5 Foods That May Hurt Male Fertility

By Laura Tedesco
New research suggests a poor diet can wreak havoc on more than a man’s pants size.

Guys, you’ve heard the standard advice for protecting your swimmers: Don’t wear tight undies. Keep your laptop far from, well, your lap. Stop smoking ASAP. But there may be an even easier way to shield your sperm — watch what you eat. “We’ve noticed that fertility has been decreasing over the past several decades. And guys want advice to improve upon matters,” said Dr. Ryan Terlecki, director of the Men’s Health Clinic for the Wake Forest University Department of Urology. “Most guys have never even heard that anything in their diet could impact sperm count.”


But the truth is, an emerging body of research suggests that the foods you pile on your plate may play a role in the number of sperm you have (count), whether they’re normally shaped (morphology), and how well they move (motility).

How that does that play out in the bedroom? “Sperm count is, of course, important, because if it’s not there, you’re not going to [biologically] father a kid,” said Dr. Paul Turek, president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology. “And I think sperm motility is more important than sperm count.” Although morphology is less firmly linked to fertility, it has been shown in a number of studies to influence reproductive success, said Audrey Gaskins, who researches nutrition and fertility at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Although 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. That means you’d be smart to avoid them, regardless of whether you plan to make a baby any time soon.The following foods might get in the way of fatherhood:

  • Processed Meats
  • Non-organic produce
  • Full-fat dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Soda
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