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Eating a handful of nuts every day boosts men’s sperm production

Nuts boost sperm! Eating a handful of almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts every day increases production by nearly 20%

  • Just a 60g daily serving of the mixed nuts improves sperm count by 16%
  • The snack boosts sperm movement by 6%, survival by 4% and shape by 1% 
  • Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and folate, which benefit sperm
  • Infertility affects 11% of women and 9% of men of a reproductive age in the US
  • Approximately one in seven couples have difficulty conceiving in the UK 
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Eating a handful of almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts every day boosts men’s sperm production, new research suggests.

Just a 60g daily serving of the mixed nuts improves their sperm count by 16 per cent, a Spanish study found today.

The healthy snack also boosts sperm movement by six per cent, survival by 4 per cent and shape by one per cent, which are all related to male fertility, the research adds.

This is thought to be due to the nuts being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and folate.   

Infertility affects around 11 per cent of women and nine per cent of men of a reproductive age in the US. Approximately one in seven couples have difficulty conceiving in the UK.

The researchers believe ‘pollution, smoking, and trends toward a western-style diet’ are affecting sperm health.  

A handful of almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts every day boosts men’s sperm production (stock)

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A handful of walnuts a day may prevent heart disease and bowel cancer, research suggested in May 2018.

Eating just a third of a cup of walnuts for six weeks significantly reduces the production of excess bile acids, as well as lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, a study found.

Previous research has linked such bile acids to bowel cancer, while lower cholesterol levels are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

Researchers believe walnuts’ high-fibre content encourages the growth of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, which benefits people’s heart and colon health.

The scientists also found that despite walnuts being relatively high in calories, with around 28 per nut, only 80 per cent of them are absorbed, with gut bacteria using up the remaining 20 per cent.

Results further suggest people who eat a handful of walnuts a day produce less secondary bile acids, which are made in the bowel rather than the liver like their primary counterparts.

Lead author Professor Hannah Holscher, from the University of Illinois, said: ‘Secondary bile acids have been shown to be higher in individuals with higher rates of colorectal cancer.

‘Secondary bile acids can be damaging to cells within the GI tract and microbes make those secondary bile acids.

‘If we can reduce secondary bile acids in the gut, it may also help with human health.’

How the research was carried out  

The researchers, from the University Rovira i Virgil, Tarragona, Spain, analysed 119 healthy men aged between 18 and 35 for 14 weeks.

Half the men ate a typical western diet, while the remainder had the same food alongside a 60g daily serving of almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts.

Sperm and blood samples were taken at the beginning and end of the study.

‘Healthy lifestyle changes might help conception’ 

Results further suggest a handful of nuts a day reduces sperm’s DNA damage, which can cause male infertility.

Study author Dr Albert Salas-Huetos said: ‘Evidence is accumulating 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.’

Although the findings support hopeful fathers adding nuts to their diets, the researchers stress the study was carried out on healthy men who ate a western diet and therefore the results may not apply to all.

In addition, the participants were obviously aware of whether they were in the nut-eating group or not and may have made other changes to their lifestyle that boosted their sperm’s health. 

The findings were presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona. 

Declining sperm counts could be a ticking time bomb for the human race

This comes after a leading scientist warned last October declining sperm counts and doubling rates of testicular cancer could be a ticking time bomb for the human race.

Sperm counts have halved in the western world over the past four decades, which, alongside rising testicular tumours, could be behind plummeting fertility rates and couples’ increasing dependency on IVF, according to Professor Niels Skakkebaek from the University of Copenhagen.

Hormone-disrupting pesticides sprayed onto everyday food may be too blame as the changes are occurring too rapidly for genetics to be at fault, he adds.

Professor Skakkebaek said: ‘Alterations in our genome cannot explain the observations as changes have occurred over just a couple of generations.

‘Modern lifestyles are associated with increased exposure to various endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as pesticides that may be harmful to humans even though exposure to individual chemicals is low.’ 

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