Pregnancy: the Mediterranean diet is also good for the health of future babies

When we are expecting a child, we have every interest in paying attention to his diet. Consuming a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, dairy products and olive oil during pregnancy would significantly reduce the cardiometabolic risk in the unborn child.

We can not stop praising the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Traditionally followed by the inhabitants of Greece, Crete or Italy, this diet rich in vegetables, olive oil, whole grains and fermented dairy products such as yoghurt has been the subject of many studies that have all emphasized its benefits to our health.

Excellent for heart and cardiovascular health, it is also recommended to keep the line, delay brain aging or even maintain the gut microbiota.

But so far, few studies have examined the virtues of the Mediterranean diet on children's health. It is now done with these new works of Spanish researchers published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The aim of these studies is to evaluate whether the Mediterranean diet monitored during pregnancy influences growth and cardiometabolic risk in newborns.

Smaller babies and reduced cardiometabolic risk

To study the impact of the mother's Mediterranean diet on the health of her future child, researchers followed more than 2,700 Spanish women residing in Asturias, Guipúzcoa, Sabadell and Valencia. All completed a questionnaire about their diet during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. In addition, the weight and height of their child was followed from birth until the age of 4 years. Other tests such as blood tests and blood pressure were also performed when the children were 4 years old.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that the Mediterranean diet had positive consequences for the development of newborns. Pregnant women who took this diet were 32% less likely to have overweight children at birth than those who did not.

Sílvia Fernández, a researcher at ISGlobal and the first author of the study, points out that "mothers who were less respectful of the Mediterranean diet were younger, consumed more calories and had a higher probability of smoking and education and social status. "lower", compared to women who followed the Mediterranean diet.

"These results support the hypothesis that a healthy diet during pregnancy can have a beneficial effect on a child's development," concludes study coordinator Dora Romaguera, researcher at ISGlobal and CIBEROBN (Centro of Investigación Biomedica in Red de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición).

For the researcher, these results tend to show "possible epigenetic modifications regulating caridiometabolism of the fetus or dietary patterns shared between mothers and children". But this "deserves further investigation," she admits.

However, the study did not show a correlation between the Mediterranean diet during pregnancy and a reduction in cardiometabolic risk (blood pressure or cholesterol) during infancy. "The effects on cardiometabolic risk could appear later in childhood," says Fernández.

During pregnancy, it is recommended to take special care in its diet. In addition to foods that are forbidden or strongly discouraged because of the risk they place on the future child, it is usually recommended to favor a varied and balanced diet that will provide the necessary elements for the mother's body and baby's growth. . Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but also complete cereals, dairy products, proteins and fat in reasonable quantities must thus be an integral part of the diet of expectant mothers.

Video: Healthy Pregnancy 101 (February 2020).