Researchers observed nearly 3,000 men ages 18 to 20, and learned that vegetarians and people with diets rich in fruit, veggies, chicken, and fish had higher sperm counts than those on a Western diet of processed meats and junk food.
Fertility expert professor, Allan Pacey of Sheffield University explained to The Independent, “It’s almost certain that this is down to an effect that those with the better diets are taking in more antioxidants.” He added, “With pizza, chips and red meat we know that the [oxidative] stress goes up and that is bad for sperm.” Meanwhile, Lead study author, Jorge Chavarro shared with UK’s Telegraph, “You would be surprised to see how sensitive young men are to things that might affect sperm count, because it’s a perceived measure of masculinity.”
According to The World Health Organization (WHO), a normal sperm count contains 39 million or more sperm per ejaculation. The study subjects who followed a Western diet were found to have 25.6 million fewer sperm per instance than the subjects with the best eating habits. Researchers conclude that processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells, or Sertoli cells. And while eating better can improve sperm health over time, Sertoli cells cannot be recovered — meaning the damage is irrevocable.