Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and macademia nuts are nuggets of nutrition full of omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin B. These nutrients are important for improving the production of healthy sperm cells.
Fertility specialists in Spain examined the sperm of 119 healthy young men before and after a 14-week study during which half were randomly assigned to have 60g of mixed nuts added to their diet each day.
The findings of the study, funded by the International Nut and Dried Food Council, were presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) annual meeting in Barcelona.
This was a randomized trial where sperm parameters were measured in the study participants over a 14 week study. For example, it is unclear what the subjects' regular "western-style diet" actually consisted of.
Infertility affects around 11 per cent of women and nine per cent of men of a reproductive age in the US.
The findings "support a beneficial role for chronic nut consumption in sperm quality" and reflect a research need for further male-specific dietary recommendations, the investigators said.
This simple addition to the diet can significantly improve the quality and volume of sperm cells, as well as their motility.
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The study recorded not just sperm parameters but also changes in several molecular factors, including sperm DNA fragmentation.
Improvements in the first group were about 16% in sperm count, 4% in sperm vitality, 6% in sperm mobility, and 1% in morphology.
But lead researcher Dr Albert Salas-Huetos, from the University Rovira i Virgili in Reus, said: "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".
These four parameters, Salas-Huetos said, are all associated with male fertility.
As well as improvements in sperm count and shape, the researchers examined the quality of DNA inside the sperm. The second group, on the other hand, did not eat any nuts.
"We can't yet say that based exclusively on the results of this study", Salas-Huetos said in a statement.
Researchers also looked at sperm DNA fragmentation, closely associated with male infertility, and found that this was also less in the group that ate the nuts. Not yet, said Salas-Huetos.