A new study published last week in Oxford University’s Human Reproduction journal suggests that adhering to a Mediterranean diet for the 6 months leading up to your fertility treatment can improve the odds of getting pregnant by close to 70%. The caveat: it only works for women under 35.
The study, conducted at Athens University, involved 244 women under the age of 35 who were about to undergo their first IVF treatment. Using questionnaires, experts learned about their dietary habits. The results showed that women who consumed more fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, and chose fish and poultry over red meat were 65-68% more likely to fall pregnant compared to those who didn’t keep to a specific diet.
No such connection was seen however, when the effects of the same menu were examined in the over 35 group. According to the researchers, this disparity is caused by age-related hormonal changes, which adversely affect egg quality and negate the Mediterranean diet’s positive influences.
Renowned Israeli fertility expert Prof. Shlomo Maschiach commented that further research was needed to confirm the findings due to the small sample, but that women experiencing fertility issues should keep a healthy diet, which will improve both their odds of getting pregnant and their overall health.
More Links between Eating Habits and Fertility
This isn’t the only study to connect food preferences and pregnancy chances. Last year’s study by experts from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center showed that women who drink just 1 non-diet soft drink a day are 20% less likely to become pregnant following an IVF treatment and over 3.5 times more likely to suffer a miscarriage.
Furthermore, previous research has also shown that the Mediterranean diet, in conjunction with a healthy and active lifestyle, had a positive effect on both concentration and quality of sperm.
The Winning Fertility Diet
A sample menu that will improve your odds of falling pregnant:
- Breakfast: 2 slices of bread / whole grain (spelt, rye, wheat) / + 2 tablespoons of tahini / avocado / cheese / tofu + vegetables
- 10AM Snack: serving of fruit + 7 almonds / unroasted nuts + a glass of water / carbonated water / herbal tea / lemon or mint water
- Lunch: salmon fillet + whole grain rice (1 cup) / baked sweet potato / buckwheat / quinoa / chicken breast (2 pieces) / lentils (1 cup) / soy stew (1 cup) + salad (1 cup) + olive oil (1 spoon) + broccoli / beet / cauliflower / zucchini / green beans
- Evening Snack: a serving of fruit / milk or unsweetened soy yoghurt + 7 almonds / unroasted walnuts + herbal tea + 4 squares of 70% cacao dark chocolate
- Dinner: egg / tofu (100 g) / cottage cheese (100 g) + salad (2 cups) / cooked vegetables +2 tablespoons of tahini + 2 slices of whole grain bread / whole grain rice or quinoa (1 cup)
- Night-time Snack: milk or soy yoghurt + a fruit / dried fruit / flax seeds (1 tablespoon) + herbal tea / lemon or mint water