Women who follow a Mediterranean-style diet and keep a check on their weight increase their chances of getting pregnant sooner, Loyola University Health System researchers found.
Infertility problems are not uncommon in the United States. Therefore, Loyola University Health System researchers conducted a study to provide useful eating tips to boost fertility. During the study, researchers found that women who follow a Mediterranean-style diet high in vegetables, vegetable oils, fish and beans may increase their chance of becoming pregnant.
"Establishing a healthy eating pattern and weight is a good first step for women who are looking to conceive," said Brooke Schantz, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, LUHS. "Not only will a healthy diet and lifestyle potentially help with fertility, but it also may influence fetal well-being and reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy."
Researchers of the study also note that approximately 30 percent of infertility cases are caused due to weight problems where a woman is either overweight or underweight. These extreme weight conditions lead to a shift in hormones that affect ovulation. Reducing or increasing weight by even 5 percent can also increase a woman's chances of getting pregnant.
Some eating recommendations made by Schantz include:
- Reduce the amount of trans and saturated fats consumed and opt for more food items rich in monounsaturated fats, such as avocados and olive oil
- Increase the intake of vegetable proteins and reduce animal proteins in the diet
- Include a lot of whole grains, vegetables and fruits in the diet
- Incorporate more vegetarian sources of iron such as legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds and whole grains
- Consume high-fat dairy instead of low-fat dairy
- Take a regular women's multivitamin
Men account for approximately 40 percent of fertility issues, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. This includes low sperm count and poor sperm motility, which are common in overweight and obese men.
"Men who are looking to have a baby also have a responsibility to maintain a healthy body weight and consume a balanced diet, because male obesity may affect fertility by altering testosterone and other hormone levels," Schantz said.