10 Common Foods to Avoid for Male Fertility

Foods to Avoid for Improved Male Fertility

10 Common Foods to Avoid for Male Fertility

Article Overview

Living a healthy lifestyle is important not just for your penis, but your generally well-being as well. In this article I cover 10 common foods that have the potential to negatively impact your male fertility levels; cut these out and you’ll be making babies in no time! 

Read Time Icon8 minutes read time

Last updated Last updated 11 April, 2023

Foods to Avoid for Improved Male Fertility (Summary Image)

You’ve no doubt heard the saying “you are what you eat,” and as it turns out, there’s a lot of truth in this. In fact, there’s a close relationship between fertility and the foods you choose to eat. However, it can be tough to know which foods to keep on your plate and which foods to avoid.

Here are the top 10 common foods to avoid for male fertility:

  1. Canned soups
  2. Beef jerky
  3. Microwave popcorn
  4. Non-dairy coffee creamers
  5. High-fat dairy products
  6. Soda and sugary drinks
  7. Processed and red meats
  8. Soy
  9. Energy drinks
  10. Alcohol

Read on to learn the cause behind these foods and the negative impact on your fertility and reproductive health.

Number 1 IconCanned Soups

Cans of soup, especially of the condensed variety, can negatively impact your sperm count and overall testosterone level. This is because of the high sodium content in the majority of canned soups.

In a studyexternal link icon on the effects of a high sodium diet on reproductive health, it was found that those in the high sodium group had a decrease in sperm count and sperm motility. Additionally, there was a correlation between high sodium diet and reduced testicle size and abnormalities of the sperm.

One small serving of half a cup of condensed soup contains a whopping 890 mg (0.03 oz). I can easily eat the entire can, which would be the recommended sodium intake for a whole day’s worth of food.

The next time you are feeling under the weather, skip the can of chicken noodle soup and opt for a can of low sodium soup, or just eat plain toast instead.

Or, if you like to have soup during the colder months, check out this list of 20 Low-Sodium Soup Recipesexternal link icon that you can make at home.

Letter 2 IconBeef Jerky

For the same reason you should avoid canned soup, you should probably avoid beef jerky even more. If you thought that the amount of sodium found in the canned soup was high, you’d be even more shocked by the sodium content of dried meat.

The FDA strongly recommendsexternal link icon consuming no more than 2300 mg (0.08 oz) of sodium daily for numerous reasons. One of those reasons is the negative effect a higher sodium intake has on reproductive health for both men and women.

In just one ounce (28.34 g) of beef jerky, you will ingest around 460 mg (0.02 oz) of sodium.

This means the standard bag you would find at a gas station will exceed your daily sodium limit by far. Although it’s meant to be a sharing snack, it is very easy to eat a whole bag if you’re hungry on the road.

Some better alternatives for snacks on your next road trip might be unsalted nuts, trail mix, and fruits and vegetables.

Alternatively, try making your own trail mixexternal link icon at home. That way, you can include a few salty items but keep it healthier with nuts and dried fruits.

Letter 3 IconMicrowave Popcorn

Microwave popcorn contains trans fats, and it won’t even show up on the nutrition label. The consumption of foods containing trans fats has been linked to a decrease in sperm count.

In a 2010 studyexternal link icon, those who had eaten trans fats in the past day were found to have a higher instance of fats and a lower sperm concentration in their ejaculate.

That same study also found that laboratory rats that were given food with trans fats sometimes had deterioration of their testicular tissues.

Even though the FDA banned trans fats from being used in our foods since 2018, there are still a handful of foods potentially containing some, and microwave popcorn is one such food.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a bowl of popcorn on your next movie night, though. Instead of microwave popcorn, consider swapping for air-popped with a popcorn maker or heating kernels in a pot over the stove.

Then, use this Low-Sodium Seasoning Variety Packexternal link icon from Amazon.com. It comes in nacho cheese and zesty Ranch, and both are low in sodium, gluten-free, and have zero carbs, calories, or sugar.

Letter 4 IconNon-Dairy Coffee Creamers

If you drink your coffee black, you won’t be as disappointed as I was when I learned that coffee creamer can also make your fertility take a hit.

Non-dairy coffee creamers also often contain trans fats, even though they will read as containing 0g on the nutrition label. So, if you’ve ever wondered how coffee creamer can contain no dairy or dairy substitute while still being creamy, the answer is trans fats.

How are these nutrition labels able to be so misleading?

Well, even though there is a ban on trans fats, the FDA allows for a nutrition label to read as containing no trans fats as long as there is not more than 0.5 g (0.02 oz) per serving. So essentially, food companies are allowed to round down for the nutrition label.

A study of hidden trans fatsexternal link icon found that a serving of my particular favourite actually contained 0.46 g (0.02 oz) of trans fats. To add insult to injury, that is a tiny serving size, and most people use closer to 3 tablespoons in an 8-12 ounce (226.79-340.19 g) cup of coffee.

