Although a diet packed full of fruit and vegetables can boost your immune system, avoiding meat completely can have a negative effect on fertility.
Male vegetarians and vegans have a significantly lower sperm count than men who eat meat, according to new research.
A study from Loma Linda University Medical School in southern California found vegetarians and vegans had on average 50 million sperm per ml. Meat eaters had a dramatically higher amount – 70 million sperm per ml.
The research suggests that vegetarians and vegans may be harming their chance of having children in the future. For most meat-eating males, 60% of the sperm they have will be “active.” For vegetarians and vegans in the study, this percentage halved.
“We found that diet does significantly affect sperm quality. Vegetarian and vegan diets were associated with much lower sperm counts than omnivorous diets,” Dr Eliza Orzylowska an obstetrician at Loma Linda University Medical Centre told The Telegraph.
“Although these people are not infertile, in is likely to play a factor in conception, particularly for couples who are trying to conceive naturally – the old fashioned way.”