Two interesting studies have appeared last year, both examining the effect fruit and vegetables have on sperm quality.

The first study was performed in the Massachusetts General Hospital between April 2007 and June 2012. This study examined how high intake of fruit and vegetables affects sperm quality. Over 150 men were questioned about how often they eat different kinds of food and the fruits and vegetables present in their nutrition were classified according to their pesticide residue levels. After each participant’s pesticide residue level was calculated, the researchers came to some interesting discoveries.

The total intake of fruit and vegetables didn’t seem to have a significant impact on sperm quality, as long as the pesticide residue level was low. However, men who were consuming fruit and vegetables high in pesticides showed 70% decrease in sperm motility and 64% less normally shaped sperm compared to men who were exposed to significantly less pesticides.

However, once the study participants and their partners were treated with IVF, the men who ate more fruit and vegetables in total, with low levels of pesticides, had better success rates with conventional insemination. This effect was not observed in the ICSI process.

The second study was performed at the University School of Medicine in California between 2009 and 2013. In this study researchers have collected the semen samples from 26 vegetarians, 5 vegans and 443 non-vegetarians. The sperm analysis showed that vegetarians and vegans had significantly lower sperm concentration, as well as lower sperm motility (33%) compared to the non-vegetarians.

The testing didn’t show any significant differences in sperm progression, function, DNA integrity or morphology between men of all three groups. This effect may be due to the high exposure to estrogenic or chemical residues in the vegetarian and vegan group, although further research is needed.

In conclusion, fruit and vegetables bring many benefits to our body – they’re full of antioxidants which are important for sperm health, they provide our body with a sufficient amount of vitamins and they are a viable building block of a healthy nutrition. Still, you should make sure that the fruit and vegetables you’re eating are the least contaminated as possible. Choose the produce that is grown with very little if any pesticides in order to give your body a balanced nutrition and optimise your reproductive health.

Photo credit: Skley / Foter / CC BY-ND