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Walnuts improve male fertility

Published:Wednesday | November 14, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Charlyn Fargo, Contributor

Sometimes, walnuts can be downright surprising. Who would think a walnut could help with infertility? What researcher would have even thought to test that hypothesis?

Dr Wendy Robbins, nurse practitioner and professor at the University of California Los Angeles, tested the idea that 75 grams of whole, shelled walnuts a day, added to healthy young men's typical Western-style diet, could boost sperm numbers. Her work has been published and was presented recently at the annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, held recently in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She and her colleagues at UCLA ran a randomised 12-week, two-group dietary intervention trial where 75g of walnuts per day were added to the diets of healthy 21-to 35-year-old men; another group didn't get any walnuts. Food histories were taken from all the participants, as well as blood and semen specimens. The men could not take any other supplements and couldn't have a history of fertility problems.

"We actually saw an increase in live sperm and increase in the motility of those sperm," said Robbins. "Some 22 per cent of the men in the study had values lower than normal - they saw the most gain. The group that avoided walnuts didn't see any change."

There was no significant weight change in the participants eating walnuts.

"Our findings demonstrated walnuts added to a Western-style diet improved sperm vitality, motility and morphology," said Robbins. "Our next logical step is to look at pregnancy outcomes and offspring health. We confirmed you are what your dad ate."

Your diet and acne

Q: Does diet have any effect on acne?

A: Whether or not diet might affect development or treatment of acne is controversial, with few well-controlled studies on which to base answers. The latest evidence suggests if you have no family history of acne, dietary habits (even high fat consumption or chocolate) are not linked to acne.

However, some evidence now suggests that for people with a family history of acne, eating habits could affect hormones and growth factors in ways that promote acne. The strongest evidence suggests a link to diets high in glycaemic load - meaning lots of sugars and refined starchy foods like white bread. This kind of eating pattern tends to be low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and is not healthy. Cutting down on sweets and refined grains is a great idea for overall health, whether or not it helps acne.

Evidence is less clear whether high consumption of dairy products increases development of acne in some people. If you are considering a trial of avoiding or severely limiting dairy foods to see if your acne improves, take special care to include fortified foods or supplements to meet calcium needs, since this mineral is important to bone health. For women and teenage girls whose acne is related to polycystic ovarian syndrome, weight loss, moderate physical activity and a healthy diet high in fibre from vegetables, fruits and whole grains may help.

- Information courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research

Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian from Springfield, Illinois. For comments or questions, contact her at To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


Stir fry vegetables and pork tenderloin

I love stir-frys made with lots of vegetables and lean pork tenderloin. Pork tenderloin is among the leanest cuts of pork, with only 1g of saturated fat per 3 ounces and 2.98g of total fat. And it's a good source of protein, thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, niacin and potassium. Here's a recipe from the National Pork Board that combines pork and veggies. You can use frozen stir-fry vegetables or make up your own combination using fresh vegetables.

Ginger Pork Stir-Fry

1lb boneless pork loin, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon water

1 (16-ounce) package frozen stir-fry vegetables

Blend soy sauce, vinegar, oil, ginger and garlic in a shallow dish. Add pork; marinate for 10 minutes. Spray large non-stick skillet or wok with vegetable spray. Heat skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Stir water and vegetables into pork. Cook, tossing vegetables like a salad, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Serves 4.

Per serving: 193 calories, 27g protein, 6g fat, 66mg cholesterol, 349mg sodium.