London: Eating walnuts may help increase sperm count in men and improve its quality, a new study has found.
Scientists at the University of California asked a group of young men in their 20s and 30s to eat 75 grams of walnuts every day for three months.
The research found that men managed to increase their sperm count and its quality, potentially giving them a better chance of fathering a child, compared with a group of men who avoided walnuts.
Researchers chose walnuts because they are a major source of "good" polyunsaturated fats, a newspaper reported.
Walnuts are rich in omega 3 and omega 6, also found in oily fish, which are thought to be good for sperm development and function but are lacking in many Western diets.
One in six couples struggle to conceive, and it is thought around 40 percent of these problems are due to problems with the man`s sperm.
Professor Wendie Robbins, of UCLA`s School of Public Health, said as the 117 volunteers were healthy non-smokers, it was not clear that walnuts would help with fertility problems, but it had a positive effect.
The researchers analysed the men`s sperm concentration, how strongly they swam and their genetic makeup.
Those eating walnuts saw a modest 3 per cent average increase in sperm swimming, compared with no increase in the group who did not eat walnuts.
Only few walnut eaters were seen with aneuploidy - a disorder where sperm have too many or too few chromosomes.
Allan Pacey, a fertility expert at the University of Sheffield, said the study found only a `quite modest` increase in sperm count.
"I would be cautious about recommending this as a therapy for infertility until it has been studied further," said Pacey.