Research published in Jama Urology concludes that those who follow a balanced diet – avoiding snacks to industrial food, sweets, pizza, drinks and so on – have a healthier seed
One figure above all: sperm concentration dropped by 60% between 1973 and 2011. So how to protect fertility? Eating well and from a young age: because young adults who follow a balanced diet have 68 million more sperm per ejaculate than their peers who eat junk food (from snacks to industrial food, sweets, pizza, soft drinks, etc.). This is what extensive research just published in the magazine Jama Urology suggests. “This is the largest study ever conducted that examined eating style about the testicular function of the males involved,” says author Feiby Nissan, of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
Probably due to multiple environmental factors (the Western diet has been called into question several times) the quality of sperm quality is steadily decreasing: sperm concentration dropped by 60% between 1973 and 2011; also for the level of testosterone, the male sex hormone, a decreasing trend is observed. A man with 39 million sperm per ejaculate (or less than 15 million per millilitre of sperm) has a low sperm concentration, which not only hurts the possibility of having children but also clearly reflects his general state of health.
2,935 19-year-olds were involved in the study. The sample was divided into four groups according to their eating behaviour. It was found that those who ate healthily (a lot of fruit and vegetables, fish, whole grains) had 68 million more sperm per ejaculate than those who followed a purely Western and poorly nutritious diet; vegetarians had 33 million more sperm per ejaculate than their poorly fed peers. “Fertility is not only an important parameter for having children,” Nissan stressed, “but it is also linked to the state of health and life expectancy of males. This study, he concludes, reiterates the impact of nutrition on male fertility.