By Dr Anita Star
The Mediterranean style diet is one of the most recognised food patterns studied for its health benefits. It is characterised to be a diet high in fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole-grains, and olive oil, moderate amounts of fish (low mercury fish best in pregnancy- see our previous blog http://www.drstar.com.au/love-fish-in-pregnancy/ , dairy and poultry, and with only small amounts of red meat. It has been found to have many benefits both before and during pregnancy.
Specifically- during pregnancy the Mediterranean diet has been associated with
- Decreased risk of gestational diabetes
- Decreased risk of excessive pregnancy weight gain
- Decreased risk of pre-term birth especially among women who were overweight pre-pregnancy
- Higher placental weight at birth,
- Lower risk of small for gestational age babies, and greater likelihood of higher (but healthy) birth weight
- Lower childhood fat stores and blood pressure in resulting children when aged 4-7 years
- Decreased risk of allergy, eczema and asthma in resulting children
If you are planning to become pregnant; or are pregnant, have a think about how you can incorporate the healthy elements of Mediterranean eating into your diet.