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Will a Mediterranean Diet Help Improve Your Fertility?

February 26, 2018
Katie Visco

New Study Suggests This Diet May Help Women on IVF

  • The Mediterranean diet encourages healthy eating and lots of lean protein
  • A new study with a small sample size suggests it can help women on IVF conceive
  • Eating healthily is extremely important when trying to conceive

A new study published in Human Reproduction suggests that if you're looking to conceive using IVF, a Mediterranean diet might be the way to go. Mediterranean diets feature a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean sources of protein, like fish and poultry. It also discourages red meats and salts. A study with a very small sample size recently took place in Greece to look at the likelihood of pregnancy for women following a Mediterranean diet. The women who participated were between the ages of 22 and 41. One researcher, Meropi Kontogianni, said "As more couples worldwide face infertility problems and seek access to assisted reproduction technologies to conceive, it is essential for them to receive counseling on the importance of dietary influences and of adopting a healthy lifestyle," Those who followed the diet closely had higher pregnancy rates than those who did not, with their likelihood of pregnancy at 50%. Those who did not had an average rate of 29%. However, there was not any significant change in success seen in women who were 35 and older. It's unclear whether these findings stem solely from the Mediterranean diet or whether they simply show the effects of healthy eating. Taking care of your body, including eating well, exercising, and avoiding stress when possible are all important to fertility. Others are skeptical. "The study design is totally flawed in that patients were assigned to three different IVF treatment protocols, which, by themselves, can be expected to cause different IVF outcomes," said Dr. Norbert Gleicher, a fertility specialist in New York City. He is medical director and chief scientist at the Center for Human Reproduction. He believes that because the study's other variables were not controlled, there may be varying reasons why IVF was or was not successful for any of the women.

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