Washington: Make sure that the food you eat is pesticide free, as new study has claimed that fruits and vegetables containing higher levels of pesticide residues can harm semen quality.
According to a new study by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, men who ate strawberries, spinach, and peppers with high pesticide levels had lower sperm count and a lower percentage of normal sperm than those who ate produce with lower residue levels.
It is the first study to look at the connection between exposure to pesticide residues from fruits and vegetables and semen quality.
The researchers used data from 155 men enrolled in the Environment and Reproductive Health (EARTH) study, an ongoing National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-funded study at a fertility center in Boston. Data included 338 semen samples provided during 2007-2012 and validated survey information about participants' diets.
The results showed that men who ate greater amounts of fruits and vegetables with higher levels of pesticide residue-more than 1.5 servings per day-had 49 percent lower sperm count and 32 percent lower percentage of normal sperm than men who ate the least amounts (less than 0.5 serving per day). They also had a lower sperm count, lower ejaculate volume, and lower percentage of normal sperm.
The men who ate the most fruits and vegetables with low-to-moderate levels of pesticide residue had a higher percentage of normal sperm compared with those who ate less fruits and vegetables with low-to-moderate levels.
Study's senior author Jorge Chavarro said that the findings should not discourage the consumption of fruit and vegetables in general, as they found that consuming more fruits and vegetables with low pesticide residues was beneficial.
The study is published in the journal Human Reproduction.