A Mediterranean diet is recommended by many doctors and nutritionists to prevent disease and keep people healthy for longer.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, with fewer ultra-processed foods and meat than a typical Western diet.
Dietary advice for pregnant women and their developing fetus continue to evolve as experts obtain fresh insights into the ideal nutrition for a pregnant woman and her developing fetus. Experts continue to propose what is safe to eat and avoid during pregnancy as additional data becomes available.
Following a Mediterranean diet around the time of conception and during early pregnancy may reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, according to a recent study.
In addition to preeclampsia, women who adhered to a heart-healthy diet had a lower incidence of gestational diabetes.
Because of the high antioxidant content, including vitamin E, vitamin C, and other phytochemicals, a plant-based or Mediterranean-style diet is good food for pregnancy.
A Mediterranean-style diet contains healthy food to eat during pregnancy as it’s rich in leafy greens, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These foods include anti-inflammatory compounds that may lower the risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
In this Article
- 1 What is a Mediterranean diet?
- 2 Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits
- 3 Mediterranean Diet During Early Pregnancy
- 4 Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
- 5 Building a Pregnancy Meal Plan
- 6 What is the healthiest gestational diabetes diet?
- 7 Why is the Mediterranean diet beneficial for type 2 diabetes?
- 8 Is it possible to avoid preeclampsia by diet?
What is a Mediterranean diet?
Following a Mediterranean diet essentially means eating the way people in the Mediterranean region have traditionally eaten.
The following foods are prioritized in a Mediterranean-style eating pattern:
- a wide range of fruits and veggies
- Whole grains
- wholesome fats from nuts and olive oil
- modest seafood consumption
- low dairy and red meat consumption
- In moderation, red wine
Because not everyone in the Mediterranean region eats the same way, the Mediterranean dietary pattern is intended to be flexible guidance for a nutritious diet that favors plant-based foods.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes healthy fat sources such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish- all types of good food to eat during pregnancy.
Mediterranean Diet Health Benefits
Researchers in the United Kingdom investigated over 1,100 pregnant women of various races with certain risk factors for complications during pregnancy, such as obesity and persistent high blood pressure, at five inner-city hospitals in the study.
Researchers examined data from 553 people assigned to a Mediterranean-style diet. The eating plan advocated for good food for pregnancy which included a high intake of nuts, extra virgin olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, as well as a moderate to high intake of fish, a small-to-moderate intake of chicken and dairy, and little to no intake of red meat and processed meat. The regimen advised eliminating all sugary drinks, quick food, and meals high in animal fat.
Participants in the Mediterranean-style diet group received 30 grams of mixed nuts per day, a half liter of extra virgin olive oil once a week, face-to-face consultations with dietitians at 18, 20, and 28 weeks gestation, and phone sessions at 24 and 32 weeks gestation to reinforce diet goals and assess health.
The Mediterranean-style diet reduced the chance of developing diabetes during pregnancy by 35% and resulted in 2.75 pounds less weight gain while carrying a fetus as compared to the control group of expectant mothers who received dietary guidance based on the United Kingdom’s official standards.
The new findings rely on a 2017 Spanish study that revealed that women who adopted a Mediterranean diet were less likely to develop gestational diabetes.
This study emphasizes the importance of the Mediterranean diet. People frequently believe that they do not need to follow a ‘diet’ while pregnant. This underlines that dieting can be done safely and even lead to better outcomes by lowering the risk of gestational diabetes in mothers who are at risk.
Mediterranean Diet During Early Pregnancy
The Mediterranean diet consists of whole foods that have been lightly processed, such as fruits, vegetables, poultry, and fish. According to a new study, following a Mediterranean diet throughout early pregnancy may lower the risk of unfavorable complications during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, premature birth, and gestational diabetes. According to the data, the benefits were greatest among pregnant women aged 35 and up.
The new study is based on a cohort study of over 8,000 pregnant women. Researchers assembled a broad group for this investigation, which aided in data collection. They wanted to discover if eating a Mediterranean diet around the time of conception reduced the risk of preeclampsia and other such conditions associated with the likelihood of having a bad pregnancy.
