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The Mediterranean Diet To Improve Fertility

By Expert HERWriter
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Infertility / Fertility related image Photo: Getty Images

Having trouble getting pregnant? Infertility is defined as a woman less than 35 years of age who has been regularly trying without contraception for twelve months. For women 35 years and old, it’s defined as trying for six months.

Unfortunately, there are a variety of factors that go into a successful pregnancy and birth that leave millions of women without answers. Researchers in the September 2011 Fertility and Sterility found those women who ate a more Mediterranean-like diet had more success than those who did not because of the insulin and glucose balance.

The Mediterranean diet consists of healthy oils, lean meats, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, whole grains and limited dairy products. Researchers believe this diet works so well because it helps the body better modulate its glucose and insulin output to avoid insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance occurs when the cells in your body are trying to pull glucose (sugar) out of the blood stream to be used as energy, however the insulin receptors on those cells aren’t working properly. Eventually this leads to a buildup of both insulin and glucose.

This condition can lead to diabetes and heart disease but can also directly impact fertility as it interferes with ovulation. Most women are familiar with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) that usually involves a lot of glucose, insulin, and ovulation problems. However some women don’t have PCOS and are still insulin-resistant, which can lead to fertility issues.

If you are trying to become pregnant, adopt a purely Mediterranean diet and see how you feel. Eliminate sugar except for low-glycemic fruits such as berries, cherries, pears or apples.

Stick to high fiber, whole grain bread such as oats, quinoa, millet, and brown rice. Choose lean meats for protein and eat vegetables at every meal with some healthy fats like unsalted almonds or walnuts, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, olives, or avocado.

Remember to stay hydrated and drink enough water throughout the day while avoiding soda, juice (even 100% juice), and coffee drinks full of sugar, whip, cream, caramel or other flavorings. The Mediterranean diet does allow some alcohol, typically in the form of wine, however you are trying to become pregnant ... best to avoid it for now!


1. Mediterranean Diet and Metabolic Syndrome. Web. 26 October, 2011

2. When Should an Insulin Sensitizing Agent Be Used in the Treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome? Web. 26 October 2011.

3. Mediterranean diet tied to better fertility. Web. 26 October 2011.

Reviewed October 26, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

While I agree with the message that the Mediterranean diet is healthy, I must say that this article is terribly written. It seems like it was cranked out in 5 minutes, using superficial and fluffy information. NOT a good read.

October 28, 2011 - 8:35am
EmpowHER Guest

I used to think that buying bigger was better, Meal planning is key, so look for the items you’d need to create healthy meals, Plan your meals based on what’s on sale and see if you can find samples from "Get Official Samples" that is even better

October 26, 2011 - 11:46pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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