Think fibre and often the first thought to come to mind is often something to do with ‘staying regular’ or surrounds the prunes your grandma makes special effort to mention every time she scoops prunes in her porridge. What is not often likely to come to mind is it being an essential component in a pregnancy related diet. But according to the latest University of Sydney study, pregnant women should be fuelling up on all of the fibrous foods, with research revealing a high fibre diet is not only important for healthy gut bacteria in expecting mums but could also help prevent pre-eclampsia.
The research, published in Nature Communications, found that when women show reduced levels of acetate (which is mainly produced by fibre fermentation in the gut) it was associated with a heightened risk of pre-eclampsia—a serious pregnancy-related condition that results in elevated blood pressure, protein in the urine and severe swelling in the mother. While pre-eclampsia only currently occurs in up to 10 per cent of pregnancies, it’s said to interfere with the child’s immune development whilst in the womb, with some evidence even linking the odds of higher allergy and autoimmune disease odds later in life. With this in mind, the University of Sydney’s lead researcher Professor Ralph Nanan believes the simple advice to ‘eat real food, mostly plants and not too much,’ is potentially the most effective prevention strategy for not just newly expecting mums but those who want to maintain good health.
According to the researchers, when plant-based fibre is broken down by gut bacteria it has the ability to influence the immune system, so the more earth-based produce the better the gut and bub will be it seems! What does this include? Think colourful veggies like carrots, beetroot and broccoli, loads of green goodness including artichoke, edamame, green peas and Swiss chard along with apples, mangos, raspberries, bananas and seeds and beans such as chickpeas, almonds, split peas and quinoa.