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An anti-inflammatory diet may improve female fertility

If women consume few sugars and bad fats, but a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, magnesium and selenium, their chance of fertility increases. This is the outcome of epidemiological research published in Nutrition Journal.

An anti-inflammatory diet may improve female fertility

Jalal Moludi, an epidemiologist at Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences in Iran, analyzed data from 4,437 women aged 20-50 collected in the Ravansar non-communicable diseases (RaNCD) cohort study. 411 of these women were infertile.

Moludi used questionnaires to gain an idea of ​​the women's diet. He determined, among other things, the dietary inflammatory index of the diet. You can read more about the dietary inflammatory index here and here.

A diet with a high inflammatory index provides a lot of sugars, bad fats and other factors that fuel inflammation. A diet with a low inflammatory index, on the other hand, provides relatively many foods such as onions, garlic, coffee and tea, lots of dietary fiber, many omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and D and magnesium, selenium and zinc. These foods and nutrients inhibit inflammation.

Based on their scores, Moludi divided the women into 4 equal groups [quartiles].

Women with an inflammatory diet with the highest DII scores were 86 percent more likely to have infertility than women with the lowest scores.

After the researchers used statistical tricks to smooth out the effect of factors such as age, weight, education, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption, women with high scores were still 76 percent more likely to be infertile.

An anti-inflammatory diet may improve female fertility

"These novel findings from the cohort study provide evidence that a more pro-inflammatory diet as indexed by the DII score increased the odds of infertility", the Iranians summarize. "Our findings showed that a diet rich in vegetable fibers and omega-3 fatty acids and low in unhealthy dietary factors such as high simple sugars and saturated fats can be considered an appropriate approach for reducing the risk of infertility."

"However, more investigations are necessary to validate the kinds of conclusions that can be drawn from this study."

That last sentence is not unimportant. Epidemiological research finds associations, but the nature of those associations is never fully clear. This is especially true for cohort studies, such as this study.

Nutr J. 2023 Jul 22;22(1):35.

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