A study from Harvard University has revealed that junk food diets could affect male fertility. Even young men who are otherwise fit and healthy have been discovered to have a lower sperm count if they eat a largely junk food diet.
This means young men in their peak of fertility could find it difficult to conceive naturally. Here, we’ll look at the study and its findings and how making small lifestyle changes could help boost fertility.
Understanding the study
In the most recent study, sperm samples were taken from around 3,000 men, averaging an age of 19. All of the men were taking a medical exam before going on to join the Danish armed forces.
Diet surveys helped to separate the men into four different categories. It discovered that those who ate a balanced diet including lean meats, fruit, vegetables and fish, had the healthiest number of sperm. The next healthiest group were vegetarians, followed by men who ate a Scandinavian diet consisting of whole grains, dairy, processed meats and cold fish.
These results suggest that those eating a diet rich in antioxidants have much healthier fertility levels. Previous studies have shown that red meats and processed foods increase antioxidant stress, and that is known to be bad news for sperm.
It was the largest study of its kind to look at the impact of diet on fertility. Young men don’t tend to think about their fertility as they assume there wouldn’t be a problem. So, understanding the effects diet can have on the quality and quantity of their sperm is crucial for those who plan to have children later in life.
Other factors which can impact male fertility
It isn’t just diet which can negatively impact male fertility. Other lifestyle factors can also play a role. Alcohol, smoking, drug use, weight, depression and emotional stress can all play havoc on a man’s fertility.
Excessive alcohol amounts can lower the levels of testosterone, leading to a decrease in sperm production, as well as potentially cause erectile dysfunction. Emotional stress can also interfere with the hormones responsible for producing sperm. So, if young men adopt a poor diet, drink excessive levels of alcohol, smoke and are overweight, all of these factors combined can have a significant impact on fertility.
Lifestyle changes which can help boost fertility
If men want to avoid developing fertility issues at a young age, they are going to need to adopt a few healthy lifestyle choices. As sperm reproduce every three months, making changes to the lifestyle can produce fast results.
Ensuring you are eating a healthy diet, that you exercise regularly and limit your alcohol intake will all help to improve your fertility levels. However, there could be many other non-lifestyle factors which can also reduce male fertility. Therefore, it is important to undergo a consultation with a fertility specialist if you are concerned there may be an issue with your fertility.