With infertility rates on the rise, more couples are asking what they can do differently to improve fertility potential. Let’s start with the basics, how healthy is your sperm? A healthy sperm is a happy sperm, and happy sperm are more successful sperm. Studies analyzing the link between diet and sperm health have repeatedly demonstrated that men who eat right are the most fertile.

For men and women alike, the standard American diet, filled with trans fats and processed foods may be harmful to fertility potential. Recently, researchers have linked junk food to low sperm counts. According to the BBC, a study published last year in the medical journal Human Reproduction, men with the highest fat intake had about a 40% lower sperm count compared to men with the lowest fat intake. Interestingly, those who consumed more Omega-3 fatty acids also had better sperm morphology (shape).

A Brazilian study linked healthier sperm to increased whole grain consumption. This study found that fresh fruit consumption also boosted sperm health. Harvard researchers also found a link between sperm health and fat intake. They reported men who ate the highest level of trans fats had the highest rate of infertility. Finally, a joint American and Spanish study also confirmed a strong association between junk food intake and poor sperm quality.

What can be done?

In general, men with healthy lifestyle habits have better sperm quality and fertility potential. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids are encouraged. Foods rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, including carrots, red peppers, spinach, broccoli, kale, and citrus fruits (especially kiwi), also provide a boost to sperm health.

If none of these foods mentioned are on your “favorite foods list”, consider adding them to foods that you do like. For example, if lasagna or pizza is one of your favorite meals, try adding kale, spinach and/or peppers and reduce the amount of cheese.