To assess the possible impacts of a Mediterranean diet during early pregnancy, researchers used a unique scoring system to assess adherence to the eating pattern. They assessed the consumption of diet components such as vegetables, seafood, and whole grains, all of which are good food for pregnancy.
A higher score indicated greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet.
The researchers next looked at the link between following this diet and the probability of many negative pregnancy outcomes.
According to the findings, greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet during early pregnancy is related to a lower risk of preeclampsia and other similar unfavorable pregnancy outcomes.
Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
Those who are in their early pregnancy and those wanting to become pregnant can work with nutrition experts and doctors to maintain healthy eating patterns during crucial periods.
It isn’t usually easy to follow specific dietary recommendations on our own. It’s best to find support by downloading a health app that can help track food intake and lifestyle.
Some people may benefit from working with a dietitian during pregnancy and postpartum, giving them the tools and accountability they need to follow dietary recommendations.
Pregnant women may already receive nutritional advice from their doctors, but it typically focuses on avoiding common items (such as alcohol and raw fish). Early dietary adjustments can help women stay healthy during their pregnancies and afterward. Recommending a healthy diet to a diabetic woman is a missed opportunity. Healthy nutrition and good food for pregnancy should be discussed with pregnant women during their initial appointment. Having a specific diet to prescribe to patients makes it simpler for most doctors to have that discussion, and giving that diet a name encourages them to investigate it on their own.
Building a Pregnancy Meal Plan
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant foods more than many other diets. Meals and snacks primarily contain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Pregnant women who follow the diet can often cook these items with healthy fats like olive oil and various tasty seasonings. Small servings of fish, pork, or eggs may be included in meals.
To stay hydrated throughout the day, drink water or other unsweetened, zero-calorie beverages such as sparkling water.
When following any healthy eating pattern during pregnancy, including the Mediterranean diet, it is preferable to avoid the following foods:
- refined grains, such as white bread, white pasta, and white pizza dough
- trans fats, which are commonly found in butter, margarine, and other processed foods.
- sugary food items, such as pastries, soft drinks, and candies
- cured or processed meats, for instance, deli meats, hot dogs, etc.
- quick food and other ultra-processed meals
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the healthiest gestational diabetes diet?
Gestational diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels that begin during pregnancy. A healthy, balanced diet can help you control gestational diabetes. The food recommendations given below are for women who have gestational diabetes and who are not on insulin.
- Several servings of whole fruits and veggies.
- Lean proteins and healthy fats in moderation.
- Whole grains should be consumed moderately, such as rice, bread, pasta, cereal, corn, peas, and other starchy vegetables.
- Fewer high-sugar items, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and pastries.
A gestational diabetes diet should include three small to moderate-sized meals and one or more snacks. Avoid skipping meals and snacks. Maintain a consistent intake of food (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) from day to day. This can help you maintain a stable blood sugar level.
Why is the Mediterranean diet beneficial for type 2 diabetes?
The Mediterranean diet has anti-inflammatory properties, which may aid with diabetes treatment, making this a good gestational diabetes diet. It also influences insulin secretion and gut microbiome, which may help with blood sugar management.
Is it possible to avoid preeclampsia by diet?
It’s a good idea to be proactive about your food choices and convert to a lower-carb, low-glycemic diet if you want to reduce your risk of preeclampsia. A low-carb, nutrient-dense diet during pregnancy promotes improved blood sugar regulation and maintains your baby’s optimal development.
An increasing body of evidence suggests that a Mediterranean-style diet can help women maintain their health throughout their lives, even during pregnancy.
A Mediterranean diet requires long-term, sustainable dietary modifications.
In general, a diet high in natural foods, such as plenty of veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats, is a good example of food to eat during pregnancy
Anyone who does not feel satisfied with their food should consult a dietician. They can suggest additional or different foods to help promote fullness.