Lycopene - a natural pigment that gives red fruits and vegetables their colour - is an antioxidant that protects against cell damage, and tomatoes contain plenty of it. In fact, it is estimated that tomatoes account for 80% of the lycopene in the US diet.
Now, a new study suggests Lycopene may also help boost sperm quality.
According to the research by a team at the University of Sheffield, healthy men who consumed the equivalent of two tablespoons of concentrated tomato puree each day were found to have better quality sperm.
During the 12-week trial, 60 men were randomly selected to take 14mg of lactolycopene supplement each day. The reason a supplement was used is because the participants would have had to eat 2kg of tomatoes each day to obtain an equivalent dose of lycopene.
The participants’ sperm was tested before, during and after the trial.
While there was no difference in sperm concentration, the men who had been taking the lycopene had healthier and faster sperm.
Encouraged by the results, the researchers now want to expand the trial to include more men and see if the findings are the same.
Lycopene has also been previously linked to other health benefits, including a lowered risk of heart disease and certain cancers.