Raspberries may improve fertility in both men and women by boosting vitamin C and magnesium levels, specialists assert. It has also been theorized that the berries’ antioxidants protect sperm health, promote conception, and reduce the risk of miscarriage.
In a study conducted last year, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory found a strong correlation between high vitamin C intake and improved sperm DNA quality. An analysis of 80 male volunteers revealed that those who consumed the most vitamin C had 20 percent less sperm DNA damage than those who consumed the least. In older men, the nutrient appeared to “turn back the clock.”
“We found that men 44 and older who consumed at least the recommended dietary allowance of certain micronutrients had sperm with a similar amount of DNA damage as the sperm of younger men,” said study author Andy Wyrobek. “This means that men who are at increased risk of sperm DNA damage because of advancing age can do something about it.”
According to fertility nutritionist Juliet Wilson, women enjoy comparable health perks. Female fertility may benefit from raspberries’ high levels of folate – a type of B vitamin that promotes cell growth and embryo health. During pregnancy, sufficient levels help prevent birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
“Raspberries have not yet been given the 'superfood' recognition of other berries, but they have a comparable bounty of nutrients which shouldn't be ignored,” she said, speaking to The Daily Mail. “Together with their high vitamin C content - one portion of raspberries provides the same amount as 173 grapes - they are also a good source of folate, which is known to be essential in key stages of female fertility and early embryo development.”
Raspberries: An Overlooked "Superfood"
In addition, raspberries are excellent weight loss snacks. Their high fiber content and low glycemic index (GI) ensure a slow metabolic absorption that helps control hunger and satiety. Wilson notes that this also benefits fertility, as a healthy body weight helps balance sex hormones and increase the likelihood of conception.
“Raspberries are often overlooked,” said Nick Marston, a spokesman for the organization British Summer Fruits. “There's no excuse not to take advantage of this superfood.”
Source: Micronutrients intake is associated with improved sperm DNA quality in older men. Thomas E. Schmid, Brenda Eskenazi, Francesco Marchetti, Suzanne Young, Rosana H. Weldon, Adolf Baumgartner, Diana Anderson, Andrew J. Wyrobek. Fertility and sterility 1 November 2012 (volume 98 issue 5 Pages 1130-1137.e1 DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.07.1126)