Want to avoid miscarriage? Enjoy avocado, nuts, spinach
*Skipping breakfast associated with obesity, heart disease
Eating nuts, kale and avocado could help protect women from suffering a miscarriage, new research suggests. Being deficient in vitamin E starves an embryo of vital energy and nutrients it needs to grow, scientists have found.
This can cause severe neurological damage – ultimately leading to the loss of a pregnancy. Experts now claim women planning to become pregnant should consume foods high in the mineral or take supplements.
Researchers from Oregon State University conducted their study on zebrafish embryos – which have a similar neurological development to humans. They found that a severe deficiency caused the depletion of essential fatty acids, specifically the omega-3 DHA.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in infants.
When the growing embryo is diminished of these, cells start to use glucose to prevent and reduce damage in the womb. However, this prevents glucose from being used for its main purpose – providing humans with energy. This then prevents many physical and neurological features – especially the brain – from forming correctly.
Ultimately, this can lead to the loss of a pregnancy, the researchers warned in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.
They discovered that in zebrafish, a severe vitamin E deficiency is responsible for 80 per cent of miscarriages.
Despite also being found in sweet potatoes, avocados and sunflower seeds, US researchers previously noted that 96 per cent of women consume inadequate amounts of the vitamin. And given these statistics, experts warn women should take supplements to ensure they have sufficient amounts if they desire children.
Meanwhile, skipping breakfast raises the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, a major review has concluded.
Heart experts in the United States (U.S.) issued new advice stressing the importance of a morning meal. And they warned up to a third of adults skip breakfast and then snack and graze throughout the day – a pattern which could play havoc with their health.
The new guidance, issued by the American Heart Association, was backed by British experts, who said similar trends are all too common in this country.
Victoria Taylor, a dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “In the United Kingdom (U.K.) our lifestyles have become more demanding and as a result our meal patterns have become more varied and irregular.
“Compared with 30 years ago, more meals are skipped or eaten on the go, and later in the day. This study shows that it’s not only what we eat but also when we eat it that affects our risk of heart disease.”
The review, led by experts at Columbia University in New York, US, concluded people who eat a regular healthy breakfast are less likely to pile on calories later in the day.
This means their body has more time to burn off energy before they go to sleep.
People should also try to restrict their eating to main meals and not snack between them, the experts said, warning people of the danger of ‘emotional’ eating.
They should aim to consume between 15 and 25 per cent of their daily energy intake at breakfast time, between 300 and 500 calories for a woman and between 375 and 625 for a man.
The scientists did not define exactly what people should eat, but said a healthy breakfast should be high in nutrients such as fibre, calcium, potassium and vitamin D.
Professor Marie-Pierre St-Onge of Columbia University, who led the review panel, said: “Meal timing may affect health due to its impact on the body’s internal clock.
“We suggest eating mindfully, by paying attention to planning both what you eat and when you eat meals and snacks, to combat emotional eating.
“Many people find that emotions can trigger eating episodes when they are not hungry, which often leads to eating too many calories from foods that have low nutritional value.”
Her team cited previous studies, which have shown people who usually skip breakfast have a 27 per cent increased risk of suffering a heart attack, and are 18 per cent more likely to have a stroke.
Other studies found people who ate breakfast every day were less likely to have high cholesterol and blood pressure, and people who skip breakfast are more likely to be obese be diagnosed with diabetes.
Growing evidence suggests the demise of the family meal eaten at a dinner table, and the boom in sandwich chains and fast food restaurants, means we are increasingly snacking on the go.