Why you dislike Brussels Sprouts

Aug. 10, 2011
New research by the Monell Chemical Senses Center finds mothers can influence a baby's palate and food memories before it is born, reports ABC World News. The study finds that what a woman eats during her pregnancy shapes the baby's food preferences later in life.
 
New research by the Monell Chemical Senses Center finds mothers can influence a baby's palate and food memories before it is born, reports ABC World News. The study finds that what a woman eats during her pregnancy shapes the baby's food preferences later in life.In the womb, the baby is surrounded and nourished on the amniotic fluid, which is filled with the flavors of what the mom has eaten. The babies are feasting on the flavored amniotic fluid, forming memories of these flavors even before birth. At 21 weeks after conception, a developing baby weighs about as much as a can of Coke - and he or she can taste it, too. These memories result in preferences for these foods or odors for a lifetime. Very early exposure to flavors, before and after birth, and reinforcement of those flavors make it more likely that children will accept a wide variety of flavors. So, eating broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and other vegetables while pregnant means there's a better chance your baby will like them more than a baby who's mom ate pizza and pickles."Things like vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise, mint -- these are some of the flavors that have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid or mother's milk," Julie Mennella, a researcher at Monell, told National Public Radio (NPR). In fact, Mennella says there isn't a single flavor they have found that doesn't show up in utero. Her work has been published in the journal Pediatrics.University of Florida taste researcher Linda Bartoshuk says babies are born with very few hard and fast taste preferences. She says Mennella's work shows that very early exposures to flavors - both before and after birth - make it more likely that children will accept a wide variety of flavors. And when those early exposures are reinforced over a lifetime, Bartoshuk thinks they might have far-reaching implications, even promoting good eating.Researchers say this helps explain why kids from countries with more adventurous menus enjoy more diverse foods than a child exposed to American peanut butter and jelly and chicken nuggets. So, if you want your children to eat a healthy diet or more adventurous diet, you should expose them to all the right, healthy flavors early on. The earlier the better.

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