Nuts have a lot of health benefits. From lowering cholesterol to reducing your risk of heart attacks, the tiny snacks are loaded with protein, antioxidants, and other nutrients. But did you know that they also might boost male fertility? Researchers from Rovira I Virgili University in Spain researched the how nuts could potentially benefit sperm quality, and we go over their findings in this article.
Researchers from Rovira I Virgili University studied how nut consumption affected the semen quality and functionality in healthy males. The team recruited 119 males between the ages of 18 and 35, who were then divided into two groups. One group added 60 grams, or two handfuls, of almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts to their regular diet, while the other group did not.
After 14 weeks, the results spoke for themselves. Sperm quality improved in the men who added nuts to their diet. Medical News Today explains, “More specifically, these participants had a 16 percent higher sperm count, a 4 percent higher sperm vitality (that is, the amount of live, healthy sperm cells found in semen), a 6 percent improvement in sperm motility (or sperm cells' ability to move), and a 1 percent improvement in sperm morphology (which is the cells' normal, healthy, size and shape).” In other words, they had healthier, speedier sperm. In addition, they didn’t have as much DNA fragmentation, a type of sperm damage.
The study doesn’t look into if men with fertility problems could benefit from nuts or if they should add nuts into their diet if they are trying to conceive a child, but the research shows that only about 2 handfuls of nuts a day will improve semen quality.
How do nuts impact fertility, exactly? Nuts are packed with fertility-boosting nutrients like omega-3, antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, selenium, zinc, and folate. All of these nutrients not only contribute to healthy fertility but also a healthy lifestyle. The three types of nuts used in the study were almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts, so let’s learn more!
Almonds are a crazy source of nutrients! Healthline reports that in just a small handful of almonds, you get:
In addition, they also add antioxidants to your diet, lower cholesterol levels, and help with weight loss!
When someone says hazelnuts, you might automatically think “Nutella,” but unprocessed hazelnuts are a great source of nutrients and healthy fats! They are high in calories, but it’s all good fuel for your body! According to Healthline, just one ounce of hazelnuts contains:
Hazelnuts also contain high amounts of vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
According to BBC Good Food, “Walnuts contain good fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), but they are also a good source of the essential fatty acid omega-3. They also contain iron, selenium, calcium, zinc, vitamin E and some B vitamins.”
The high amounts of PUFAs contribute to brain health and function, and vitamin E and folate boost neuroprotection and memory function. In addition, the PUDAs can improve cholesterol levels, and omega-3 fatty acids can have an impact on mood disorders.
The study, which was presented by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, supports the idea that nuts contribute to healthy fertility and sperm quality in men. Co-author of the study, Dr. Albert Salas-Huetos, says that, although the results of the study can’t say that nuts alone are the answer to increased fertility in men, “Evidence is accumulating in the literature that healthy lifestyle changes such as following a healthy dietary pattern might help conception.” If you struggle with infertility, nuts alone might not be the answer, but there are many other benefits of nuts that will boost your overall health.
So, what are you waiting for? Go buy some almonds at Trader Joe’s and start snacking!