The IVF Diet Decoded in 5 Steps
In the world of fertility assistance, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has been a beacon of hope for women striving for healthy pregnancies. Alongside this life-changing technology, a dietary approach known as the Mediterranean diet often referred to as the ‘IVF Diet,’ has emerged as a powerful adjunct.
Backed by decades of research, this blog post delves into the key components of the IVF diet while aligning advice with the latest evidence and research. These guidelines are the first steps of a holistic journey toward nurturing your well-being and enhancing your chances of a successful IVF outcome.
1. Embrace the Mediterranean Eating Pattern
The Mediterranean diet, a culinary tradition cherished by coastal European communities, encompasses a profusion of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and fresh herbs. Notably, this diet minimises the consumption of processed foods, meat, and dairy.
A study from Spain, and others, have shown that women who wholeheartedly embrace this eating pattern experience improved fertility outcomes. Their adherence to the Mediterranean diet is linked to increased fertility and more successful IVF cycles.
Likewise, a separate study revealed that women experiencing unexplained infertility undergoing IVF treatment witnessed a remarkable 65% surge in the likelihood of sustaining their pregnancy after six months of dedicated counselling, intertwined with a consistent commitment to the Mediterranean diet.
2. Switch to Whole Grains
Whole grains offer a treasure trove of B vitamins, iron, zinc, vitamin E, fibre, and antioxidants with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Research has illuminated a positive correlation between higher preconception whole grain intake and an elevated probability of live birth. Aim to include 4-6 servings of whole grains in your daily regimen. Consider introducing nutrient-rich options like oats, amaranth, pearl barley, buckwheat, rye, quinoa, and brown rice into your meals.
3. Nourish with Omega-3: Incorporate Fish Twice Weekly
The virtues of omega-3, known for its antioxidative properties, extend to fertility enhancement. Scientific consensus underscores the positive influence of omega-3 on egg quality and reproductive function, particularly as maternal age advances. With its anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3 plays a pivotal role in implantation.
Oily fish such as blue mackerel, Atlantic salmon and herring are the best source of omega-3.
The Australian Food Standards recommend that women trying to conceive and during pregnancy can safely consume 2-3 servings per week of any fish (one serve equals 150 grams), except the following:
- One serving per week of orange roughly (deep sea perch) or catfish and no other fish that week
- One serving per fortnight of shark (flake) or billfish (swordfish/broadbill or marlin), and no other fish that fortnight.
4. Banish Harmful Fats: Minimise Saturated and Trans Fats
Amid the intricacies of fertility, saturated and trans fats loom as obstructive forces, dimming the prospects of reproductive success. These fats evoke an inflammatory response that negatively affects fertility.
In women, high levels of saturated fats negatively impact several stages in the reproductive process, including egg development and quality, egg fertilisation, and embryo implantation success. By shunning deep-fried foods and trans-fat-laden treats, you are encouraging a fertile environment for conception.
5. Opt for Plant Protein: Amplify Fertility
Research illustrates a link between meat consumption (both red and white) and ovulation disruption – and it doesn’t just affect women. Consumption of these foods has been associated with impaired sperm parameters, low sperm count and increased testicular oxidative stress levels. Red and processed meats are also generally high in saturated fat.
On the other hand, plant-based proteins appear to decrease anovulation risk, increasing the chances of successful IVF outcomes. Explore different avenues for nourishment by infusing your diet with lentils, chickpeas, edamame, nuts, seeds, tofu, and beans. Challenge yourself to go meat-free at least once a week!
The Bottom Line
- Embrace the Mediterranean or ‘IVF diet’, focusing on plant-based foods for better fertility outcomes during IVF treatments.
- Whole grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice boost fertility, with studies showing they elevate live birth rates.
- Opt for unsaturated fats over saturated and trans fats to enhance fertility; Omega-3s especially support egg quality.
Need More Help?
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