If you want to make sure every chamber is loaded and you're not shooting blanks, better crack open a walnut.
Your favorite ice cream topping, as it turns out, can also improve the quality of your sperm. Walnuts reduce lipid peroxidation – that's the process in which free radicals rip off electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cellular damage. The cellular membranes of your sperm are constructed primarily of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and, as Fate and Ben & Jerry would have it, so are walnuts. They are, in fact, the only tree nut that are predominantly comprised of PUFAs (one ounce contains 13 grams of PUFAs out of 18 grams of total fat).
"More research is needed to understand the specific nutrients in walnuts that may contribute to this improvement, but the findings suggest that walnuts may be beneficial for sperm health." says Patricia A. Martin-DeLeon, PhD. She was the lead researcher in an animal study done at the University of Delaware.
Breaking down the mouse-to-human calculus, the study's numbers project significant improvements in your sperm's motility (movement) and morphology (form) if you consume 2.5 ounces of walnuts daily. The motility and morphology of your sperm are both predictors of your fertility.
U Delaware's animal study only bolsters a previous study performed at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and School of Nursing. Those results indicated that eating 2.5 ounces of walnuts per day improved sperm vitality, motility and morphology in men who added walnuts to their diet compared to men who did not add walnuts.
"This animal research sheds light on how walnuts may improve sperm quality and is a great follow up to our human study that showed what effect walnuts may have," says endie A. Robbins, PhD, RN, FAAN, who lead the UCLA study. "Studies that look at the factors underlying sperm quality improvements are very valuable for advancing research on this important topic."