That means almost 1.5 g (0.05 oz) of trans fat in a product claiming to have none.

So, if you like your coffee the way you like your sperm (free of trans fats), then your best bet is to learn to like it black or substitute it with something like fat-free half & half or skim milk.

Letter 5 IconHigh-Fat Dairy Products

Dairy products such as milk and cheese can also hurt your fertility when they are not low-fat options. There is evidence that opting for whole milk or full-fat cheese can decrease sperm motility and cause deformation of the sperm’s shape.

That’s a big issue for men trying the Keto diet.

A study was done on men between the ages of 18-22external link icon to investigate the relationship between dairy and male fertility. Regardless of other diet choices, men consuming high-fat dairy products had consistently lower fertility rates and sperm quality than those consuming low-fat or no dairy.

There is still a small decline in aspects of sperm quality for those who consume even the low-fat dairy options, but not so much that you can’t enjoy a moderate serving of light cheese or low-fat cream in your coffee.

Another thing to watch for with dairy concerning your fertility is dairy products that have been produced by cows pumped full of hormones. To ensure that they can keep dairy cows producing milk, dairy farms often have their cows at over 30 times the natural amount of estrogen.

Those hormones end up in our dairy products, which have been cited as our top source of estrogen intakeexternal link icon. So if your balance of estrogen to testosterone gets out of whack, there is a decrease in sperm production.

To avoid a decrease in your fertility, pick lower fat, grass-fed milk and cheeses. Not only is this going to maintain healthy fertility, but you will also be supporting more humane conditions for the cows producing your dairy.

Letter 6 IconSoda and Sugary Drinks

There are many reasons not to drink soda, and now you can add maintaining good reproductive health to that list.

The exact reasons why haven’t been definitively determined yet, but it has been shown that there is an inverse relationship between male fertility and sugary soda consumption.

A study of sperm donors’ dietary habitsexternal link icon found that donors drinking soda every day had a reduced sperm quality compared to those who did not. However, it isn’t apparent why yet because there could be more than one reason, and so far, scientists have only ruled out some of those reasons, such as caffeine or carbonation.

It is most likely that the large amount of sugar in a bottle of soda is that culprit since other sugary snacks have also been shown to decrease sperm quality.

It was also recorded that the effects of sugary drinks were more severe for those with a lower BMI, which suggests that the body might be able to build a tolerance at a certain point of regular sugar consumption. However, the quality of sperm was still negatively impacted for those with higher BMIs, just less so.

If you needed another reason to cut out soda, this should be a good one. With the rise of slightly sweet or unsweetened sparkling water drinks, there are many good options for when you want to drink something bubbly without sacrificing the quality of your swimmers.

Letter 7 IconProcessed & Red Meats

Currently, experts have had a lot to say about the adverse health effects of processed and red meats in our diets, but it seems that science is constantly finding even more.

Processed and deli meats can make a huge difference in your fertility.

A study of couples undergoing fertility treatmentsexternal link icon found that those who were consuming low amounts or no processed meats were as much as 28% more likely to successfully impregnate their partner, compared to men who had several servings per week.

There is still speculation as to why processed and red meats have these effects, but it is likely a combination of processed meats’ harmful effects on healthy blood flow and the hormones used in cattle farming. As noted with the dairy, the hormones in these cows can wreak havoc on our hormone balance.

An imbalance of hormones can have a range of adverse consequences for your fertility, including lower sperm quality and erectile dysfunction.

However, not all meat is bad for male fertility.

In fact, the same study found that there was a positive effect on fertility for those who ate more lean meats such as chicken, fresh fish, and shellfish. In addition, sperm motility saw a boost in men whose diets were filled with these sorts of animal products.

This might put a bit of a damper on the next backyard barbeque you are invited to, but opting for a turkey burger would be a great swap to make. There are also plenty of other sandwich options such as salmon burgers, canned tuna, and grilled chicken.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out this list of 26 Chicken Dinnersexternal link icon.

Letter 8 IconSoy

Most people have heard about the effects of soy-based foods and male fertility, so it probably is not a surprise to see it on the list here. Soy is another food that can affect men’s hormones, as it contains the plant version of estrogen, called isoflavonesexternal link icon.

These isoflavones mimic estrogen in our bodies, which can have feminizing effects on men and cause hormone imbalances between estrogen and testosterone. As we have seen earlier on this list, the results of an imbalance like this can disrupt sperm production and cause issues with erectile function.

It is worth noting that isoflavones are substantially weaker than human estrogen. Therefore, having a diet with a moderate amount of soy products will probably not cause you any fertility problems.

However, if you are on a vegetarian or plant-based diet, you may want to look at your soy consumption, especially if you are concerned about your reproductive health.

There are also soy products hidden in all sorts of foods that you may not expect, so it could be the case that you are consuming much more soy than you even realize.

