For women trying to get pregnant through IVF treatments, a new study finds that eating avocados and olive oil might boost their chances of success.
Dr. Jorge Chavarro and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health in the US looked at how intake of different types of fats affected success of IVF treatment in 147 women, mostly in their 30s.
Findings revealed that diets rich in foods typically eaten as part of the Mediterranean diet, including sunflower oil and nuts and seeds, tripled the chances of success for women having the fertility treatment.
In contrast, women who ate mostly saturated fat, found in dairy products and red meat, produced fewer good eggs for use in fertility treatment. High saturated fat intake has already been linked to lower sperm counts.
The study was presented on July 3 at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Istanbul.
"The best kinds of food to eat are avocados, which have a lot of monounsaturated fat and low levels of other sorts of fat, and olive oil," said Chavarro. He said the study was small and more research is needed before clinical advice can be given to women. "While these results are interesting, this is the first time to our knowledge that dietary fats have been linked to treatment outcome in IVF."
Another new study presented at the same conference found that women who reported drinking five or more cups of coffee a day at the start of IVF treatment reduced their chance of success by 50 percent. The Danish researchers described heavy coffee drinking as being "comparable to the detrimental effect of smoking."