Jan. 10, 2023 -- Can the Mediterranean diet – long popular for its overall wellbeing benefits – also increase fertility?

It’s possible, according to a review of research at Monash University, the University of the Sunshine Coast, and the University of South Australia (UniSA).

The Mediterranean diet promotes eating foods such as whole grains, fish, extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, and nuts, while limiting red and processed meats. Studies have said it lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, improves mortality, and helps bring other health benefits.

The new results say that the diet’s anti-inflammatory properties increase conception chances by boosting fertility in men and women.

“Adherence to an anti-inflammatory dietary pattern is generally associated with improved female (menstrual cyclicity, endometriosis-related measures, embryo quality, and live birth) and male (sperm quality) fertility-related outcomes, which are thought to occur through mediation of anti-inflammatory pathways,” says the survey, published in MDPI.

Evangeline Mantzioris, researcher at UniSA, told Men’s Health, “We wanted to see how a diet that reduces inflammation – such as the Mediterranean diet – might improve fertility outcomes.

“Encouragingly, we found consistent evidence that by adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet – one that includes lots of polyunsaturated or 'healthy' fats, flavonoids (such as leafy green vegetables), and a limited amount of red and processed meat – we can improve fertility.”

Typical American diets include saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, and animal proteins, Men’s Health says, while lacking fiber, vitamins, and minerals – all associated with higher levels of inflammation.

Show Sources

Men’s Health: “Mediterranean Diet Helps Boost Fertility by Improving Men's Sperm Quality, Study Says”

MDPI: “Anti-Inflammatory Diets in Fertility: An Evidence Review”

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