If starting a family has proven to be more difficult than you thought, did you know your diet could be to blame? This is particularly true for men. The following list of food products have been found to lower sperm count and affect fertility in both men and women. Reducing the frequency with which you eat the following food types could help your body regain the boost it needs to help you start your family.
However, keep in mind that other factors can affect a low sperm count, including environmental factors (household cleaners and workplace pollutants), as well as clothing options and lifestyle choices. Once you eliminate or reduce your intake of the items on this list, give your body a chance to rebalance itself. It could take a few months for everything to filter through and regain a healthy level. After you’ve tried that, and you are still having trouble conceiving, it may be time to visit a reproductive physician and discuss fertility medications, or IVF drug possibilities.
Processed Meat Affects Male Fertility
Harvard concluded a long term study in 2017 that indicated consumption of processed meat products reduced a man’s sperm count by nearly 30 percent. Processed meats include bacon, sandwich meats, hot dogs and sausages. The study didn’t suggest men should give up meat entirely, but rather limit the processed foods, especially processed meats. Opt for fresh cuts of meat, cooked well and prepared at home.
Fertility is Impacted by Canned Food Items
Just as BPA has been linked to many health issues, so too has it been linked to infertility in men. BPA contamination is often higher in canned food than frozen foods. Avoid canned tomatoes, especially tomato paste, as it was found by food and health researchers to have some of the highest contamination. Fresh is always best, but frozen is also a good choice. Food that comes in a jar, instead of a can is also a good option.
The Link Between Commercial Farmed Vegetables and Fruits and Infertility
Harvard also concluded in a separate study that low sperm count can be linked to ineffective rinsing of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed by men. Pesticides used to control diseases and pests are still residual on the foods produced by commercial farming operations. Researchers urge all consumers to wash food well before consuming it. Organic is the best option, but must still be rinsed before consumption. If you have the space and time, consider growing your own vegetables.
Deep Water and Farmed Raised Fish Impact Fertility
While fish is a healthy protein choice, it is not without issues. Many deep ocean fish have been found to carry high amounts of toxic compounds called PCBs. These types of pollutants interact with your body’s ability to produce sperm at a high rate. To be safe, try to avoid the following fish:
- Tilapia: Farmed Tilapia has been linked to higher inflammatory outbreaks.
- Atlantic Cod: Cod taken from Alaskan Waters is still considered safe.
- Chilean Sea Bass: High mercury levels have been reported.
- Eel: High levels of PCBs show up in eels.
- Farmed Salmon: These are often contaminated with pesticides, bacteria and parasites. These are sometimes marketed as “wild caught” or “Atlantic” farm raised salmon. It’s still farm raised…avoid it.
Better fish to consume include the Atlantic Mackerel, Sardines, truly wild-caught salmon, Black cod, Albacore and Tuna. Also included in this list of seafood to reduce or avoid are shrimp. Most of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. has a food additive placed in it to prevent discoloration. This additive was found by an Italian researcher to produce estrogen-like effects on the body.
Non-Stick Sprays and Cookware Lower Fertility
A Danish study concluded that the cooking sprays you use to keep food from sticking to pans, as well as the coated skillets, lower the sperm count in most men. The study compared men who did not use non-stick chemicals either in spray form, or in their cooking utensils, and it was discovered in comparison to the men who used them, there was a 50% difference between the groups. Opt instead for the stainless steel skillets.
Fertility Impacted by too much Sugar and Fat
If your body is generally unhealthy from over consumption of fats and sugars, then your sperm are going to be impacted as well. Sperm are impacted directly by the foods you consume. If you are already overweight, consider cutting back on fatty foods, red meats and sugars. When you are overweight it interferes with the hormonal production that regulates sperm count. In fact, if your eating is really out of whack, you could change the sperm on a molecular level too. Sugar is implicated in this DNA impairment. In early studies from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics it was found that diets consisting of a high sugar intake altered sperm to the point where they were unable to fertilize an egg. Try to aim for no more than 26g of sugar a day, and opt for leaner cuts of protein.
The use of IVF medications or having to undergo fertility treatments might be avoided if you simply changed some things in your lifestyle. If you have not tried this yet, but were thinking of seeing a reproductive specialist, you may wish to give yourself a few months to try eating a healthier diet. You may find your ability to start a family hinged on something as simple as changing your diet and lifestyle. In the end, making the changes suggested above are healthier lifestyle options to begin with, and in the long run may help both you and your spouse to provide optimal conditions for conception to occur.
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