Organic Food Consumers Have a 21% Lower Risk of Pre-eclampsia

Organic Food Consumers Have a 21% Lower Risk of Pre-eclampsia

Pregnant women may be able to lower their risk of a potentially deadly complication known as pre-eclampsia by more than 20 percent simply by eating more organic vegetables, according to a study conducted by researchers.

Pre-eclampsia is a complication of late pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. The cause of the condition is not known, although it has been linked to a variety of risk factors including some of the same risk factors as cardiovascular disease. Mild cases may resolve without problems, but severe cases may progress into a life-threatening condition that can only be alleviated through premature delivery of the baby. The new study is the first to show a connection between organic food consumption and lower pre-eclampsia risk.

Benefit independent of other factors: The researchers found that women who "often" or "mostly" ate organic vegetables were 21 percent less likely to develop pre-eclampsia than women who "rarely" or "never" did so. No connection was found between pre-eclampsia rates and consumption of other organic foods.

The researchers found that women who ate organic food more often were likely to have healthier diets overall, including a higher consumption of vegetables, fruits, berries and whole grains and a lower consumption of meat, processed meat, white bread, cakes and sweets. They tended to be younger, have a lower body mass index and consume more calories than women who ate organic foods less frequently. They were slightly less likely to smoke and slightly more likely to have reached a higher level of education.

The researchers controlled for all of those factors in their analysis, as well as certain other socioeconomic and lifestyle differences. The effect of organic vegetable consumption on pre-eclampsia risk was independent of these other factors. It was also independent of other pre-eclampsia risk factors, including gestational weight gain.

 

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