Eating nuts regularly could have huge effect on men's sperm count, study finds

Adding just 60 grams a day could make a difference 

Sarah Young
Thursday 05 July 2018 11:01
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Eating a diet rich in nuts could produce higher sperm count and quality, according to a new study.

Performed by the Human Nutrition Unit of the Rovira i Virgili University in Spain, lead author Dr Albert Salas-Huetos says that the study was created in response to a decline in quantity and quality of human sperm, attributed to "pollution, smoking, and trends toward a western-style diet."

The 14-week study involved 119 healthy and fertile men aged between 18 and 35 and intended to investigate the impact that adding a portion of nuts would have on a man’s sperm.

Some of the participants were asked to add 60 grams of mixed almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts to their diet, while others were asked to continue eating as normal.

Researchers found that those in the nut group saw their sperm count improve by 16 per cent, sperm vitality by four per cent, sperm motility by six per cent and sperm morphology by one per cent.

They also showed a “significant” fall in sperm DNA fragmentation, which is associated with infertility.

So, should men trying to conceive a baby start adding nuts to their everyday diet?

“We can't yet say that based solely on the results of this study,” says Salas-Huetos.

“But evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception - and of course, nuts are a key component of a Mediterranean healthy diet."

These latest findings are consistent with improvements in other recent studies, which report that diets high in anti-oxidant rich foods can improve overall sperm health.

Published in the journal Ecology Letters, a 2011 study by the University of Western Australia found that the best defence against sperm damage was a combination of two powerful antioxidants: vitamin E and beta-carotene.

It suggested that dietary intake of foods like cantaloupe, carrots, apricots, pumpkin and mangos - orange-coloured foods rich in beta-carotene - and almonds, soybean oil, and broccoli - which are rich in vitamin E - could help maintain healthy sperm in men.

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