Mediterranean Diet Increases Fertility
A recent study from Spain reveals that women who eat a Mediterranean diet are less likely to have problems getting pregnant. This further increases the list of health benefits of the so-called Mediterranean diet which is in addition to increased fertility also linked to lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. The Spanish researchers were monitoring 500 women who had problems getting pregnant and 1600 women from the same age group who gave childbirth at least once. All women were asked to answer a questionnaire according to which the researchers measured how strictly they followed a Mediterranean and Western-style diet which brought them to conclusion that the Mediterranean diet increases fertility.
According to the Spanish researchers, red meat, refined grains, fast food, sweetened soft drinks and whole-fat dairy products that make up a Western-style diet do not have any effect on fertility. The researchers found that the rate of fertility problems is about the same in women who ate this diet no matter how strictly they followed it. However, this was not the case when they compared the questionnaires of women ate the Mediterranean diet. About 17 percent of women who strictly followed this type of diet reported to have difficulties getting pregnant, while the rate increased to 26 percent in women who followed it less strictly. This brought the researchers to conclusion that a diet which consists of lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish increases fertility.
The effects of Mediterranean diet on fertility is not exactly understood. Some experts believe that it works by preventing insulin resistance which is not only linked to type 2 diabetes but it is also believed to interfere with ovulation. The thing is that insulin (a hormone that is produced by the pancreas) does not only help the body absorb sugar from the bloodstream but it has also been shown to have a major influence on hormones which play the key role in ovulation which in turn is crucial for conception. By preventing insulin resistance, the Mediterranean diet also helps establish a balance between the hormones which trigger a release of an egg from the ovary.
Some experts warn that the Spanish study that links the Mediterranean diet with increased fertility was based on observation and not clinical tests. They emphasize that it does not offer evidence strong enough to be able to claim that it directly increases fertility because the Spanish researchers did not take into account other factors which could have an influence on fertility problems as well. The results of the mentioned Spanish study also do not offer enough evidence to justify the use of this type of diet as a natural fertility treatment. However, a Dutch study conducted about a year ago has shown that women who underwent a fertility treatment and ate the Mediterranean diet were as much as 40 percent more likely to get pregnant than women who ate other types of diet. But this study was observational too and focused on dietary patterns alone. Nevertheless, just about all health experts agree that eating the Mediterranean diet most certainly cannot hurt if you are thinking about getting pregnant.
I am a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. I have written two successful books, hundreds of medical articles for trade publications, a consumer magazine, a legal publication and a private foundation. I am honored to serve as a peer reviewer for Baby Lifetime. Check me out at Google