Infertility is a widespread problem and for about one in five infertile couples the problem lies solely in the male partner.
An emerging body of research suggests that what you eat has a role to play in sperm count whether they are normally shaped (morphology), and how well they move (motility).
In fact, research shows that there are specific fertility foods a man can add to his diet to help increase his odds of conceiving a baby and other foods that can actually impair his fertility.
Sperm count is very important because if it is not there, youâ€™ll not be able to father a child.
Though the research is still new, one thing is clear: The foods that may pose a threat to male fertility are many of the same dietary culprits behind things such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
Below are some of the foods that may hurt male fertility:
- Processed meats
Eating the wrong kind of meat could compromise your sperm. A 2014 Harvard study showed men who consumed the most processed meat like hamburgers, hot dogs, salami, bologna, bacon, had 23 percent fewer normal sperm than guys who ate it sparingly. In another 2014 study, published in the journal Epidemiology, the same researchers found that eating processed meat was associated with lower sperm count.
What you should eat instead: The same researchers found that men who eat lots of fish have, on average, a 51 percent higher sperm count than those who barely eat any. Dark meat fish, like salmon or tuna, white meat fish, such as cod and halibut had a positive effect, too.
- Full-fat dairy
A 2013 Human Reproduction study showed that young guys who eat at least two servings of full-fat dairy, especially cheese and whole milk per day tend to have fewer motile sperm.
What you should eat instead: Rather than take the full-fat dairy, switch to the low-fat kind. Men who consume a couple servings of low-fat dairy, especially 1% or 2% milk per day have 33 percent higher sperm counts and more motile sperm than those who eat little or no low-fat dairy, a 2014 study in Fertility and Sterility found.
- Non-organic produce
Men who consumed the most pesticide residues through produce had 64 percent fewer normal sperm and 70 percent fewer motile sperm than guys who took in the least, a study presented at the 2014 American Society for Reproductive Medicine Annual Meeting showed.
What you should eat instead: Organic fruits and vegetables is advisable.
According to a 2012 Brazilian study, drinking alcohol may have a negative impact on sperm concentration and motility. Too much alcohol intake may lead to total-body oxidative stress, which is a key cause of male infertility, the researchers say.
What you should drink instead: If you want to constantly sip something besides water, make it pomegranate juice. The purple juice is a rich source of antioxidants, like vitamin C and past research has linked a high intake of antioxidants in men to better semen quality. Though an occasional beer probably wonâ€™t do your body any harm.
Regularly drinking sugar-sweetened drinks, slightly more than serving per day was linked to poorer sperm motility in a new study. Taking sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks, sweet tea boosts your odds of insulin resistance, which in turn leads to oxidative stress than can damage your sperm, the scientists say.
What you should take instead: If you need a shot of sugar, make it the kind found in fruit not soda.