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Health and wellness

Sperm quality gets big boost from eating nuts, scientific trial shows; participants’ overall health also improved

Study shows fertility benefits of eating nuts, and adds to research findings that healthy lifestyle changes, such as adopting a Mediterranean diet, improve the chances of conceiving a baby

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 July, 2018, 10:51am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 July, 2018, 10:50am

Eating nuts gave a significant boost to young men’s sperm numbers and overall health in a scientific trial, researchers say.

The findings “support a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality”, they said, but stressed the study participants were all healthy, apparently fertile men.

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The potential benefits of nuts for men struggling with fertility have yet to be investigated.

For the study, researchers recruited 119 men aged 18-35, divided into two groups.

One group ate 60 grams of almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts daily on top of their usual “Western-style” diet, while the second group got no nuts.

After 14 weeks, the nut group “had significant improvements in their sperm count, vitality, motility (movement) and morphology (shape)” – all associated with male fertility, a statement said.

“Moreover, the subjects in the nut group also showed a significant reduction in their levels of sperm DNA fragmentation, a parameter closely associated with male infertility.”

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The results were consistent with sperm improvement observed in other studies that looked at diets rich in omega-3, antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, selenium and zinc, and folate.

Nuts are rich in many of these nutrients.

The study results were presented at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona.

Does this mean that men hoping to conceive a child should add nuts to their diet?

“We can’t yet say that,” said study co-author Albert Salas-Huetos of the Rovira i Virgili University in Spain. “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.”