here are scientific signs that
suggest you have strong sperm. How many can you cross off?
You sculpt a lean midsection
Actually, you don’t even have to boast a
six-pack—as long as you don’t have a gut, your semen is probably in tip-top
Read more: The ultimate fat-busting workout
Researchers from the Netherlands found that men
with a waist circumference of 40 inches or greater had lower sperm
concentrations and lower counts of normal-moving sperm than guys with a more
The researchers aren’t exactly sure why a spare tyre is bad for your swimmers.
But they believe carrying too much weight—especially around your midsection—may
interfere with the release of sex hormones, as well as the production and
development of sperm.
You don't look like Don Draper
Good news, average-looking guys! Having a masculine
mug might actually hurt you down below the belt, according to a new study.
Spanish and Finnish researchers recently discovered
that men who had faces that were rated as manly—i.e. wider and broader—tended
to have poorer semen quality than more feminine-faced guys.
One possible reason: a theoretical explanation
called the “tradeoff hypothesis.” Simply put, men have a fixed amount of energy
available to devote to reproductive resources. And that energy must be
distributed to a number of different components.
“So, if a male consumes more resources on semen
production, he may have fewer resources available for developing attractive
secondary sexual traits, like facial masculinity,” says study author Jukka
Read more: 7 ways you can protect your sperm count
You're a fish man
Quick, think of your favourite go-to protein: is it
red, salty, and processed? If so, your semen might be paying the price.
Harvard University researchers found that men who
ate the most processed meat had significantly lower counts of normal-shaped
sperm compared to those who consumed the least.
Fish, on the other hand, seemed to have a
protective effect. Guys who ate the most fish—especially dark-meat kinds like
salmon and tuna—had a 65 percent greater sperm concentration than those who ate
Credit fish’s omega-3s, since long-chain
polyunsaturated fatty acids play a part in sperm production, the researchers
say. So if you’re looking to strengthen your swimmers, sub out your pepperoni
topping for some anchovies.
You scorn the tighty whities
Here’s another reason briefs might feel a bit on
the constricting side: they could be suffocating your sperm, too.
A 2012 study from the U.K. found that men who wore
boxer shorts instead of tight-fitting underwear were 24% less likely to
have a low-motile sperm count. Motility, or how sperm swims, is important,
because sluggish sperm can have difficulty reaching the egg to successfully
“Loose-fitting underwear may result in lower
scrotal temperatures compared to tight-fitting underwear, hence an improvement
in semen quality,” says study author Andrew Povey, Ph.D. There’s also evidence
that elevated testicular temperatures may hinder sperm production, he says. So
if you want to be on the safe side, let your junk breathe.
Read more: The truth about how your underwear affects
You hit the gym
Researchers from Harvard found that men who got
their blood pumping in moderate to vigorous exercise 15 hours or more a week
had a sperm concentration that was 73 percent higher than guys who didn’t work
out at that intensity at all.
Not only does exercise help tamp down your
weight—which can affect reproductive health—but it may also increase the
expression of antioxidants throughout your body, the researchers believe. So
regular gym sessions could actually prevent free radicals from damaging sperm
And once you get back from breaking a sweat, resist the urge to flop down on
the couch and go channel surfing. The researchers also found that guys who
watched TV more than 20 hours a week had a sperm concentration that was 44% lower than those who kept the boob tube off.
You speak in falsetto
Okay, maybe not quite that shrill—just not a low,
throaty growl. Men with those kinds of voices tend to have worse-off sperm,
according to a University of Western Australian study.
Researchers found that while women did rate the
low-pitched voices as more masculine and attractive, those husky-voiced men had
lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate.
Testosterone levels may be one possible explanation
for this, according to study author Leigh Simmons, Ph.D. Testosterone is
associated with more masculine facial features and lower voices, but too much
of it might actually suppress sperm production.
You don't nuke your leftovers in plastic
Zapping last night’s lasagna in a tupperware
container is easy, but it might be wreaking havoc on your sperm.
You can thank bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical that
can leach from plastics into your food when heated—and then into you.
Researchers from Denmark found than men who had the
highest levels of BPA in their urine had a significantly lower percentage of
motile sperm than those who had the lowest levels.
The scientists aren’t exactly sure what’s behind
the semen squeeze, but they think the BPA might affect the oestrogen and
androgen activity in the epididymis in the testicles. And this, they believe,
can hinder the normal development of sperm.
So before you nuke your lunch, take the 5 seconds
to transfer it from a plastic container to a glass one.
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