Nuts: The Secret To Male Fertility?

According to a large recent study, men reproductive health seems to failing, with the sperm concentration and sperm count experiencing a steady decline over the past 30 years. Factors that can influence male fertility include pollution, smoking, poor diet, obesity, some medications and excessive alcohol use. However, according to recent studies, the inclusion of nuts in one’s diet may help to improve male fertility. Nuts are extremely rich in antioxidants and they also contain Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and vitamin E. It’s seems that, according to this study, that nuts could also help boost male reproductive health.

The study

Researchers from Rovira i Virgili University in Spain attempted to uncover the effect that the daily consumption of nuts can have on male fertility. The researchers worked with 119 healthy male participants, aged between 18 and 35 years old for a period of 14 weeks. For the study, the participants were randomly split
into two groups with one group asked to add 60 grams of nuts (a combination of hazelnuts, almonds, and walnuts) to their regular Western-style diet. Those in the second group continued with their regular Western-style diet, without the addition of nuts. They assessed their diets as well as collected and compared sperm and blood samples both at the start and end of the study.

The results

The study revealed that those who enjoyed a diet rich in nuts had significantly improved sperm quality. Specifically, those who enjoyed a nut-rich diet had a 16% higher sperm count. They also had a 4% higher sperm vitality which refers to the amount of live, healthy sperm cells found in semen. Moreover, they experienced a 6% improvement in sperm motility (which is the sperm cells’ ability to move) and a 1% improvement in sperm morphology (which refers to the cells' normal, healthy, size and shape). Also, the men showed less sperm DNA fragmentation. Highly fragmented sperm DNA is often a precursor to male infertility and it can also increase the risk for miscarriages.

The verdict on nuts for reproductive health

The findings emphasise the nutritional benefits commonly associated with nuts as well as the role they can play in supporting male fertility. However, the study does have some drawbacks. Firstly, the study was funded by the International Nut and Dried Food Council, thus it did not attempt to assess the impact of other foods on male reproductive health. Secondly, as the study only analysed young, healthy males, it failed to assess whether men with fertility problems might benefit from the consumption of nuts. Moreover, other factors such smoking and body weight can influence sperm quality. Nonetheless, although more studies are required, there’s absolutely no reason as to why one can’t include more nuts in their diets – especially since they’re a key component in the Mediterranean diet (considered one of the healthiest diets in the world). To read more on reproductive health, follow the link. You can also download the original study here.

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