Following a Mediterranean diet “boosts your chances of conceiving”, latest research has revealed.

Academics from Monash University, Australia, have found that a high intake of fruits, vegetables and legumes improves fertility outcomes.

In addition, a Mediterrian diet – which is mainly made up of plant-based foods – also improves sperm quality and assisted reproductive technology, the study has reported.

According to the findings, the anti-inflammatory properties of a Mediterranean diet will make it easier for a couple to conceive a child.

Approximately 186 million people around the world experience fertility complications, the research has identified.

First author Dr Evangeline Mantzioris said: “Deciding to have a baby is one of life’s biggest decisions, but if things don’t go as planned, it can be very stressful for both partners.

“Research shows inflammation can affect fertility for both men and women, affecting sperm quality, menstrual cycles, and implantation. So, in this study we wanted to see how a diet that reduces inflammation – such as the Mediterranean diet – might improve fertility outcomes.”

She added: “Encouragingly, we found consistent evidence that by adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet – one that includes lots of polyunsaturated or ‘healthy’ fats, flavonoids (such as leafy green vegetables), and a limited amount of red and processed meat – we can improve fertility.”

Foods commonly included in a Mediterranean diet include herbs, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, extra virgin olive oil, whole grains and spices.

Yoghurt, cheese, eggs, fish, chicken and red meat are also eaten in a Mediterranean diet, but only in small amounts, according to the study.

A western diet typically includes animal proteins, excessive saturated fats and refined carbohydrates, the scientists have said.

Co-author Simon Alesi said: “The Mediterranean diet is consistently ranked among the healthiest diets in the world. But knowing that it may also boost your chances of conceiving and having a baby is extremely promising.

“Modifying your diet is a non-intrusive and affordable strategy that could potentially improve infertility.”

He concluded: “Of course, more research needs to be done, but at the very least, shifting to Mediterranean diet will not only improve your overall health, but also your chances of conceiving.”

The study has been published in the journal Nutrients.

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