We have always been told that fresh vegetables and fruits provide our bodies with an enormous amount of various vitamins and nutrients. If you consume an appropriate number of such products every day, you will be healthy and have a good look. However, the researchers from Harvard University state that eating fruits and vegetables with large amounts of pesticide residue may reduce sperm count and quality in men affecting their fertility.
Does it mean that we should not eat vegetables and fruits?
The researchers at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health carried out their study, which first associated the pesticides in fruits and vegetables with reproductive problems. Based on the trial results, 155 men participating in the study appeared to have problems with sperm count and quality. However, the researchers could not precisely determine whether pesticides have caused those disorders.
But such results give a solid ground to suspect that pesticides used in the agricultural production may significantly reduce spermatogenesis in men. It is an official statement of the researchers published in the journal Human Reproduction. It has long been suggested that men who work with pesticides or are significantly exposed to them in the environment may experience lower sperm production.
One of the authors of the study and an assistant nutrition and epidemiology professor at the public health school, says that there is no enough evidence that pesticide residues may affect health in people as there are no chemicals in urine after they have consumed products with pesticides.
When classifying the levels of pesticide residues in 35 vegetables and fruits, the researchers relied upon the data of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 155 male participants were asked to have a special diet (9 daily high-pesticide servings to 2.3 of low to moderate pesticide servings) and tested their semen samples for a range of problems. Sperm motility and concentration were evaluated by computer-aided semen analysis (CASA).
Smoking, excessive weight, age, and physical activity were excluded, and men consuming the largest amounts of high-pesticide fruits and vegetables appeared to have 49 percent lower sperm counts and 32 percent lower percentage of morphologically normal sperm than men eating the lowest-pesticide products. Low and moderate pesticide fruit and vegetable consumption were related to a higher percentage of morphologically normal sperm.
One of the researchers said that such result had raised a lot of questions. That study allowed defining such a problem and identifying the association between pesticides and male reproductive system. However, to make any accurate assessment and conclusion, more controlled and randomized research is required. Also, men participating in the study were seeking for ways to treat their possible fertility problems. So, the results achieved may not apply to the general public.
There is no information whether one chemical or several chemicals in pesticides may affect male sperm. It is impossible to associate such a risk with one pesticide but with pesticide mixture. Thet’s why it is harder to estimate a real situation. Do you think if washing can help you eliminate pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables? No, it is almost impossible as pesticides penetrate through fruits and vegetables, their roots and substance.
But Professor says that it does not mean that those who are diagnosed with fertility problems should stop eating vegetables and fruits, which are a part of a fresh and healthy diet. When you go shopping, you are recommended choosing organic products as they contain fewer pesticides. Or purchasing vegetables and fruits, which do not absorb a lot of pesticides, for example, asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mangos, kiwi, pineapples, onions, papayas, sweet corn, sweet peas (frozen), and sweet potatoes.
Please take into account that such vegetables and fruits as apples, celery, cherry, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes, peaches, nectarines, snap peas, spinach, strawberry, sweet bells peppers, and hot peppers contain the highest levels of pesticides. This fact is stated by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit advocacy organization.
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