Finally it is the turn of prospective fathers to be told what to eat – men who want to be dads should ramp up their intake of green vegetables and cut out junk food. A study published in Nature Communications found that fathers with a diet deficient in folate (found in greens such as spinach, sprouts and broccoli) were more likely to have offspring with abnormalities of the head, face and sternum (breastbone) and a build-up of fluid on the brain.
The researchers linked their findings to changes in regions of sperm DNA that are altered by folate. They also found chemical changes in the DNA of genes associated with the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. But before you start storming the vegetable aisle – the study wasn't conducted on humans. The folate-deficient fathers were mice. And although their poor mouslings had nearly 10 times as many abnormalities as those with daddy mice who had eaten their greens, there is no evidence that men who are folate deficient do any harm to their offspring. But while there is no proven link, might such a study make you think twice before refusing that extra helping of sprouts?