For the past 40 years, men have faced an infertility crisis by seeing their sperm plummet. Nobody knows what is causing this, but a new study that reveals diet can play a role.
A western diet
The study, reported by Reverse, is discovering that eating a so-called western diet leads to a lower sperm count (109 to 138 million). Western in this case refers to a diet rich in red meat, fried foods and sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts.
Research has examined 2,935 young Danes and found that those who ate “prudently”, that is, a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and chicken, had the highest sperm count (146 to 183 million).
“Dietary factors are necessary for the production of healthy sperm with a high fertility potential,” co-author Feiby Nassan, a researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said Reverse.
Nassan is the same researcher who discovered that marijuana smoke was linked to higher sperm concentrations last year.
“I think it’s not only ‘You are what you eat’, but it is also ‘Your sperm is what you eat,'” said Nassan.
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The search followed healthy 18-year-old Danish men for three months and told them what they ate. The men were divided into four different dietary schemes: vegetarian, western, prudent and open-sandwich (a Danish food style that includes whole grains, salami and dairy products).
The prudent diet was associated with better semen quality while the open sandwich diet produced faster sperm. Meanwhile, the vegetarian diet produced more normal-shaped sperm.
The study has its limitations. For example, it was conducted on a homogeneous population. However, its results may still be useful for those looking to improve sperm count.
“Since following a generally healthy diet is modifiable behavior, our results suggest the possibility of using dietary intervention as a possible approach to improve the sperm quality of men of reproductive age,” concluded Nassan.