Walnuts have log been considered to be of benefit to male fertility according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), now modern research supports this concept too.
Walnuts support the Kidney energy which, according to TCM, controls reproduction, development and stores the Jing. Jing, also known as essence, is a deep form of energy within the body. Jing is largely responsible for our physical and mental development and forms the basis of our ability to reproduce.
A study published in 2012 I the journal Biology of Reproduction found that eating 75g of walnuts per day improved sperm vitality, motility and morphology.
The research findings correlated fertility improvement with the walnuts' alpha-linolenic content, along with other nutrients.
A recent animal study by the University of Delaware backs up these findings. The study found that walnuts reduce lipid peroxidation, a process that can damage sperm cells.
This form of cell damage harms sperm membranes, which are primarily made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Walnuts are the only tree nut that are predominantly comprised of these fatty acids - meaning they are uniquely powerful for replenishing sperm cells.
Walnuts are very nutrient dense. A cup of walnuts contains 511g of protein (about 15% by weight), a range of B vitamins ( 400mcg of thiamin, 115mcg folate and B6 at 600mcg),115mg of calcium, 185 mg of magnesium and 516mg of potassium. Walnuts are also rich in manganese, selenium and phytosterols. However it is the omega-3 content of walnuts that makes them so beneficial to sperm health. At 10,623 mg of omega-3s per cup they really do pack a punch.
Dietary recommendations are one way that traditional Chinese medicine can help to improve sperm health. If there is aknown male factor (sperm count, motility or morphology) contributing to infertility, optimal results will be achieved through a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and lifestyle changes.
For individualised treatment for male infertility, speak to a registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner.
Sally has a Bachelor of Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine) from the University of Technology Sydney and a Diploma of Health Science in Eastern Massage therapy (Shiatsu and Tuina) from the Canberra Institute of Technology.