Fertility & The Mediterranean Diet

If you are planning a family there are a number of key factors that influence your success – good progesterone levels are essential, but so too is your diet.


Although the majority of my readers have peri/menopause concerns, there are also a substantial number who are worried about their possible fertility and how they can maximise their chances of success.

Progesterone is a key element in this as it is the essential hormone needed for fertility, conception and reducing the risk for miscarriage.

However, what is not often realised is that your diet can also play a crucial part in helping with fertility issues, in particular by improving sperm quality, menstrual cycles and implantation. Good nutrition can also help by protecting against conditions linked to inflammation, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

The effect of diet on fertility 

The study, by Dr Evangeline Mantzioris of the University of South Australia,  reviewed research on how diet can affect conception. The findings were published in the journal Nutrients.

She said: ‘Encouragingly, we found consistent evidence that by adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet – one that includes lots of polyunsaturated or “healthy” fats, flavonoids (found in leafy green vegetables), and a limited amount of red and processed meat – we can improve fertility.’  Their research shows it may help overcome infertility, making it a simple strategy for couples trying to conceive.

The Mediterranean diet is primarily plant-based and includes whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts, herbs and spices. Dairy products and lean protein sources such as chicken or eggs are eaten in only small amounts.

Experts believe antioxidants in fruit and vegetables improve the quality of a woman’s eggs and also protect the womb. It is clear that shifting to a Mediterranean diet will not only improve your overall health, sperm quality and also your chances of conceiving will benefit too.

Progesterone’s key role in fertility

The first step is to ensure that a woman is ovulating every month and that her progesterone levels are strong enough to go through the initial conception process and establish a viable foetus.

Normally a woman’s own body will take over the production of the large amounts of progesterone needed – between 300-400mgs per day.

However if there is any history of difficulty in conceiving or miscarriage then it can be very helpful to supplement before and during the pregnancy with bioidentical natural progesterone cream to ensure that good base levels are available to the body.

When pregnant, doctors may suggest additional progesterone for the first trimester in these circumstances but, for those with a history of miscarriage, doctors experienced in natural hormone usage suggest that it continue to be used up until weeks 36-38 when the own body’s progesterone levels will be well established.

If you would like to know more about improving fertility, you will find this article helpful.