A new study of a small cohort of men has found that the pigment which gives the fruit its red colour, known as lycopene, could boost sperm quality, specifically around size and swimming capabilities.
The researchers say their findings could help reduce the need for invasive fertility treatments in the future as more than 40 per cent of all infertility cases are due to abnormal sperm production or function.
For the study, the team from the University of Sheffield recruited 60 healthy volunteers aged between 19 and 30.
During the 12-week trial, half of the participants took 14mg of LactoLycopene – a pill created by supplement manufacturer Cambridge Nutraceuticals Ltd that contains the tomato pigment – while the other half took placebos.
The team analysed the sperm samples collected at the beginning and end of the trial.
The results, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, showed that participants taking LactoLycopene had almost 40 per cent more fast-swimming sperm than when they began the trial, along with improvements to size and shape.
Professor Allan Pacey, head of the University of Sheffield's department of oncology and metabolism and lead author, said: "We didn't really expect that at the end of the study there would be any difference in the sperm from men who took the tablet versus those who took the placebo.
"When we decoded the results, I nearly fell off my chair. The improvement in morphology - the size and shape of the sperm - was dramatic."