Men constantly hear all kinds of advice regarding how to retain their fertility, ranging from the type of underwear they wear to where they place their laptop. But according to urologist Des Moines Dr. Fawad Zafar, there may be an even easier way to protect your sperm – by watching what you eat.

That’s right – recent research suggests that the foods you consume may be a factor in your sperm count. Although the research is still new, it’s clear that the foods that may potentially be a threat to male fertility are many of the same dietary offenders responsible for more serious conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.

The following foods might be adversely affecting your fertility:

Processed meats: In a 2014 Harvard study, men who ate the most processed meat – such as hamburgers, hot dogs, salami and bacon – produced almost 25% fewer normal sperm than men who consumed it less often. However, saturated fat intake – which has previously been linked to poor sperm quality – wasn’t the nutritional connection.

Non-organic produce: In a study presented at the 2014 American Society for Reproductive Medicine Annual Meeting, researchers found that men who consumed the most pesticide residues via the produce they ate had 64% fewer normal sperm.Your urologist Des Moines warns that pesticides can throw your hormonal balance out of whack and interfere with the production of sperm.

Alcohol: Consuming too much alcohol can also negatively impact sperm concentration and mobility. Drinking large amounts of alcohol can result in total-body oxidative stress, which your urologist Des Moines reports is a major cause of male infertility. In moderation, alcohol intake seems to have no effect on semen quality, but habitual alcohol intake may compromise sperm quality.

Soda: Healthy young men who regularly consume more than a serving per day of sugar-sweetened drinks suffer from poorer sperm mobility. Sipping on sugary beverages such as soda, sports drinks, sweet tea also boosts your odds of insulin resistance, which in turn results in oxidative stress that can damage your sperm.

If you have questions regarding your fertility and how your diet may be affecting it, call the office of urologist Des Moines Dr. Fawad Zafar today to schedule a confidential consultation.