Tell your future baby daddy that eating a fruit salad instead of a steak may put some spring in his sperm's step … or should we say swim?
Got a guy who drools at the thought of a big juicy hamburger washed down with a tall glass of cold beer? If you're trying to have a baby your man may want to rethink his food fantasies (and eating habits), says researchers after a fertility clinic study in Brazil found that guys who eat diets high in red meat, alcohol, and coffee tend to have sluggish sperm and lower fertility rates compared to men with diets rich in grains and fruit.
The specifics? In the study of 250 men, regular alcohol consumption was linked to lower sperm concentration and motility, or how well sperm swim. Alcohol and coffee were both linked to a lower chance of fertilization. Perhaps most strikingly, pregnancy rates were lower overall when men ate a lot of red meat. On the other hand, men with diets rich in cereal grains—such as wheat, oats or barley—and guys who favored fruit tended to have speedier, more agile sperm and improved fertility rates, Reuters Health reports.
The connection between red meat and male fertility may seem strange, but researchers say the underlying culprit could be added hormones found in some factory farmed beef or the fact that meat eaters tend to be heavier than their grain and fruit eating counterparts. As other studies show, obesity in men is a known factor for decreasing male fertility.
Suddenly in the mood for whole-grain crepes with strawberries? In addition to all the fun (and yummy) fertility-enhancing meals this news may inspire, at least one scientist, Lynn Westphal, a women's health and fertility specialist at Stanford University, hopes the takeaway message here is that more men start thinking about their own lifestyle choices when trying to have a baby.
"We talk about having a healthy lifestyle [for the sake of fertility], but I think most of the emphasis tends to be on making sure the woman is as healthy as possible. I think this is really interesting data that lifestyle factors for men … are significant," says Westphal (via MSNBC).