Eat your leafy greens, get better sperm

Filed under: Just For Dads, Your Pregnancy, Medical Conditions, In The News

For years, women who are trying to conceive have been advised to take folic acid supplements. Making sure to get enough of the B vitamin reduces the risk for birth defects -- specifically, spina bifida -- in a developing baby. New research shows that the same vitamin can help reduce the number of abnormal sperm in men.

The study, published recently in the journal Human Reproduction, found a lower frequency of abnormal sperm in men who consumed a higher than recommended daily amount of folate and folic acid. Researchers analyzed sperm samples from 89 men for genetic changes and asked them to complete questionnaires about their daily intake of folic acid from both diet and vitamin supplements. Men who consumed the most folic acid -- between 722 and 1,150 micrograms -- had a 20-30 per cent reduction in abnormal sperm.

As one of the researchers on the project noted, "This study is the first to suggest that paternal diet may play a role in the development of healthy offspring."

Pass dad the spinach, please.

Folate-rich foods(click thumbnails to view gallery)

SpinachStrawberriesFortified cerealsBrussel sproutsLentils

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.