The benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been known for some time, and nutritionists from all over the world recommend it to improve well-being and longevity. A recent US study has investigated the link between this diet and pregnancy, uncovering multiple benefits and a reduction of various complications that pregnant women may suffer from. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the research was conducted by a group of scholars from medical schools and hospitals in various cities and areas of the United States.
Adverse pregnancy outcomes
Many people, including pregnant women, consume unhealthy diets that are too high in fat, sugar, and processed foods. The researchers analyzed the influence of diet on the primary objective of reducing adverse pregnancy outcomes (Apo). Apo are the main factors associated with maternal morbidity and mortality, and scholars have highlighted the importance of prevention to preserve and extend healthy life among women. Such adverse outcomes are also associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.
Until now, however, few studies had analyzed dietary approaches in relation to adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as gestational hypertension, preeclampsia or eclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature birth and stillbirth. Investigating this relationship was considered essential to prevent these complications in order to protect women both during pregnancy and in their postpartum life. Compared to the Mediterranean diet, the researchers define it as “characterized by a high intake of plant-based foods, such as vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and monounsaturated fats, along with a low intake of saturated fats and processed meats.” The one used as a model of the study is the Alternative Mediterranean Diet (aMed), which includes foods characteristic of the Mediterranean model but adapted for the population of the United States.
The data was collected in a larger study of expectant mothers known as Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study: Monitoring Mothers-to-Be, which involved over 10,000 participants between 2010 and 2013. Of these, almost 7,800 women (the so-called study cohort), with different racial, ethnic and geographic profiles, completed the verification through self-completed questionnaires. The median age was about 27, with 9.7% being over the age of 35. To assess the cohort’s exposure to the Mediterranean diet, the researchers evaluated a score based on the relative intake of nine components: vegetables (excluding potatoes), fruits, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish, monounsaturated fat ratio and saturated, as well as processed meats (such as deli meats and sausages) and alcohol. Scores ranged from 0 to 9, with 9 being the best score, coinciding with an ideal diet.
The researchers found that the mean diet score was 4.3, indicating that there were no significant differences related to race, ethnicity or previous obesity status. This suggests that the benefits associated with this dietary pattern are “identical for women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, with and without obesity.” On the other hand, the registry office had the greatest influence, given that the best answers came from older women. According to the researchers, the group with the highest scores were 21 percent less likely to suffer from pregnancy complications for themselves or their offspring. Specifically, they found that those in the best-scoring group were 35 percent less likely to have preeclampsia or eclampsia than the lowest-scoring group. But above all there was 54% less probability of gestational diabetes, i.e. the increase in blood sugar levels that is observed for the first time in pregnancy, in the majority of cases in the second trimester. “Our results add to the growing body of evidence demonstrating that the Mediterranean diet model can play an important role in maintaining women’s health throughout their lives, including during pregnancy,” concluded the study.
Pregnant women often face a myriad of health risks during their pregnancy, including the risk of developing diabetes. Fortunately, new research suggests that following the Mediterranean diet could reduce this risk significantly.
The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern that focuses on consuming plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. It also includes moderate amounts of dairy, fish, and poultry, as well as limited amounts of red meat and sweets.
In a recent study, researchers examined the dietary habits of more than 3,000 pregnant women. They found that those who followed the Mediterranean diet had a significantly lower risk of developing gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.
The study also found that women who followed the Mediterranean diet had lower levels of fasting glucose, a marker of diabetes risk. The researchers concluded that the Mediterranean diet may be an effective way to reduce the risk of diabetes in pregnant women.
The findings of this study are especially promising, as gestational diabetes can lead to a number of complications during pregnancy. These include an increased risk of preterm delivery, macrosomia (a condition in which the baby is larger than average), and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
The Mediterranean diet is not only beneficial for pregnant women, but for everyone. It is a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. It also emphasizes the consumption of healthy fats, such as olive oil, which can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
In conclusion, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes in pregnant women. By following this dietary pattern, pregnant women can reduce their risk of developing gestational diabetes, as well as its associated complications. It is also a healthy and balanced diet that can be beneficial for everyone.