Doctors have called the most useful product for men's health

15 2015 shows hazelnuts on display at the Talensac market in central Nantes western France. /AFP

According to the authors, the results are consistent with previous research which has shown sperm can be improved by diets rich in omega-3, antioxidants like vitamin C and E, selenium, zinc, and folate - all of which are found in nuts.

The clinical trial found better sperm in the healthy young men aged 18-35 who supplemented their usual western-style diet with 60 grams/day of mixed almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts.

The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Albert Salas Huetos from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, in Spain has said that incorporating healthy lifestyle changes such as improving the diet might increases changes of conception. The study lasted for almost four months (14 weeks), after which the researchers compared the sperm quality of both groups.

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

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.

A diet rich in nuts can boost sperm count by 20%. They also had reduced DNA fragmentation, which is a measure of sperm damage.

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Sperm and blood samples were analyzed at baseline and after 14 weeks of intervention.

Results revealed that the men who ate the nuts in their diet had improved sperm count (improved by 16 percent), motility (by 6 percent), shape or morphology (by 1 percent), vitality (by 4 percent) as well as reduced DNA fragmentation.

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.

He said the subjects in the nut group also showed a "significant reduction" in their levels of sperm DNA fragmentation, a parameter closely associated with male infertility.

Dr. Salas-Huetos pointed out that the results of the study can not necessarily be applied to the general population, considering that the male subjects were all healthy and fertile men who followed a western-style diet.

Dr Salas-Huetos added: "We can't yet say that, based exclusively on the results of this study". Trial participants who knew they were eating nuts might have changed other aspects of their lifestyle, which could have skewed the results.

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