Another Feather In The Cap: Mediterranean Diet Improves Sperm Quality And Fertility, Study Finds

The Mediterranean diet is the jack of all trades. It has been consistently ranked on the top as the best diet, is known to reduce the risk of heart disease and improves cognitive function, and, now, can boast of one more benefit -- fertility.

As per a study, published in the journal Nutrients, the Mediterranean diet improves not only fertility but assisted reproductive technology (ART) success, and sperm quality in men as well.

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Infertility affects 48 million couples and 186 million individuals across the globe, according to the authors of the study led by the University of South Australia. 

“Infertility creates a significant economic and social burden for couples who wish to conceive and has been associated with suboptimal lifestyle factors, including poor diet and physical inactivity,” the researchers wrote in the paper. 

The researchers posit the Mediterranean diet as an affordable, non-intrusive option for partners trying to conceive. 

“Research shows inflammation can affect fertility for both men and women, affecting sperm quality, menstrual cycles, and implantation. So, in this study we wanted to see how a diet that reduces inflammation – such as the Mediterranean diet – might improve fertility outcomes,” study co-author Dr. Evangeline Mantzioris said, according to Earth.com.

“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,” Mantzioris continued.

The Mediterranean diet focuses on plant-based foods and healthy fats. The diet generally included foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and beans with little to no meat. It also features moderate amounts of fish, cheese, and yogurt, with extra virgin olive oil being the main source of fat.

“The Mediterranean diet is consistently ranked among the healthiest diets in the world. But knowing that it may also boost your chances of conceiving and having a baby is extremely promising,” study co-author Simon Alesi of Monash University said, the outlet reported.

It “is a non-intrusive and affordable strategy,” Alesi said about the diet and added “more research needs to be done, but at the very least, shifting to a Mediterranean diet will not only improve your overall health but also your chances of conceiving.”

This year’s list of the Best Diets by the U.S. News & World Report is out, and the Mediterranean Diet has once again topped the chart for the sixth year in a row in the Best Diets Overall category. The Raw Food Diet took the last spot.

Another recent study found that a Mediterranean diet may lower the risks of complications during pregnancy.

"Taken together, our findings demonstrate that in U.S. women, adoption of a Mediterranean diet pattern may represent an important lifestyle approach for the prevention of APOs (adverse pregnancy outcomes), particularly in women with advanced maternal age among whom risk for APOs is elevated," the researchers wrote.

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