A new study suggests that eating nuts regularly can improve both a man’s sperm count and the quality of the sperm produced.
Experts say the finding is significant given that sperm counts across the Western world are in decline, a reality that’s been attributed to pollution, smoking and diet.
At present, around one in seven couples have difficulty getting pregnant and figures show that 40-50% of infertility cases are attributable to men.
For the study, scientists randomly split 119 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 35 into two groups. One group had 60 grams (2oz) of nuts added to their normal diet each day, while the other continued to eat as they always had done.
The group that had the nuts added to their diet were found to have improved sperm – 14% greater count, 4% better vitality, 6% better motility (movement) and 1% better morphology (shape and size) – all of which are considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be measures of sperm quality.
Dr Albert Salas-Huetos, from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain, who led the study, said: "Evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception”.
The results of the study were recently presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona.