When women eat a Mediterranean-style diet they may be less likely to have trouble conceiving according to a 2011 Spanish study presented at the ASRM (American Society For Reproductive Medicine) annual meeting in Orlando Florida.
Researchers analyzed the diets and fertility histories of almost 500 women who had experienced fertility problems and over 1,600 similar women who had at least one child. The women's diets were scrutinized to see whether they adhered more closely to the basic principles of a Mediterranean diet or a Western diet.
A Western diet is defined as containing frequent servings of: red meat, fast food, whole-fat dairy products, potatoes, refined grain, sugar-sweetened soda. By comparison, a Mediterranean diet is defined as containing frequent servings of: olive oil, fish, lean meats, beans and legumes, whole grains, fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables, olives and nuts.
The study results showed that seventeen percent of women whose dietary habits closely mirrored the principles of a Mediterranean diet reported having trouble conceiving compared to twenty six percent of women whose diets were least Mediterranean-like. The researchers concluded that:
"A greater adherence to the Mediterranean-type dietary pattern may enhance fertility. Further evidence about the relationship between this dietary pattern and fertility is needed to develop nutritional interventions for women desiring to get pregnant."
This is not the first study to find a link between eating a Mediterranean style diet and increased fertility. A previous Dutch study found that couples who ate a Mediterranean-style diet had a 40% greater chance of conceiving than couples who ate a regular diet. Eating a Mediterranean diet has been shown to prevent other health problems too especially heart disease and the main feature of any such diet is freshness. Focus on buying fresh - preferably organic - produce, making home-made meals and minimizing pre-packaged processed foods to give your diet a more Mediterranean feel.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT intended to diagnose, offer medical or nutritional treatment or replace medical or nutritional advice for which you should consult a suitably qualified physician or dietitian.