Association of vegetable and animal flesh intake with inflammation in pregnant women from India

Su Yadana, Sameera A Talegawkar, Jyoti S. Mathad, Mallika Alexander, Kripa Rajagopalan, Pavan Kumar, Shilpa Naik, Cheng Shiun Leu, Vandana Kulkarni, Prasad Deshpande, Mariana Araujo-Pereira, Ramesh Bhosale, Subash Babu, Bruno B. Andrade, Laura E. Caulfield, Amita Gupta, Rupak Shivakoti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In pregnant women, studies are lacking on the relationship of vegetable and animal flesh (poultry, red meat and seafood) intake with inflammation, especially in low-and middle-income countries. We conducted a cohort study of pregnant women receiving antenatal care at BJ Medical College in Pune, India. The dietary intake of pregnant women was queried in the third trimester using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Twelve inflammatory markers were measured in plasma samples using immunoassays. Only 12% of the study population were vegetarians, although animal flesh intake levels were lower compared to Western populations. In multivariable models, higher intakes of total vegetables were associated with lower levels of the T-helper (Th) 17 cytokine interleukin (IL)-17a (p = 0.03) and the monocyte/macrophage activation marker soluble CD163 (sCD163) (p = 0.02). Additionally, higher intakes of poultry were negatively associated with intestinal fatty-acid binding protein (I-FABP) levels (p = 0.01), a marker of intestinal barrier dysfunction and Th2 cytokine IL-13 (p = 0.03), and higher seafood was associated with lower IL-13 (p = 0.005). Our data from pregnant women in India suggest that a higher quality diet emphasizing vegetables and with some animal flesh is associated with lower inflammation. Future studies should confirm these findings and test if modulating vegetables and animal flesh intake could impact specific aspects of immunity and perinatal health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3767
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Gut barrier
  • Inflammation
  • Meat intake
  • Monocyte activation
  • Pregnancy
  • Vegetable intake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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