If your partner or hubby loves nothing more than spending his Sundays on the couch with hot wings, chips, ice cream, and soda, you may want to think about swapping in some much healthier fare before game time. It may help him to become a father sooner, according to two separate studies (both currently unpublished in medical journals). Both were presented at the recent conference of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and conducted at Harvard University’s School of Public Health. The first, which looked at 188 healthy young men ages 18 to 22, found that men who ate a diet rich in red meat and processed grains had sperm that didn’t move ideally for conception. Time.com reported that diet didn’t seem to affect the amount of sperm the men had, or their shape – just their motility, or their ability to move in the optimal way to facilitate fertilization.
A second study, led by Dr. Jorge Chavarro, also of Harvard's School of Public Health, looked at the connection between semen quality and diet among 100 men at a fertility clinic. In this case the researchers found that eating more trans fat did affect sperm count somewhat, but didn’t affect the shape of the sperm or how they moved. (Here's a list of 10 foods with trans fats to avoid, from WebMD.)
There’s not just a negative side to these findings, though – the bad news that men ought to cut out unhealthy, fat-dense, high-calorie, processed foods (they should do that for general health, anyway) – but there’s the possibility that good nutrition – adding more whole grains, unprocessed foods, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables – may boost fertility in men, making it easier to conceive. The research on nutrition and fertility is quite new, so for now, it’s not clear how much of an impact eating well could have, we all know a healthy diet won’t hurt anyone, and it’s good to get an early start on good nutrition so you can model that gold-star behavior for your little one when he or she arrives.