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Mediterranean Diet May Boost Chances of Conception

| 7, November 2011


Mediterranean Diet May Boost Chances of Conception

According to a study out of Spain published in the November 2011 edition of the journal, Fertility and Sterility women who follow a Mediterranean rather than Western diet have fewer fertility problems.

The study looked at a total of 485 women ages 20 to 45 who reported fertility problems and 1669 women of the same age who had at least one child. The study grouped the women into either those who eat a Western or Mediterranean diet and compared the reports of fertility.

Those who ate a Mediterranean diet were found to have less problems getting pregnant while those who more closely followed a Western diet showed no such benefit. O those who least closely followed the Mediterranean diet 26 percent had difficulties conceiving.

The Mediterranean diet is associated with eating plenty of fish, whole grains and fruits and vegetables. The Western diet however is full of fast food, red meat, potatoes and refined grains.

While this study was based on observations only and not an experiment, the results have researchers considering the effects of insulin on ovulation. The reason for this is that the Mediterranean diet seems to offer protection from obesity, heart disease and diabetes. It's believed that insulin levels can influence ovulation. A healthy diet keeps sugar from interfering with fertility processes.

Men who are overweight and trying to conceive may want to consider following a more healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet as well as other studies have linked obesity with lower sperm counts.

While conclusive evidence is not yet available to determine the direct correlation between a diet such as the Mediterranean diet and fertility, it is recommended that all women trying to conceive or even considering becoming pregnant in the future keep their weight at a healthy level and follow a well balanced diet full of vegetables and fruits and whole grains.

The Mediterranean diet should not be confused with any fad diet where a particular food or eating practice is taken to an extreme. The Mediterranean diet is full of healthy low fat foods that are nutrient rich.

The Mayo Clinic breaks down the Mediterranean diet as :

- Replacing butter with olive oil and canola oil.
- Eating fish and poultry a couple times a week at least.
- Red meat is only eaten a few times a month.
- Rely on herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods.
- Eat primarily plant based foods such as fruits and veggies, legumes and nuts.
- Eat nuts often but limit the amount to a handful a day.
- Consume low fat dairy products.
- Red wine in moderation is part of the Mediterranean diet but if a women is actively trying to get pregnant, this is one aspect of the diet she should probably forgo temporarily. Alcohol is associated with birth defects, mental retardation and other problems in infants exposed to it during pregnancy.

As with any diet, exercise is a key component in a healthy lifestyle and the Mediterranean diet is also associated with staying active.

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