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Mediterranean diet linked to higher fertility

Women hoping to get pregnant might want to consider switching to a Mediterranean-style diet, Spanish researchers stated last week.



In new findings, researchers discovered that in a study of nearly 500 women, those who ate a diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains enjoyed increased fertility. About 17 percent of those who rigorously stuck to the Mediterranean diet reported problems becoming pregnant, while 26 percent of the women who loosely followed the diet said they had fertility problems.

The study also examined women who ate diets that included greater amounts of red meat, fast food, whole-fat dairy products, potatoes, refined grains and sugar-sweetened soda, but found no connection between this diet and increased or decreased fertility.

The study, published in the November edition of the journal Fertility and Sterility, adds to a growing body of evidence linking the Mediterranean diet to a slew of health benefits, including a longer life and lower risks of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

While more research needs to be done before clinical recommendations can be made to women trying to become pregnant, experts say that switching to a Mediterranean diet certainly won't hurt. To do so, US-based Mayo Clinic recommends the following guidelines:

1. Get plenty of exercise
2. Eat primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts
3. Replace butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
4. Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
5. Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month
6. Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week
7. Drink red wine in moderation (optional)

For men interested in boosting fertility, a recent study found that men who consume antioxidant-rich foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and mangos have healthier sperm, which can help their baby-making abilities, according to researchers from the University of Western Australia.

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