By Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter For Mailonline
Eating 60g of walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds each day may increase sexual desire in men and give them better orgasms.
Spanish researchers claim men reported having a better sex life with the addition of two large handfuls of nuts a day.
Scientists believe the nutrients in the nuts help transmit signals to the penis which boost sensitivity and performance.
Antioxidants – abundant in nuts – also benefit the cardiovascular system, and healthy blood circulation is linked to an increased libido.
However, the researchers said these are merely speculations and the real reasons behind the link need to be investigated.
The Universitat Rovira i Virgili and the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute in Spain conducted the 14-week trial.
They divided 83 healthy men aged 18-35, with no history of erectile dysfunction, into two groups.
All the volunteers typically ate a ‘Western-style’ diet, which is high in fats but low in fresh fruit and vegetables.
All the men were told to continue with their normal diets but those in one of the groups were given 60g of nuts to eat every day.
This consisted of 30g of walnuts and 15g each of almonds and hazelnuts, the team of academics wrote in the journal Nutrients.
WHAT IS LOSS OF LIBIDO?
Loss of libido is a reduced sex drive.
Past research suggests it affects nearly half of all women at some point in their lives.
It is often linked to relationship issues, stress or tiredness, but could also indicate an underlying health problem.
Sex drives vary person-to-person with no libido being ‘normal’, however, if it is affecting your relationship, it may be worth seeking help from a GP or psychosexual therapist.
• Relationship problems – such as becoming overly familiar with your partner, poor communication or trust issues
• Sexual problems – including erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness
• Stress, anxiety or depression
• Age – sex hormones fall during the menopause. Low libido can also occur due to the side effects of medication or mobility problems
• Pregnancy and breastfeeding – can cause changes in hormone levels, exhaustion or altered priorities as people focus on their child
• Underlying health issues – such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes
• Medication – including antidepressants and drugs for high blood pressure
• Alcohol and drugs
Source: NHS Choices
Researchers took measurements including waist circumference, blood pressure and semen quality from the men.
And the participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire, which asked for details of sexual function and performance during the trial.
The group that ate nuts did not necessarily have sex that lasted for longer. But the men did have greater sexual desire and better orgasms.
The experiment was conducted as part of the larger FERTINUTS project, which has found regularly eating nuts improves semen quality.
Nuts are nutrient dense, with antioxidants and vitamins such as folic acid, as well as minerals including calcium and potassium.
The report, led by Dr Albert Salas-Huetos, said: ‘Several antioxidants, for example polyphenols, and vitamins present in nuts have been suggested to be effective treatments for erectile dysfunction and at the same time are beneficial for the cardiovascular system.
‘Our study suggests that compliance with a health diet supplemented with mixed nuts may help to improve erectile and sexual desire.’
The researchers said more studies are necessary to confirm the findings, as well as to determine exactly how nuts influence sexual performance in men.
The findings from the study – part-funded by the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council – support previous research.
Other trials, including one by experts at the University of California, Los Angeles, have found eating nuts can be a beneficial aid to sperm quality.
It revealed sperm shape, movement and vitality improved in men who added walnuts to their diet over 12 weeks.
The fatty acids found in these nuts are thought to have helped sperm development, but it is not clear if this would improve male fertility.