Eating nuts regularly could improve sperm health, a study suggests.
Men who ate about two handfuls of mixed almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts daily for 14 weeks improved their sperm count and had more viable “swimmers”, scientists found.
The study comes amid a decline in sperm counts across the Western world, linked to pollution, smoking and diet.
Researchers said there was growing evidence a healthy diet could boost the odds of conceiving.
About one in seven couples have difficulty getting pregnant and about 40-50% of cases of infertility are attributable to men.
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The scientists randomly divided 119 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 35 into two groups:
One added 60 grams (2oz) of nuts a day to their normal diet
One made no changes to what they ate
Those in the nut group improved
sperm count by 14%
vitality by 4%
motility by 6%
morphology (shape and size) by 1%
All of these are the parameters the World Health Organization lists as measurements of sperm quality and are associated with male fertility.
Experts said the study backed up others that showed a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and the B vitamin folate improved fertility.
Nuts contain many of these and other nutrients.
“Evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception,” said Dr Albert Salas-Huetos, from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in Spain, who led the study.
Allan Pacey, professor of andrology at the University of Sheffield, who was not involved in the research, said it was also possible that men in the nut group might have made other positive changes to their lives not taken into account by the study.
The results of the study are being presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona.
The 14-week trial compared a group of men who added a daily dose of certain nuts to a Western style diet with an equivalent group of men who ate the same diet but without nuts.
The daily dose of nuts comprised 60 grams (g) — the equivalent of about two handfuls — of almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts.
The investigators, who hail from research centers in Spain, believe that this is the first study to show that eating nuts can benefit sexual function.
A 2018 analysis of the trial data had already reported that daily consumption of these nuts appeared to improve sperm quality.
The recent analysis uses the same trial data but focuses on the effect of nuts consumption on sexual and erectile function.
The findings suggest that adding nuts to a Western style diet can improve orgasm quality and sexual desire.
Are you Struggling to have children?
If so, consider eating a handful of walnuts every day.Enriching your diet with walnuts can be an effective first step in resolving your fertility issues and, if needed, there are many other treatments for infertility using medications or surgery.
According to a study conducted by the University of Delaware, eating a walnut-enriched diet boosts sperm quality and aids in preventing male infertility.
How Do Walnuts Work?
Walnuts reduce lipid peroxidation, a form of cell damage that interferes with sperm membranes and harms sperm cells. Sperm is made of polyunsaturated fatty acids which are liable to damage by lipid peroxidation. Walnuts are the only tree nut made of mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids and will therefore effectively replenish sperm cells. In fact, just 1 ounce of walnuts contains 13 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in 18 grams of total fat. By preventing sperm damage and replenishing sperm cells, walnuts help to improve sperm morphology, motility and vitality.
Walnuts are Beneficial for Sperm Health
Fertility in men is determined largely by sperm quality and quantity. For instance, if the number of sperm ejaculated is very low or the sperm are of poor quality, it may be difficult or even unlikely for pregnancy to occur. Since one-in-five infertility cases are solely due to the male partner and about one-in-twenty men suffer from some form of fertility problem related to low numbers of sperm ejaculated, using a healthy and proven method of improving sperm morphology, vitality and motility is a good way to begin addressing fertility problems.