The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest ways to eat for heart health and now a new study has shown that the Mediterranean diet boosts fertility too. As is often the case, what's good for the heart is also good for fertility.
In a Dutch study, 161 couples with infertility, who were pursuing fertility treatments at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam were questioned about their eating habits in the previous month. It was discovered that the couples whose diets were richest in the foods typical of a Mediterranean diet had an astonishing 40% greater chance of conceiving.
If your wondering exactly which Mediterranean foods are revered for their health and fertility benefits, here's the scoop. A Mediterranean diet is rich in a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes / beans, nuts, olives, olive oil, fish, whole grains and fresh herbs. And here's the catch, most Mediterraneans seldom eat out, preferring mostly home cooked food. If you want to steer your diet towards a more Mediterranean style try these four tips:
Add more legumes / beans to your diet. Beans make great additions to salads, soups and stews. Legumes can be added to many meat dishes too such as chili to reduce the meat content and up the fiber and nutrient density. Use as many different kinds of beans and lentils to add variety. Use dried beans that you prepare yourself to avoid the BPA in canned beans (unless you choose Eden brand).
Switch your oils to extra virgin organic olive oil for everything. Mediterraneans even dip their bread in it.
Eat a great variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and greens every day. Check out the 'dirty dozen' at the environmental working group's site, ewg.org to avoid the most pesticide-contaminated produce.
Eat fish a couple of times a week, preferably wild salmon.
Use fresh and dried herbs and spices in your foods, add olives and capers too.
No one is quite sure yet how the Mediterranean diet boosts fertility but researchers suspect that the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids within the diet may help to promote more favorable hormone levels. The couples eating a more Mediterranean style diet also had higher vitamin B6 levels, a factor shown in other studies to favor conception. You should always ask your physician before radically changing your diet.
This article is purely for educational and informational purposes and is not intended to substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment or nutritional advice for which you should consult a physician or dietitian.
Reference Fertility and Sterility online March 2010