Eating healthy foods is one of the best forms of self-care around. Feeding your body wholesome and nourishing foods helps ward off obesity, certain diseases and chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. What’s more you just feel better when your body is well-nourished by the right foods.
There’s no more important time to adhere to a healthy diet than when you’re trying to conceive. In fact, some studies show what you eat in the period leading up to IVF, and during the IVF cycles, has a direct impact on the success of your treatment.
What the Experts Say
There are plenty of so-called fertility diets on social media. One example is the hype around eating pineapple during IVF treatment, especially on the day of your embryo transfer. While pineapple is quite delicious and refreshing and has proven anti-inflammatory properties there is no scientific evidence to support that this tropical treat improves implantation.
However, a recent peer-reviewed study from China concluded the embryo yield for those who followed a strict Mediterranean diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and good-for-you fats) was greater than those who did not fully follow the diet. A Dutch study also determined the Mediterranean diet improved IVF pregnancy outcomes. And in a Greek study the same proved true.
Discovering The Benefits of The Mediterranean Diet
Although referred to as a diet, the Mediterranean lifestyle is probably a more apt term. More than 70 years ago researchers began noticing these lifelong residents of the Mediterranean Sea Basin were free from many of the diseases so common in the wealthier western nations. Excellent cardiovascular health and absence of diabetes were a few of the conditions that caught the attention and promoted a study of the Mediterranean lifestyle.
Physical activity such as walking and swimming, relaxing way more than their American counterparts, socializing on a regular basis all help those in the Mediterranean region to live healthier lives. These activities unburden your mind and help manage stress. It is important to incorporate a little bit of those endeavors into your daily life, IVF or not. But, of course the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet is healthy food.
Today’s Mediterranean follows the style of eating popular in Spain, Italy, Turkey and countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Traditional foods from these countries are typically unprocessed, organic and seasonal. Common foods are:
- Fresh seasonal and local vegetables and fruit
- Whole grains
- Limited fish (with your doctor’s approval)
- Moderate poultry (1-2 servings per day)
- Moderate eggs (1-2 eggs per day)
- Legumes (peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas, for example)
- Healthy plant-based fats such as avocado, nuts, nut bitters, seeds and olive oil
Avoid processed foods (prepackaged meals, canned soups, etc.), excessive sugar (white and beige sugars) and too much flour. You will note the Mediterranean diet includes red meat, but not at excessive amounts or as processed meats as the US.
Everyone has individual needs. Those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and those with food sensitivities or allergies may substitute or avoid certain foods from the list. Certain hormonal conditions such as PCOS may also prevent you from enjoying some of the above foods.
Both you and your partner should follow the diet as closely as you can for your IVF success. Most physicians agree you and your partner also need certain supplements as well. A complete range of vitamins and minerals which support your reproductive system and prepare your body for pregnancy is very important to your overall health.
For More on What To Expect During Your IVF Journey
Going through IVF is fraught with many different emotions, concerns and questions. Let us help put your mind at ease as you begin your journey. Contact LA IVF today for the answers you need.