I’m at an age—and stage in life—when half my friends are hoping and attempting to get pregnant and the other half are trying
hard not to get pregnant.
So, as a nutrition editor, it was second nature for me to wonder if eating certain foods could influence one’s baby-making
odds. In the
September issue of EatingWell Ana Mantica delves into the research to find a list of foods that can amp—or dampen—a
Here they are:
Fertility Booster: Fruits and Vegetables
More matters! In a 2009 study of 61 men published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, healthier sperm counts
were linked with consuming more of certain nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, including folate, vitamin C and
lycopene. Researchers speculate that the antioxidants improve sperm quality.
Fertility Buster: Cola
Attention, wanna-be daddies: Dump your soda! A 2010 Danish study found a link between cola consumption and reduced sperm
quality. After tracking the cola intake of 2,554 men, scientists found that those who consumed more than 20 (12-ounce) cans
of soda a week (that’s nearly three each day) were more likely to have reduced sperm count, reports a study in the
American Journal of Epidemiology. Scientists are not sure what in cola may harm sperm, but it does not appear to be
Fertility Booster: Fish
The omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), found in oily fish, may help improve sperm quality, suggests a study in
the Journal of Lipid Research. University of Illinois researchers found that mice lacking a gene necessary to
convert alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) into the long-chain omega-3 DHA that promotes brain function and heart health appeared to
be infertile. “They produced a low sperm count (10% of the norm) and these sperm have an abnormal shape that doesn’t move,”
says author Manabu T. Nakamura, D.V.M., Ph.D. Supplementing their diets with DHA reversed these abnormalities. It’s still too
early to make recommendations for how much omega-3s men should aim to get, says Nakamura, but any amount is likely to be
Related Link: Learn the top sources of
omega-3s and get delicious recipes here.
Fertility Buster: Soy
Say it ain’t soy! Long-term consumption of a soy-rich diet may decrease sperm count, according to recent research in the
journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
. Male mice fed a diet high in soy (the human equivalent of about 50 to
100 grams of soy daily, or about a 1/3 to 2/3 cup of edamame) for their entire lives had sperm counts 25 percent lower and
litter sizes 21 percent smaller than mice fed a soy-free diet. Scientists also noted changes in genes involved in sperm
motility in the mice that ate soy. Researchers suspect that soy’s isoflavones, compounds that act as weak estrogens in the
body, may lower sperm quality.