MEDITERRANEAN LIFESTYLE AND IMPROVED FERTILITY: IS THERE A LINK?

While it’s been studied extensively for chronic conditions, the Mediterranean lifestyle also holds promising health benefits for those who are trying to conceive. Here’s what you need to know.


BY: KENDRA TOLBERT, MS, RDN, CDN, CLC

The amazing health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are well-known.  From heart health to diabetes, the Mediterranean lifestyle has shown to be beneficial. The simple focus on a deliciously balanced eating pattern, fun functional movement, and the social habits of the traditional Mediterranean way of life is an incredibly effective and enjoyable way to support your health.

The eating pattern is all about:

  • Plant-based meals full of fruit, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, herbs, and spices.
  • Ample amounts of fat from olive oil, seafood, nuts, and seeds.
  • Eating small amounts of red meat and refined sweets.

The other equally important parts of the lifestyle include:

  • Weaving enjoyable movement into your day.
  • Spending time with people you like and love.
  • Participating in activities that light you up.

It’s pretty clear why the Mediterranean lifestyle is associated with improved health, but did you know that there’s a connection between the Mediterranean diet and fertility?

In a 2011 study, researchers found that women who followed a Mediterranean diet before trying to get pregnant experienced a positive effect on their fertility. Women who closely followed a Mediterranean diet were less likely to experience difficulty getting pregnant compared to women who did not follow a Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet also seems to positively affect in vitro fertilization success. In 2010, researchers interviewed 161 couples receiving IVF treatment. The couples who followed a Mediterranean diet were 40% more likely to conceive.

If this convinces you to start incorporating elements of the Mediterranean lifestyle into your life, know that this is something you can easily do without flying off to a distant locale. All the makings of this fertility and health-promoting lifestyle can easily be found right in your neck of the woods.

Here are 10 simple ways you can add a bit more of the Mediterranean approach to food, fun, and family into your life.

  1. Opt for olive oil for homemade salad dressing, as a great alternative to butter for bread, and for low-heat cooking methods.
  2. Enjoy at least one meal each day with some of your favorite people.
  3. Make community a priority. Reach out to those you love and let them know you’re thinking about them.
  4. Aim to fill at least half your plate with veggies at most of your meals.
  5. Eat low mercury, wild caught fish if seafood is something you enjoy.
  6. Kick up the flavors in your food (and major health benefits) with plenty of herbs and spices.
  7. Incorporate regular movement into your day. You can go for a walk at lunch with a coworker, take a stretch break every hour at work, or groove to your favorite music while you do chores.
  8. Treat red meat more like a seasoning or garnish, and less like the main attraction in your meals.
  9. Mindfully enjoy the sensuality of food. Savor the aroma, taste, feel, appearance, and even the sound of our meals.
  10. Nosh on desserts featuring fruits and nuts.

Now that you have the facts, consider adopting a Mediterranean lifestyle for improved health, enhanced fertility, and a thriving pregnancy.

After all, good health is one of the cornerstones of optimal fertility.

Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: LOUIS HANSEL

Kendra Tolbert MS, RDN, RYT is a registered dietitian and yoga teacher specializing in PCOS and fertility wellness. She helps women balance their hormones with simple and effective lifestyle changes, without deprivation. Visit Live Fertile for more information about nutrition and yoga for women’s health.

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