Eat Healthy, Grow Strong: Tastes Begin in the Womb
A study at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia revealed that what moms-to-be ate during pregnancy determined their children's liking to certain foods. Researchers looked at whether amniotic fluid, which provides the baby nourishment and surrounds the baby in the womb, picks up flavors from the mother's diet.
In the study, pregnant women were given garlic and sugar capsules to determine if flavors were transmitted through amniotic fluid. Researchers took samples of the women's amniotic fluid and asked a panel to smell them. The women who took the garlic capsules were easily picked out by the panel.
Researcher Julie Mennella told NPR that "the sense of taste is 90 percent smell, so they (the panel) knew just from the odor that the babies could taste it."
In another experiment at the center, researchers had one group of pregnant women drink carrot juice daily while the other group avoided carrots. After the babies were born, those whose moms drank carrot juice had a preference for carrots while the other group did not.
The center's findings were included in a recent NPR report, which you can read or watch here.?
"Things like vanilla, carrot, anise, mint - these are some of the flavors that have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid or mother's milk," and they have not found a flavor that has not been passed on, Mennella told NPR.
The study provides further evidence on why children from different cultures have more exotic food preferences than American children. However, researchers note that although a woman might eat broccoli and carrots while pregnant, her children might still not have a preference for them. But early and continued exposure to different foods will help children develop a liking for them.
To learn more about First 5 LA's current campaign, Eat Healthy, Grow Strong, including resources, events and giveaways for parents, visit Ready. Set. Grow!
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