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Go Nuts: Sperm Quality Improved with Walnuts

​Fertility studies have often held their primary focus on the best pre-conception diets for women and ignoring the pre-conception eating habits of men. However, aspiring fathers of the world have recently been given carte blanche to go nuts, literally.

This month a new scientific study, conducted via the California Walnut Commission, has concluded that men who consume just two and a half ounces of walnuts a day for 12 weeks show a significant improvement in their sperm quality. This result was welcomed by scientists who have long believed that diet and lifestyle have a direct correlation with fertility, for men as well as women.

A group of 117 men aged 21 to 35 years old who regularly ate a typical Western diet were divided into two groups. The first group was given around a half cup of raw walnuts to incorporate into their normal diet, and the other group was given their normal diet while instructed to avoid eating tree nuts. Compared with samples of each man’s sperm quality taken prior to the study, only the group who ate walnuts showed improvement.

Walnuts are the only nuts that contain omega-3 fatty acids which, along with other polyunsaturated fatty acids, have been linked to an increase in sperm count, size, shape, maturation and overall function. Researchers also observed sperm’s concentration, vitality, ability to move and chromosomal abnormalities, finding that high levels of omega-3 improved these factors as well. In fact, men reporting the worst sperm count before the study experienced the greatest improvement.

While including walnuts in your diet is no guarantee of fathering kids in the future, it certainly won’t hurt your chances of conception. It doesn’t matter whether the walnuts are eaten whole or ground into other foods, but currently scientists have yet to determine the quantity of walnuts needed for the optimum level of sperm improvement.

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