For men looking to start a family, a small new study is shedding light on an all-natural snack that might help their chances: walnuts.
University of California, Los Angeles researchers found that men who ate 75 grams of walnuts daily — about two handfuls’ worth — in addition to their regular diets had an improvement in semen quality, compared with men who didn’t eat the nuts.
“This study shows that what men eat is important, too,” for couples looking to start a family, study researcher Wendie Robbins, a professor at UCLA, said in a statement.
The study included 117 men ages 21 to 35. About half of the men ate the 75 grams of walnuts each day for 12 weeks, while the other half ate a normal diet of Western-style food.
The researchers found that the men who ate the walnuts “experienced improvement in sperm vitality, motility, and morphology,” while those who didn’t eat the nuts “saw no change,” they wrote in the Biology of Reproduction study.
Plus, men who ate the walnuts had increased levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the researchers found.
“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,” study researcher Catherine Carpenter said in a statement.