New research suggests that eating plenty of fish and vegetables while pregnant could significantly lower the risk of developing hypertension.
Looking after yourself and your body during pregnancy is more difficult than it sounds. You quickly discover that knowing what you can and cannot eat and drink is an elaborate minefield. No caffeine or alcohol. Raw fish and eggs in almost all their forms should be avoided. Plus, if you're looking online like the rest of us, there is likely a different opinion as you move from article to article.
Not that we want to muddy the waters for you even more, but we're here to give you some definitive answers on a couple of things you really should be eating while pregnant. Nothing based on opinion or what has worked for us, but rather information dished up by researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Bristol, courtesy of Asia One.
The study undertaken by the establishments included an incredible 55,138 women. The women, all of whom were obviously pregnant, were interviewed a number of times during pregnancy and quizzed about their diets. The results showed that pregnant women who had a more vegetable and fish-rich diet were far less prone to develop pre-eclampsia and hypertension.
To be exact, pregnant women in the study who ate fish and vegetables on a regular basis reduced the risk of developing hypertension by 14% and pre-eclampsia by 21%. The issue is Western diets don't tend to focus on fish and veg. They tend to be meat, potato, and bread heavy. The results from those women with the above type of diet were even more revealing. The risk of pre-eclampsia jumped up a startling 40% in those cases.
The results are above for all to see, but don't worry. As daunting as it might sound, you really don't need to change your diet that much. When it comes to vegetables, the aim is to eat as much as you should be whether pregnant or not, five portions per day. Fish is even easier to incorporate into your routine. Experts advise aiming to eat oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, and there's no need to eat it more than twice a week.