A growing body of research suggests that a diet rich in nuts can improve men’s sperm count and motility, including a study published in November that found that nuts can improve sperm’s DNA quality. Who is funding this research, you might ask? None other than Big Nut, also known as the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council!
That’s right — you might as well be taking health advice from cannibalistic capitalist, Mr. Peanut himself.
Despite this conflict of interest, the research may be worth considering. A study from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in 2018, also partially supported by International Nut, measured semen parameters and molecular changes over a 14-week period, utilizing 119 men. Half the group ate their usual “Western-style” diet, while half consumed the same diet supplemented by 60 grams per day of almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts. Among the nut-eaters, there was a 16 percent increase in sperm count, 4 percent increase in sperm vitality, 6 percent increase in sperm motility and 1 percent increase in morphology, four parameters associated with male fertility.
In a more recent study published by the American Society of Andrology and the European Academy of Andrology in November, again financed by Big Nut, a group of 72 men who followed the same routine as the prior study were studied for “sperm DNA methylation patterns.” In simple terms, they found that men who added nuts to their diet demonstrated that there are regions of sperm DNA that respond to changes in diet. This could potentially improve sperms’ ability to fertilize.
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For reference, one almond is about one gram. So, 60 grams of almonds would be around 60 almonds, which isn’t an insignificant amount. I’m sure Big Nut would just loooove to see all you sperm-conscious young men develop a pricy new almond habit.
On a related note, we have learned a lot about sperm this year. We learned that the sperm with less-developed tails tend to move more effectively and that sperm do not actually swim in the way we thought — instead, they twirl like a drill bit. Further, it was discovered that the sperm “race” isn’t much of a race at all: Rather than the sperm that fertilizes the egg simply being the fastest, the egg itself selects its preferred sperm from the pool of applicants.
Still, the idea that the inclusion of something simple into one’s diet, like nuts, being so beneficial is probably good news. Even if the egg does do the majority of the selecting, the sperm still needs to be viable and mobile enough to get there, and these studies show that there’s some likelihood that nuts can help with that.
Eat nuts for your nut if you’d like, but remember that Big Nut may be trying to get their financial nut, too.