Although rare red meat is thought of as a testosterone boosting male staple research shows that too much red meat may actually damage sperm reducing male fertility. Sperm it seems may thrive on a diet more akin to vegetarian fare which provides ample antioxidants which have been correlated in many studies with improved sperm health.
A four year Spanish study published in Fertility and Sterility examined the eating habits and fertility of sixty one men, thirty one who were healthy and 30 who had fertility problems. The study lead researcher, Dr. Mendiola said that:
"We saw that, among the couples with fertility problems coming to the clinic, the men with good semen quality ate more vegetables and fruit than those men with low seminal quality."
"Our previous research study, published in March, showed that men who eat large amounts of meat and full fat dairy products have lower seminal quality than those who eat more fruit, vegetables and reduced fat dairy products. In this study, we have found that people who consume more fruits and vegetables are ingesting more antioxidants, and this is the important point."
If you are trying to conceive, ensuring that your male partner has ample fruit and vegetables daily could make a difference to sperm quality and speed conception. Even when IVF with ICSI is the chosen route of conception sperm quality is still vitally important as the sperm must have adequate antioxidants to protect the delicate sperm DNA.
It is important to choose fruits and vegetable wisely to avoid over-consuming pesticides - also known to damage fertility - while trying to up antioxidant levels. The dirty dozen - published yearly - is a list of the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables which it is wise to buy only if organic. You can find the list which is revised annually at the environmental working group web site ewg.org.
When you do eat beef, choosing a grass-fed organic beef may help to ensure that the meat you eat is not laden with hormones, and that your meat has a healthy profile of nutrients and fatty acids perhaps mitigating some of the damage of a high-meat diet.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT intended to diagnose, offer medical or nutritional treatment or replace medical or nutritional advice for which you should consult a suitably qualified physician or licensed dietitian.
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Mendiola et al. A low intake of antioxidant nutrients is associated with poor semen quality in patients attending fertility clinics. Fertility and Sterility, May 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.10.075