Foods that have been shown to affect sperm health
- Processed Red Meats: Processed meats like hot dogs, bacon, and beef jerky seem to be major culprits in decreasing sperm counts and motility.
- Trans Fats: Fries, frozen pizza, baked goods (cakes, pies, cookies-especially with frosting), fast food, and even microwave popcorn. The list for foods that contain trans fats is extensive. Avoiding processed foods in the grocery store and fast food restaurants is key to avoiding trans fats.
- High fat dairy products like cream and cheese was associated with decreased sperm motility and abnormal sperm shape. It is thought that this is because of the sex steroids given to cows. Milk is one of those products that is probably better to buy from a source that ensures hormone free dairy.
- Soy Products: soy products contain phytoestrogens (estrogen-like compounds) from plants, and excessive soy intake has been shown to decrease sperm concentration.
- Try to stay away from processed meats, processed foods and trans fats! Realistically the only way to do this is to cook most of your meals so you know what ingredients are going into your food. This will allow you to control the salt and sugar content of your meals as well.
- Eat your fruits and veggies.
- If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help with sperm health. Weight loss achieved with exercise has also shown to improve testosterone levels and sperm count!
- Eat more fish! Omega 3 fatty acids in fish has been associated with better sperm motility in some studies. If nothing else, it provides a nice alternative to consuming red and processed meats.
- Eat Walnuts: It is thought that the fatty acids in walnuts help sperm development and can improve sperm shape, movement and vitality.
There you have it. Not only can diet have negative effects on a person's health, but it can also affect his sperm and ability to conceive as well. Sometimes simple changes can be enough. That being said, if you're doing all of the right things but still not having luck with conception, it may be beneficial to see someone for further testing. Depending on the test results, there can be several options to help those having difficulty with conceiving, so be sure to discuss any concerns with your provider. Good luck to all of those working to grow their families!