A new study suggests pregnant women should be incorporating more fiber into their diets, as it may decrease the chance their child will develop celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a condition in which the small intestine has difficulty digesting foods with gluten, meaning people with this illness are advised to stay away from foods like bread, pasta, and cereals. Although there is currently no known cure for the condition, a recent Norwegian study found that that increasing an expectant mom’s intake of fiber can greatly reduce the odds of their offspring developing it.
The study looked at 88 000 mothers and their children, who were born anywhere between 1999 to 2009. The children were observed for 11 years each in order to see if they were ever diagnosed with celiac disease. The children with mothers who consumed more fiber during their pregnancy (at least more than 45 grams daily) were found to be 34 percent less likely to develop the condition. On the other hand, children whose mothers consumed less than 19 grams had the highest likelihood of being diagnosed.
While there seems to be a positive correlation between fiber and celiac disease, the researchers were unable to come up with conclusive dietary guidelines for pregnant women, other than upping their intake of fiber. In their conclusion, they added that the study doesn't provide evidence that expecting mothers should restrict their gluten intake.
Aside from the fact that it may reduce the chances of celiac disease, there are other benefits to increasing one’s intake of fiber during pregnant. According to The Bump, foods rich in fiber can help combat constipation, an unfortunately uncomfortable pregnancy symptom. Even more, fiber-rich foods are often packed with nutrients, meaning they’ll fill the expectant mama up without adding too many calories. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women should consume at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.
It’s easy to get your fill of fiber without drastically changing your eating habits. Fruits are an excellent source of fiber; particularly bananas, oranges, apples, and mangos to name a few. The same goes for vegetables. In fact, the darker the color of a veggie, the more fiber it usually contains. Other great sources of fiber include breads and grains, beans and nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and sunflower seeds. Additionally, fiber supplements are also available to ensure the mom-to-be is getting the correct amount. Consult with your health practitioner before starting any new supplements, especially when pregnant.