Women who cut back on their saturated fat intake may have a better chance of having a baby via IVF, suggest researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.

According to a reported presented at the annual meeting of ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology), monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil-based Mediterranean diets, could increase the chance of an individual’s chance of success while undergoing the fertility treatment.

mediterranean diet improves ivf

Saturated fats, which can be found in red meats and butter, have long been associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

However Professor Chavarro, assistant professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, said in a statement that this is the first time dietary fats have been linked to treatment outcome in IVF.

The Daily Mail reported that those who ate the highest amounts were 3.4 times more likely to have a child after IVF than those who ate the lowest amounts.

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  • Natural Ways To Boost Your Fertility

  • Avoid White Bread, Pasta & Rice

    Although there is no direct link between refined carbohydrates and infertility, the refining process strips grains of some of the most important fertility-boosting nutrients, such as antioxidants, B vitamins and iron.

  • Go Organic

    Modern methods of food production, involving intensive farming, rob the soil of vital nutrients, so where possible stick to organic produce. Processed foods are packed with additives and preservatives that can upset blood sugar levels and disrupt the body's hormonal balance.

  • Cut Down On Red Meat

    Too much red meat increases the amount of ammonia in the body, which can interfere with the implantation of the egg in the uterus. Red meat can also be detrimental for men as it increases acidity and affects sperm activity; sperm perform better in alkaline conditions.

  • Switch To Soya Milk

    The animal hormones in dairy products can affect your own hormonal balance. If you balk at the richness of soya milk and can't bear to give up your semi-skimmed, switch to organic dairy products instead as these contain lower levels of hormones.

  • Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

    Giving up alcohol is not strictly necessary until you fall pregnant but it might be worth bearing in mind that Danish research, studying the link between alcohol consumption and fertility, found that <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12848646" target="_hplink">alcohol intake had a significant effect on infertility success</a> among women above the age of 30 who drank seven or more drinks a week.

  • Curb Caffeine

    While you don't need to give up your morning coffee, caffeine does constrict the blood vessels, slowing blood flow to the uterus and potentially making it harder for an egg to grab hold. So, if you're having any trouble conceiving, or undergoing IVF treatment, you might want to go easy on the double espressos.

  • Get Your Five-A-Day

    Aside from being packed with vitamins and minerals, fruit and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that attack free-radicals (harmful molecules that can damage the ova, sperm and reproductive organs).

  • Fertility-Friendly Vitamins

    Zinc helps to maintain a healthy menstrual cycle as well as being vital during pregnancy to aid cell division in a developing foetus. Folic acid (Vitamin B6), together with zinc, is essential in the function of female sex hormones. Vitamin B12 is also very important as it maximises the absorption of folic acid. Taking a multi-vitamin tablet designed especially for conception is a good way to ensure you're getting enough of these valuable nutrients. Marmite is also a great source!

Dietary fat intake has been previously studied for its effect on reproductive health, the researchers said in a statement.

For example, a high intake of trans-fats (commonly found in deep-fried food) has been associated with ovulatory infertility (as in polycystic ovary syndrome) and miscarriage, while saturated fats have been related to lower sperm concentrations.

In this study, statistical analysis found that women with higher intakes of total fat had fewer 'metaphase II oocytes'.

This association was driven by intake of saturated fat, said Professor Chavarro.

"Only metaphase II oocytes can be used for IVF," he added.

"Thus, having fewer mature oocytes can mean fewer embryos to choose from for fresh transfer or future transfer following cryopreservation, particularly among women who respond poorly to ovarian stimulation."

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  • Foods Of The Mediterranean

  • Tomato

    Tomatoes provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene; a very good amount of the mineral manganese; and a good amount of vitamin E. They're also a rich source of antioxidants.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Extra virgin olive oil is packed full of polyphenols, which have been shown to function both as antioxidants and also as anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body.

  • Peppers

    All peppers are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, but red peppers are simply bursting with them. Antioxidant vitamins A and C help to prevent cell damage, cancer, and diseases related to aging, and they support immune function. They also reduce inflammation like that found in arthritis and asthma. Vitamin K promotes proper blood clotting, strengthens bones, and helps protect cells from oxidative damage.

  • Feta Cheese

    Feta cheese is much lower in fat than ordinary cheeses and contain more protein, but less salt. Adding protein rich feta to salads and wraps will boost your protein intake while adding a rich, tangy flavor without adding many calories.

  • Olives

    Olives are technically classified as fruits of the Olea europea tree, but many commonly think about olives not as fruit but as a zesty vegetable that can be added are harvested in September but available year round to make a zesty addition to salads, meat and poultry dishes and, of course, pizza.

  • Couscous

    Couscous is a grain food that is comparable to pasta or rice. It is made of semolina wheat that is moistened and then formed into tiny grain shapes. Couscous contains twice the content of niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and folic acid compared to pasta. It also contains more thiamine and pantothenic acid.

  • Pulses

    Pulses are low fat, high fibre, no cholesterol, low glycemic index, high protein, high nutrient foods. They are excellent foods for people managing their diabetes, heart disease or coeliac disease. Pulses are also good for people who want to eat healthy food to help reduce their risk of heart disease or diabetes. Additionally, pulses can help people concerned with weight control.