Scientists from Hospital Clínico Universitario San Carlos found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil could help reduce the risk of diabetes in pregnant women.
The research is published in PLOS ONE and was conducted by Carla Assaf-Balut et al.
More and more pregnant women get gestational diabetes, which is becoming a major public health concern.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes can cause health problems in both mother and baby. Managing your diabetes can help protect you and your baby.
Women can lower their chance of getting gestational diabetes by losing extra weight before they get pregnant if they are overweight.
Managing gestational diabetes includes following a healthy eating plan and being physically active.
The Mediterranean diet is a diet inspired by the eating habits of people who live near the Mediterranean Sea.
People eat mostly plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, potatoes, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and extra virgin olive oil. Meals are planned around these foods.
The diet also includes moderate amounts of lean poultry, fish, seafood, dairy, and eggs.
While the Mediterranean diet is not a strict diet plan, foods that are generally not allowed on the Mediterranean diet include:
Processed red meats, heavily processed foods, refined grains, alcohol, butter, and refined, processed oils.
In the current study, researchers aimed to examine whether a Mediterranean diet can help prevent gestational diabetes in pregnant women.
They examined pregnant 1000 women at 8-12 gestational weeks.
These women were asked to either ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil and pistachios or ate a standard diet with limited fat intake.
The researchers examined the effect of diets on gestational diabetes at 24-28 gestational weeks.
They also examined gestational weight gain, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, cesarean section, preterm delivery, and admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit.
Among the 874 women who completed the study, the researchers found a total of 177 women were diagnosed with gestational diabetes, including 103 (23.4%) in the control diet group and 74 (17.1%) in the Mediterranean diet group.
The Mediterranean diet group also strongly reduced risks of insulin-treated gestational diabetes, prematurity, gestational weight gain at 24-28 and 36-38 gestational weeks, emergency cesarean section, and trauma.
Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that early nutritional intervention with a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil could reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and improves the health of the mother and child.
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