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Eating Carrots May Boost Sperm Performance

Update Date: Oct 31, 2013 01:07 PM EDT

Eating carrots boosts fertility in men by helping sperm swim faster, researchers claim. New research looking into the effects of fruits and vegetables on sperm quality revealed that the orange, crunchy root produced the best results.

Scientists at Harvard University found that the carrots had the greatest effect on "motility," or the ability of sperm to swim towards an egg.

The latest study involved 200 male participants who put on diets containing a variety of fruit and vegetables.  Participants were healthy, young college-age men.

After analyzing sperm samples from participants, researchers found pigments in carrots called carotenoids helped make sperm stronger. Researcher explain that these antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that damage cell membranes and DNA.

While sweet potatoes and melons seemed to enhance the quantity and quality of sperm, carrots helped improve sperm performance by 6.5 percent and 8 percent, according to researchers.

The study also linked red fruit and vegetables, which contain a lot of lycopene, to fewer abnormally shaped sperm and more normal shaped sperm. The study found that red five-a-days are associated with 8 percent to 10 percent more "normal" sperm. Researchers said could make a huge difference for couples who want to conceive.

"In a population of healthy young men, carotenoid intake was associated with higher sperm motility and, in the case of lycopene, better sperm morphology," researchers wrote in the study.

"Our data suggest that dietary carotenoids may have a positive impact on semen quality," researchers added.

The findings are published in the journal Fertility and Sterility

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