Maggie Simpson has an IQ of 158 (that's in the genius range), even though year after year her growth seems as stunted as her vocabulary! Clearly, her mental powers are from Marge's side of the family, particularly since what Dad eats before you're conceived influences your health and development throughout life. (Since Maggie's dad, Homer, is a beer-swilling, meat-loving, sweets-gobbling tubb-o, it may explain her developmental delays.)
But seriously, how can a man's diet influence the health of his yet-to-be-conceived children?
Genes within sperm can be turned on and off in response to environmental triggers (obesity, nutritional deficiencies, insulin resistance, chronic stress, etc.). And these altered genetic messages are passed along through sperm to an embryo at conception. After birth, they influence the metabolism of his children and may predispose the kids to a roster of diseases later in life, including diabetes and cancer.
We're thinking men of child-bearing age should follow the recommendations that we suggest to all women who could become pregnant (since 50 percent of pregnancies are unplanned). They are: Take a prenatal multivitamin daily, divided in half, and make sure you get 400 mcg of folate a day to avoid birth defects such as spina bifida, as well as plenty of omega-3 DHA (900 mg) for eye and brain development (it also increases the chances of conception). Plus, avoid red meat; trans and saturated fats; and added sugars or syrups (you hear Homer yowling?); and eat only 100 percent whole grains. Dads, it's your turn to step up to the (nutritional) plate.
© King Features Syndicate