Millions of people in this world are infertile and this number is likely to rise with time. While much research has been done on female fertility, not much data is available yet on problems that lead to infertility in men. As per the World Health Organisation, poor sperm shape and movement, low sperm count and problems in ejaculation are some of the possible causes of male infertility.
A person’s diet is one of the major factors suggested to be responsible for poor sperm quality. However, clinical trials have not been conducted yet to assess the effects of food and diet on the quality of sperms. Now, a new study published in the journal Andrology indicates that adding tree nuts including walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts to a regular western diet can improve sperm quality in men by affecting DNA methylation in specific regions.
A western diet or western pattern diet includes a high intake of saturated fats, proteins (majorly from fatty meats), refined grains, salt, sucrose, alcohol and reduced intake of fibre.
DNA methylation is an important process involved in impairing sperm quality. It involves the addition of a methyl group to specific locations on the DNA of the sperm and may lead to infertility.
While the study has provided first evidence on the benefits of nuts on sperm quality, this is not the only food that can help improve fertility in men.
Here are some more foods that are indicated to be good for sperm health.
Green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits
Leafy greens and fresh fruits contain antioxidants, coenzyme Q and lycopene, all of which are suggested to be linked with a higher concentration of sperm. A study including 250 men found that including more fresh fruits and vegetables in one’s diet can not only improve sperm concentration but also sperm motility.
Consumption of fish is suggested to be helpful in improving sperm motility. However, the evidence is a bit controversial. Some cross-sectional and case studies indicate that fish consumption does improve sperm morphology (structure) and have even found a dose-dependent relationship between the two. On the other hand, certain studies failed to find any effect of fish consumption on sperm quality.
Experts indicate that the omega-3 fats present in fish may be responsible for its beneficial effects on sperm health, if any. Though, in the absence of confirmatory evidence, nothing could be said for sure yet.
Several studies indicate the benefits of fenugreek on sperm health, specifically the process of spermatogenesis (formation of new sperm). A study including 80 oligospermia (low sperm count) patients found that regular intake of fenugreek can improve sperm count within four months. In another study, a fenugreek-based supplement was shown to improve both sperm motility and sperm count.
However, excess consumption of fenugreek may lead to stomach issues and hypersensitivity. It is best to talk to your doctor to know more about the benefits and use of fenugreek for improving sperm quality.
For more information, read our article on How to increase sperm count.
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