"following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception"
A study has revealed that by simply adding nuts to your diet, you could increase the quality of your sperm, making it healthier.
As a man, if you’re partial to a handful of almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts, you may be unknowingly increasing the number and quality of your sperm. According to doctors and a recent study, a daily snack of these nuts could increase male fertility.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, 40-50% of cases of infertility are attributable to men. This is the reasoning behind conducting the study which has the potential to increase chances of conception in couples where the quality of sperm is an issue.
After conducting a small-scale study over 14 days, a group of scientists in Spain have collected significant evidence to suggest that this small dietary change can have a dramatic effect on the healthiness of someone’s sperm.
To conduct the study, scientists divided a group of 119 healthy men who were between 18 years-old and 35 years-old into two groups. One group added 60 grams of nuts a day to their normal diet, whilst the other group made no dietary changes.
The results found that those men who participated in the nut addition had an improved sperm count by 14% and improved vitality by 4%. They also saw an increase in sperm motility (movement) by 6% and sperm morphology (shape and size) by 1%.
The World Health Organisation lists all of these aspects of sperm as ways to measure its quality. As a result, in general, a higher quality sperm means that male fertility is also improved.
The BBC quoted the leader of the study, Dr Albert Salas-Huetos, from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in Spain. He sounded hopeful that something as simple as dietary changes could make a real difference to a person’s ability to conceive. He said:
“Evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception.”
The doctor added that these results could really help couples to potentially conceive. He said:
“The results of our study could potentially help couples’ chances of conceiving,”
However, he followed this up by saying:
“But I would not recommend anything based on only one study.”
Furthermore, the subjects of the study were healthy and fertile so the effect that this might have on men who are infertile or unhealthy may significantly vary.
Whilst the results of the study were deemed “interesting academically” by Dr Virginia Bolton, a former consultant clinical embryologist at Guy’s Hospital in London, it remains impossible to tell whether this could boost the chances of pregnancy.
Regarding the study, Dr Bolton said:
“The fact that the study has taken place is good.”
However, she added to this:
“But we need to see this translated into an effect on fertility.”
As a general warning, she continued:
“But meanwhile, until we get the answers to the questions, we should all be encouraging all of our patients to stop drinking alcohol, stop smoking, eat healthily, all of the standard things.”
The findings from this study in Spain link to other recent studies which have identified links between sperm quality to diets rich in certain vitamins and nutrients.
This includes polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3, antioxidants including vitamins C and E, selenium and zinc, and folate, all of which are found in great quantities in nuts.
Whilst it may be uncertain what effect a handful of nuts a day might have on male fertility overall, either way, it can’t harm to indulge in a small bowl of them as a snack.