The IVF diet: Eating your way to better IVF success
IVF isn’t just expensive, it can also be physically and emotionally draining. Bearing this in mind, couples undergoing IVF typically try to do everything in their power to improve their chances of successfully conceiving via the process.
One huge factor that influences IVF? Your diet. Obviously, you should steer clear of processed foods, sugary foods, caffeine, and alcohol when you’re trying to conceive. But aside from that, do pay attention to the fertility-boosting foods that will improve your chances of conceiving via IVF.
The IVF diet: what diet works best for IVF?
According to experts and ob-gyns, the Mediterranean diet is the best diet for women who are preparing to undergo (or currently undergoing IVF).
If you’re not familiar with the Mediterranean diet, it’s basically a diet inspired by the eating habits of Greece, Southern Italy, and Spain in the 1940s and 1950s. Note that we’re not referring to the current eating habits of people in these countries.
In other words: if you visit Italy today, and see that all the locals are indulging in pizza, this doesn’t give you the license to eat as much pizza as you want!
What benefits do you get from following the Mediterranean diet?
There are several studies that show how the Mediterranean diet helps with weight loss and prevents conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and even type 2 diabetes. Here are a few examples:
- This study shows that a Mediterranean diet with added olive oil or added nuts reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular causes by up to 30%
- This study shows that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts may help to reverse the metabolic syndrome (ie: a collection of risk factors that increase the chance of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes)
- This study shows that a Mediterranean diet reduces oxidized LDL cholesterol levels
- This study shows that a Mediterranean diet might help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes
Fertility-wise, there are also many factors that make the Mediterranean diet the perfect IVF diet.
Firstly, because the Mediterranean diet is rich in anti-inflammatory fats, it helps to optimize the health of women’s eggs, which in turn increases their chances of getting pregnant. On top of that, the Mediterranean diet is also low GI, which helps to regulate insulin levels. With their insulin levels adequately balanced, women typically have an easier time ovulating and conceiving.
In fact, a 2018 study published in the journal of Human Reproduction shows that women who follow a Mediterranean diet for six months prior to IVF have a 65% to 68% higher chance of getting pregnant and giving birth. This study involved 244 women aged 22 to 41; all participants were living in Greece and undergoing their first round of IVF when the study was conducted.
The IVF diet: what to eat prior to undergoing IVF
Want to follow the IVF diet? Here’s a list of foods that you should consume more of before you undergo your IVF procedure:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains (oats, brown rice)
- Legumes (peas, chickpeas, lentils) and nuts
- Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (but make sure that these are low in mercury)