California scientists found that men who enjoyed a diet rich in vitamins C and E, zinc and folate, reported less signs of damage to the DNA of their sperm than those who avoided foods with these vitamins and minerals.
While previous studies have shown that in older men, the chance of DNA fragmentation in his sperm is higher, leading to a higher chance of being fertile or having children with a disability.
But, according to the research of California scientists, a diet rich in Vitamin C (found in citrus fruits, peppers, and broccoli) and E (found in nuts and seeds), zinc (found in fish), and folate (found in leafy greens) could protect the DNA – particularly in men aged over 40.
“Diet can have good and bad effects,” explained Professor Simon Fishel, managing director of CARE Fertility Group and a world leader in the area of fertility. “Compounds called free radicals can have a damaging effect on cells, and they can concentrate in the testes.”
But Professor Fishel cautioned that diet can also be detrimental to fertility, with the consumption of oestrogen-like compounds (mainly through meats) having a potentially negative effect of the development of sperm.
It is estimated that 25 per cent of infertility in couples is the product of poor-quality semen, according to the UK’s NHS, but a few dietary tweaks could hold the answer for some.