Mothers’ diet gives babies a healthy start

Pregnant and breastfeeding women are being encouraged to eat foods children often reject.

Mothers’ diet gives babies a healthy start

Pregnant women are being encouraged to eat foods children often reject, such as broccoli, cabbage and sprouts.

Research shows women who eat healthy food while pregnant or breast-feeding can give their children a life-long taste for it.

This is because it’s now believed that babies can taste flavours through amniotic fluid and milk.

Julie Mennella, of the Monell Chemical Senses research institute, Philadelphia, said: "Flavours from the mother’s diet are transmitted through amniotic fluid and mother’s milk. A baby learns to like a food’s taste when the mother eats that food on a regular basis."

Recent research showed that pregnant women who were given a lot of carrot juice or peaches to consume found that their children were keener on carrots and peaches than those of women who had not drunk the juice or eaten the fruit.

The experiments also proved positive when women ate healthy foods such as green beans while breastfeeding.

"Babies are born with a dislike for bitter tastes," said Mennella. "If mothers want their babies to learn to like to eat vegetables, especially green vegetables, they need to provide them with opportunities to taste these foods."

 

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