Processed Meat Reduces Male Fertility

Baby, or baby-back ribs?

In a Harvard study, men who consumed half a portion of processed meat a day had just 5.5 percent "normal"-shaped sperm, compared to 7.2 percent of those who ate less.     Photo: dream designs/Shutterstock

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have found that men who eat at least half a portion of processed meat a day—including bacon, hamburgers, sausage, and hot dogs—corrupt the size and shape of their sperm cells and reduce their fertility.

Scientists are not sure why this occurs, but they believe the pesticides in red meat can interfere with hormones.

Conversely, the same research shows that consuming zinc-rich white fish, such as cod or halibut, bolsters fertility, as study participants who ate at least half a portion of white fish a day developed a greater percentage of "normal" sperm cells than those who did not.

Does that change your weekend barbecue menu?

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