Those in a trial who ate more fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, fish and olive oil while undergoing the treatment had an almost 70 per cent better chance of conceiving than women eating less healthily.
Researchers asked 244 women how often they ate certain groups of food in the preceding six months before they were given a MedDiet Score, which ranged from 0-55, with higher scores indicating greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet.
They divided the women into three groups depending on their MedDiet Score. The first group had scores between 18 to 30, the second scored between 31 and 35 and the third group scored between 36 to 47. They found that compared to the 86 women in the highest scoring group, the 79 women in the lowest scoring group had significantly lower rates of pregnancies – 29 per cent versus 50 per cent – and live births – 26.6 per cent versus 48.8 per cent. When the researchers looked at women younger than 35, they found that every five-point improvement in the MedDiet Score was linked with an approximately 2.7 times higher likelihood of achieving a successful pregnancy and live birth. “Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of dietary influences and diet quality on fertility, and support a favourable role for the Mediterranean diet on assisted reproduction performance,” said Professor Nikos Yiannakouris, who led the study at the University of Athens. The research is published in the journal Human Reproduction.