HealthDay News — Adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet is associated with reduced odds of preeclampsia, according to a study published online April 20 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Anum S. Minhas, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues used data from the Boston Birth Cohort to examine whether a Mediterranean-style diet is protective for preeclampsia. Within 24 to 72 hours postpartum, maternal sociodemographic and dietary data were obtained via interview and a food frequency questionnaire, respectively. Additional clinical information, including diagnoses of preexisting conditions and preeclampsia, were extracted from medical records.

The researchers found that 848 of the 8,507 women in the sample developed preeclampsia: 47% were Black, 28% Hispanic, and the rest White/Other. Greatest adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet was associated with lower odds of preeclampsia after multivariable adjustment (adjusted odds ratio, 0.78 comparing tertile 3 with 1). Similar benefit was seen with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.74 comparing tertile 3 with tertile 1 in a subgroup analysis of Black women.


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“We were surprised that women who more frequently ate foods in the Mediterranean-style diet were significantly less likely to develop preeclampsia, with Black women experiencing the greatest reduction in risk,” Minhas said in a statement. “This is remarkable because there are very few interventions during pregnancy that are found to produce any meaningful benefit and medical treatments during pregnancy must be approached cautiously to ensure the benefits outweigh the potential risks to the mother and the unborn child.”

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