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 %, 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 walnuts.