Attention, pregnant women! The foods you eat now might influence your babies’ palates after they are born. New research published in the journal Pediatrics, shows that the fetus actually drinks amniotic fluid in the womb. The amniotic fluid is flavored by the foods the mother has recently eaten and flavors can be transmitted to the amniotic fluid and mother’s milk.
It makes sense that as the baby is developing, memories are being created by a sense of taste. Could what a mother eats influence food preferences and odor preferences for life? Researchers fed babies cereal flavored with carrot juice vs. water. They showed that babies who experienced daily carrots in amniotic fluid or mother’s milk ate more carrot-flavored cereal and made less negative faces when eating it.
Julie Mennella studies taste in infants at the Monell Chemical Senses Center (Philadelphia) and she says it makes evolutionary sense because mothers tend to feed their children what they eat themselves and it is nature’s way of introducing babies to the foods and flavors of their culture. Babies need to like the food in cultures that eat spicy or pungent foods.
One thing I have observed is that babies will eat most anything (including veggies) until they are toddlers. At that time they become picky eaters. This, too, makes sense from a teleologic view because toddlers are on the move, putting everything in their mouths and a built in aversion to bitter or strong tastes could save them from eating poisonous plants.
Advice for pregnant moms: Eat lots of deep green and colored fruits and vegetables as they have the most nutrients. It’s good for you and you might be helping your baby develop healthy taste.
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*