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Mediterranean Diet May Increase IVF Success Rates, Study Suggests

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It seems like we're constantly hearing new reasons to try the Mediterranean diet, but the latest research might be especially encouraging for women receiving IVF to give the diet a go. A new study found that women who follow the Mediterranean diet in the six months before undergoing the reproductive treatment have a better chance of having a successful pregnancy than women who do not.

For those unfamiliar with the Mediterranean diet, it emphasizes the importance of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, fish, and olive oil, and encourages participants to eat less red meat. The study, published in Human Reproduction, analyzed the diets of 244 women when they enrolled for an IVF treatment — and how well their diets lined up to the Mediterranean diet. They found that the women with the highest adherence to the diet had a 65 to 68 percent greater likelihood of achieving a successful pregnancy and birth, when compared to women with the lowest adherence.

"The important message from our study is that women attempting fertility should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, because greater adherence to this healthy dietary pattern may help increase the chances of successful pregnancy and delivering a live baby," said lead researcher Nikos Yiannakouris, PhD.

The researchers cautioned that these findings should not be generalized to all women trying to conceive, nor to all women visiting infertility clinics. Since none of the women in the study were obese, the findings should also not be generalized to them. More research is needed to explore and confirm the results among other populations. However, this first study sounds like a promising start.

"As more couples worldwide face infertility problems and seek access to assisted reproduction technologies to conceive, it is essential for them to receive counseling on the importance of dietary influences and of adopting a healthy lifestyle," said Dr. Yiannakouris.

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h/t Eureka Alert

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