Nuts and seeds are some of the best foods you can—and should—add to your daily diet. These super snacks are loaded with the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals essential for a strong and resilient body. And while you probably shouldn’t gobble them down en masse—they tend to be pretty calorie-dense—you only need to scoop up a handful a day to get the benefits without the belly bloat.
Walnuts, for example, have been shown to help improve cardiovascular health, colon health, and even fight against Alzheimer’s disease. And those benefits just got a little better, according to a new study, which found that walnuts can also strengthen and boost sperm health.
That’s right: Eating nuts can improve the health of yours. Thanks for that, science.
See, it turns out that walnuts are especially high in healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), found in soybean and sunflower oil, and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. PUFAs also make up the cell membranes of sperm, helping to defend your swimmers when they’re broken down by oxidative stress.
Researchers from the University of Delaware discovered that eating walnuts may help alleviate that oxidative damage to sperm cells by providing extra PUFAs to boost sperm movement and structure. To be fair, the Delaware study looked at mice who ate a diet with almost 20% of calories coming from walnuts (or about 2.5 ounces for humans), not people. But that study is still built on older human and mice studies that showed similar results, suggesting the walnut-sperm bonus is built on some solid science.
“What’s fascinating is we found that eating walnuts can actually help improve sperm quality, likely by reducing peroxidative damage in sperm cells,” said study author, Patricia Martin-DeLeon, Ph.D. “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.”