As if guys need one more excuse to drink beer, a new study suggests that it could improve sperm count. This flies in the face of the warnings men often get about the negative impact alcohol can have on fertility. But this fresh research from the Fondazione Policlinico in Italy contends that a chemical in beer hops called Xanthohumol can safeguard sperm cells from damage, The Daily Mail reports.
According to The Daily Mail, their observations showed that although the sperm concentration in men who drank moderately was low, there was more of it in general. This makes them more likely to conceive a child when they’re ready.
‘We found that men who consumed four to seven units per week had higher semen volume and total sperm count than those who drank less or more than that,” said Dr. Elena Ricci, lead researcher on the study.
This doesn’t give men free reign to drink pint after pint, all in the name of improving their fertility. Ricci stipulates that their research advises that “modest” alcohol consumption is helpful. Despite their findings, she also admitted that there are studies which have demonstrated that there is a link between male infertility and excessive alcohol drinking. Any claims that there’s a positive correlation between alcohol and male reproductive capacity are, therefore, considered “controversial.”
According to the study, moderate drinking means consuming four to seven units of alcohol a week. That’s the equivalent of two-thirds of a bottle of wine to a full bottle and small glass. As The Daily Mail notes, in Italy, one unit of alcohol equals 12.5 grams of alcohol. The recommendation from the study suggests that men can drink four to seven 330 milliliter bottles of beer per week to reap the purported benefits on their sperm health.
If you or you’re significant other would prefer that you avoid beer, there are other drinks and foods that scientists have researched for their sperm-boosting capability.
A study from the Harvard School of Public Health has found that eating more fish and cutting out processed meats can improve male fertility. Researchers found that eating fatty fish breeds like salmon, bluefish and tuna had the most positive effect compared to “white fish meat” like halibut. Men who consumed two to three servings of processed meats like bacon per week had lower sperm counts than men who ate less of that type of food.
And it’s not just food and drink, the 2013 study found that exercise also improves sperm production, specifically weightlifting. That’s because it’s been shown to improve testosterone and inulin sensitivity, two factors that have been linked to higher sperm counts.