For men planning for fatherhood, regularly consuming a diet with 60 g of nuts can significantly improve the quality, quantity, and motility of sperm, results of a clinical trial has showed. The results, presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of ESHRE in Barcelona, showed that a diet rich in nuts can boost sperm count nearly 20 per cent, sperm vitality nearly five per cent, sperm motility by six per cent, and morphology by one percent. Eating nuts also showed a significant reduction in levels of sperm DNA fragmentation — a parameter closely associated with male infertility.
“Pollution, smoking, and trends toward a western-style diet” has led to a decline in quantity and quality of human sperm, said Albert Salas-Huetos from the Universitat Rovira i Virgil in Spain.
The study “supports a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality” and reflects a need for further investigations into male-specific dietary recommendations, he said.
Nuts are dense foods containing many omega-3, antioxidants (vitamin C and E, selenium and zinc), and folate and other phytochemicals.
On being asked if men hoping to conceive a baby should add nuts to their everyday diet, he Salas-Huetos said, “We can’t yet say that based solely on the results of this study”.
“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,” he noted.
For the clinical trial, the team included 119 healthy young men aged 18-35 for a 14-week diet plan to either take their usual western-style diet without nuts or supplement it with 60 grams/day of mixed almonds, hazelnuts and nuts.