While soy’s role in male infertility may have been exaggerated in the past, there is still a link between high intake and sperm production and quality problems. Therefore, it is always worth being aware of all the ingredients going into your body to avoid accidentally overdoing it on ingredients with potentially harmful effects.

Letter 9 IconEnergy Drinks

The way an energy drink makes it feel as though your heart has doubled in speed should be a good indication that there might be a good reason to abstain.

The amount of caffeine in some of the most popular energy drinks can be as much as 300 mg (0.01 oz), roughly equivalent to 3-4 cups of coffee.

While caffeine was actually observed to positively affect sperm motility in one study, this does not mean that more is better. On the contrary, once the amount started creeping up into the 300 mg (0.01 oz) range, the observation was that sperm quality took a nosedive.

In another study on caffeine and male fertilityexternal link icon, it was recorded that there was a decrease in sperm quality and even some defects to the DNA of the sperm.

The researchers were not able to conclude why caffeine went from a positive to a negative factor, but a strong hypothesis is that the more significant amounts of caffeine raise stress and anxiety levels in the body, which then impact fertility.

Stress is a huge factor in fertility health and health in general, so it follows that food that raises stress would indirectly have harmful effects on our health.

There is no need to quit caffeine cold turkey, though. Just be aware of how much you are ingesting and aim to keep it under roughly 250 mg (0.008 oz) per day (and skip the coffee creamer).

For those who work overnight or long, exhausting shifts, try drinking more water and green tea. Green teaexternal link icon has been proven to help hydrate, improve brain function, and it’s full of antioxidants to boot.

Letter 10 IconAlcohol

Some may find the fact that alcohol causes a considerable decrease in infertility a blessing in disguise. However, the adverse effects on your fertility can last a lot longer than the time until you can legally drive again.

In a study of 100 men who were reported to be heavy drinkersexternal link icon, only 12 of those men had sperm count and motility in the normal range. All of the rest were considered to have a suboptimal quality of semen.

In comparison, in 100 non-drinkers, there were reported to be 37 men who had sperm quality in the normal range.

Luckily, after some period of abstaining from alcohol altogether, it seems as though your fertility can recover some for the heavy alcoholics and completely for more moderate drinkers.

The same study tracked sperm quality during a period of sobriety and was pleased to find most had a noticeable improvement after about three months.

Unless you’re drinking enough alcohol to be considered an alcoholic, then a beer after work or on social occasions will not make a difference in your fertility.

Diets with generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and fish were by far the best indicator of healthy sperm and good erectile function. However, another key ingredient to taking good care of your fertility is drinking enough water.

It may not be the same as a beer, but if you want to continue drinking alcohol, maybe consider hydrating more throughout the day.

If you’re concerned about your fertility or are actively trying to conceive, then abstinence is the best policy regarding alcohol.

This Content Was Written By...

Author & Site Owner | Website
Chris is the owner and creator of Penis Enlargement Resource. He has years of knowledge in the male enhancement niche and has tested and assessed numerous products over the years.

This entry was posted in Knowledge by Chris Sabian. Bookmark the permalink.

Chris Sabian Author & Site Owner

Avatar of Chris Sabian

So I’m Chris Sabian, the creator and owner of the Penis Enlargement Resource website.

Now I’m going to be honest, I’m actually really happy with the size of my penis – i’ve never had any complaints, and it works exactly how it’s meant to.

That said however, I have worked for various companies and businesses within the men’s sexual health niche – it’s from these years of experience actually working on a number of different products that i have an absolute wealth of knowledge on what does and doesn’t work.

Yes natural penis enlargement IS possible but the amount of bullshit out there is phenomenal.

In some cases, even doctors don’t know what is truly possible, with many (especially in the US) simply prescribing treatment options that are the most profitable for their clinics!

The number of times I’ve seen adverts online for this miracle cure for erectile dysfunction, or a product claiming to give you 3 more inches in less than a month really does play in to the unrealistic and misguided view point of so many and that is why i created Penis Enlargement Resource – to stop the scare mongering and provide a completely unbiased view point on every product that passes my desk.

Yes! Every product i review i actually have possession of – i’m not simply writing reviews based on other generic online content, so if your reading a review and can’t see any unique photos or videos, chances are it’s just an affiliate marketer trying to make a quick buck off your insecurities.

So take a step back, read the articles I’ve written and see which products I’d REALLY recommend, so you can take that first step towards making your penis bigger, stronger or harder.

The journey to natural penis enlargement is not a fast process, it is not an easy process… but if you stick with it, i absolutely promise you, it IS possible.


This Content Was Written By...

Author & Site Owner | Website
Chris is the owner and creator of Penis Enlargement Resource. He has years of knowledge in the male enhancement niche and has tested and assessed numerous products over the years.

Content By This Author...

Questions & Comments

No Comments yet!

Your Email address will not be published.