Mediterranean diet foods may boost success of fertility treatments

Mediterranean diet foods, such as avocados and olive oil may boost success of fertility treatments
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.

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

The Mediterranean Diet pyramid is very simple and focuses on the consumption of healthy unrefined, unprocessed foods.

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid History

The pyramid was developed by Oldways, Harvard School of Public Health and the European Office of the World Health Organization in 1993. This pyramid continues to be on of the best known visual guides to the Mediterranean diet and is considered the “gold standard” eating pattern that promotes lifelong good health.

The Mediterranean diet pyramid was created using the most current nutrition research to the represent a traditional healthy Mediterranean diet. The diet was based on the 1960 dietary traditions of Greece, Crete and southern Italy. During this time chronic disease was among the lowest in the world and adult life expectancy was among the highest even though medical services were limited.

The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid eating pattern

Dietary data from the Mediterranean region show that they have enjoyed the lowest recorded rates of chronic disease and highest adult life expectancy. This pattern is corroborated by more than 50 years of epidemiological and experimental nutrition research.  The frequency and amounts suggested are nonspecific as variation of the meal components was considerable. The following list contains more detail regarding the components of the Mediterranean diet.

They are: (in no particular order)

  • An abundance of vegetables
  • Minimally processed foods. Seasonly fresh foods are recommended over canned options.
  • Olive oil is the main source of fats.
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Fresh fruits as the daily dessert
  • Seafood
  • Grains
  • Red Wine – moderate consumption
  • Exercise- not a food but a big component of the Mediterranean lifestyle

For a more complete listing visit the Mediterranean Diet Food list. You may also want to read the Mediterranean Diet food glossary to get familiar with some new food terms.

The following chart will help you better understand the food components of the Mediterranean Diet and how they are consumed.

Eat Monthly: Red Meat

Eat Weekly: Sweets, Eggs, Potatoes, Olives, Legumes, Nuts, Poultry, Fish

Eat Daily: Dairy, Olive Oil (used in cooking), Fruit, Vegetables, Non-refined grains. (whole grain bread and pasta, brown rice, etc), Red Wine – In moderation.

Chopped Greek Salad with Chicken

  • 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken, (about 12 ounces; see Tip)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced ripe black olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Whisk vinegar, oil, dill (or oregano), garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and feta; toss to coat.

Seafood Couscous Paella

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of crumbled saffron threads
  • 1 cup no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces bay scallops, tough muscle removed
  • 4 ounces small shrimp, (41-50 per pound), peeled and de-veined
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat couscous
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add thyme, garlic,  salt, pepper, fennel seed,  and saffron; cook for 20 seconds.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium, stir in scallops and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes more. Stir in couscous. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff.


  • 16 oz of soaked and boiled chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 2 fluid ounces of the liquid from boiling the chickpeas
  • 3-5 tablespoons of natural lemon juice
  • 1 ½ -2 tablespoons of tahini
  •  2-3 crushed cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil

Soak about 3 ounces of chickpeas for a minimum of 12 hours. Boil them and set aside, keep the water. Combine the chickpeas with the rest of the ingredients in blender. Add about ¼ cup of water from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low speed until mixture is of a smooth consistency.

Place in a dish with a shallow well in the center.

Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of virgin olive oil in the center of the dish. Sprinkle some red pepper and garnish with parsley (optional).

Whole-Wheat Greek Pizza

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • Whole-wheat flour, for work surface
  • 1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated haloumi cheese
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub baking sheet with oil. Place tomatoes, garlic, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a food processor; season with salt and pepper. Pulse 3 to 4 times until ingredients are incorporated but chunky.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch dough until large enough to cover the surface of the baking sheet. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  3. Spread tomato sauce over dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Top with cheese and pine nuts; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake until crust is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Toss arugula with vinegar and 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle arugula and olives over pizza.

Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan Foods

When on the Mediterranean Diet one should consume at least one serving of fruit per day, one serving of vegetables at every meal. The vegetables should be of various colors. This will ensure that you are getting all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Consume nuts, legumes as a snack during the day. Eat only whole-grain pastas, cereals and breads. Do not purchase cereals w/ added sugar. Eat fish and poultry during the week and limit red meats to a few times a month. You can get a more detailed list of items here. Cooking with olive oil is a must.

Foods w/ restrictions while on a Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

Red Meats should be limited to a few times a month. Avoid sweets and other processed foods. Eggs (due to the high cholesterol content) should be limited to a max of four per week.

Sample Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan

Below is a sample Mediterranean diet meal plan. This should give you an idea of what types of meals you should consume. Keep in mind that these meal plans are suggestions and do not take into account your daily caloric needs.

Day 1

Breakfast: Whole-Grain Olive oil Toast, Yogurt and Blueberry Smoothie and Almonds

Lunch: Greek Salad Pita Sandwiches

Snack: Marinated Olives and Feta

Dinner: Red Snapper w/ Thyme

Day 2

Breakfast: Yogurt Pancakes

Lunch: Chickpea Salad

Snack: Crackers and Dip

Dinner: Chicken Kabobs

Day 3


6 oz. Greek yogurt topped with ½ cup strawberries and 1 tsp. honey 1 slice whole-grain toast with half mashed avocado

Lunch: Chopped Greek Salad w/ Chicken

Snack: 1/8 cup sliced almonds & 1/8 cup peanuts

Dinner: 3 oz. salmon topped with 1 tsp. tarragon and 1 tsp. mustard over ½ cup couscous, ½ cup zucchini, and 4 spears asparagus

 Day 4

Breakfast: Olive Oil Toast and Yogurt with Blueberries and Almonds

Snack: Mediterranean Bean Salad with Cheese and Kiwi

Lunch: Lemon Pepper Salmon with Lentil Rice and Spinach Salad

Dinner: Apple with Goat Cheese