Trying For A Baby? Eat A Walnut
If you are a man trying for a baby, you may want to consider adding walnuts to your diet, according to a new study, published in the journal Biology of Reproduction. Researchers found that men who eat walnuts had healthier sperm than men who didn't.
Eating only two handfuls of walnuts was extremely beneficial, researchers said. Over a 12-week period, eating walnuts improved sperm shape, motility and strength.
"It would be relatively easy to poke fun at studies like this, but there is increasing evidence to show that aspects of a man's diet can affect the number and quality of sperm produced by his testicles," Dr. Allan Pacey, professor at the University of Sheffield in the UK, who was not involved in the study, told BBC News.
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Researchers divided 117 men between the ages of 21 and 35 into two groups -- one group added 2.6 ounces of walnuts to their diet per day, while the other continued their regular diet but avoided tree nuts.
"We found a significant improvement in sperm parameters in the group that consumed the walnuts," Wendie Robbins, study author and researcher with the University of California, Los Angeles, told BBC News. "The men who ate no tree nuts saw no change."
Researchers attribute the healthier sperm to fatty acids within the walnut.
"Walnuts provide a particularly rich source of a-linolenic acid, a natural plant source of omega-3, which we suspect may have been responsible for the improvements we observed," Catherine Carpenter, study coauthor and researcher from UCLA, told BBC News.
And while the study results were encouraging, Pacey said that more research needs to be done to verify the results.
"The study has been well executed and my only criticism would be that the men in the walnut-eating arm of the trial could have altered other aspects of their behavior to give the results shown in the paper," he said. "A better trial would be to produce tablets of walnut extract that looked identical to a placebo so that the study was completely blind. In spite of this, the results of the study show a small but statistically significant improvement in sperm health."
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