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Mediterranean Diet May Improve Fertility

    What is the best diet to improve fertility? According to a new observational research study, the Mediterranean diet may include all the foods and nutrients the female body needs for optimal fertility. The study was completed by researchers at the University of Navarra in Spain.

    The connection between the Mediterranean diet and fertility is based on insulin response. According to researchers, the Western diet is full of simple sugars and processed foods. In order for the body to digest and utilize these foods, increased insulin is needed. When there is too much insulin, the other hormones in the body, including fertility and reproductive hormones, are not released properly. The Mediterranean Diet is packed with fruits, vegetables, healthy oils and whole grains. These foods help to control blood glucose or insulin response and thus fertility and reproductive hormones maintain a healthy balance.

    Researchers studied more than 500 women who reported having trouble getting pregnant. Another 1,600 women with at least one successful pregnancy ending in live birth were also included in the study as a control group. Researchers split the group into Western diet and Mediterranean diet categories. The women in the Western diet category showed no difference in fertility whether they followed a Western diet strictly or loosely. The Mediterranean diet group, however, showed a significant difference in fertility based on how closely women followed the diet.

    About 17% of women who followed the Mediterranean diet strictly reported problems getting pregnant. When women followed the diet loosely, that number jumped to 26%.
    Not all doctors are convinced the connection between the Mediterranean diet and fertility is sound. According to Dr. Jorge Chavarro, “we don't have enough data to show that this diet pattern can help you get pregnant as a result of fertility treatment.” However, despite this comment, Chavarro also believe, “The Mediterranean diet contains nutrients that help your body clear sugar from the bloodstream while using less insulin to do this job. This makes it easier for the body to keep the balance of reproductive hormones.”

    Source: Estefania Toledo M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Cristina Lopez-del Burgo M.D., Ph.D., Alvaro Ruiz-Zambrana M.D., Mikel Donazar M.D., Inigo Navarro-Blasco Ph.D., Miguel A. Martinez-Gonzalez M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Jokin de Irala M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. Fertility and Sterility. November, 2011.

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