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Kale Flavor Makes Fetuses Grimace, Study Finds Chemistry

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If the taste of kale ruins your face, you’re not alone.

While previous research has suggested that our food preferences start before birth and can be influenced by the mother’s diet, the team notes that new research suggests that the fetus’ response to different tastes This is the first study to directly examine the response.

“[Previously researchers] I just saw what happens after birth in terms of what to do [offspring] But actually seeing the facial expressions of a fetus when attacked by a bitter or non-bitter taste is completely new,” said study co-author Professor Nadja Riceland of Durham University. .

Fetuses exhibited crying about twice as often when mothers ingested kale capsules compared to carrots. Photo: FETAP (Fetal Taste Preferences) Study/Fetal and Neonatal Research Lab/Durham University/PA

Writing in the Journal of Psychological Science, the research team noted that scents from the mother’s diet were present in the amniotic fluid. is detectable from the 24th week of pregnancy.

To find out if fetuses discriminate between certain flavors, the team examined ultrasound scans of about 70 pregnant women aged 18 to 40 in two groups in the North East of England. One group was asked to take powdered kale capsules 20 minutes before the ultrasound scan, and the other group was asked to take powdered carrot capsules. There was no difference between the kale and carrot groups.

The team also examined scans of 30 women obtained from the archives who were not given capsules.

All women were asked to refrain from other meals for 1 hour prior to the scan.

The team then analyzed the frequency of various fetal facial movements frame by frame, including combinations resembling laughter and crying.

Overall, researchers examined 180 scans from 99 fetuses, scanned at 32 weeks, 36 weeks, or both.

The results showed that fetuses cried about twice as often when mothers ingested kale capsules, carrot capsules, or no capsules. However, when the mother ingested the Carrot Her capsules, the fetuses exhibited laugh-like facial expressions about twice as often as when the mother swallowed the Kale Her capsules or no capsules. rice field.

Dr. Benoist Char, a researcher at the Center for Taste and Eating Behavior at the University of Burgundy, told The Guardian that the clarity of the results was astonishing.

“[They mean] mother hasn’t finished eating yet [when] The fetus already recognizes or can sense what the mother eats,” he said.

The study’s lead author, Beyza Ustun, said the team is currently trying to investigate babies’ responses after birth to different flavors. “We hope that there will be less negative reactions if exposed to kale prenatally,” she said.

Reissland added that the study could also help talk about what pregnant women eat. “what [we] What we know from other studies is that babies eat less fussy when their mothers eat a variety of foods such as vegetables and fruits,” she said.

Julie Menela, Ph.D., an expert in the field at the Monell Chemosensory Center in the United States, was not involved in the study, but the study suggests that the offspring may perceive their mother’s diet through the flavors of food present in the amniotic fluid. He said it backs up previous research showing that learning starts.

But she said the pregnant women were not randomly assigned to experimental or control groups, and control fetuses were not known to have been previously exposed to a variety of vegetables, including carrots and kale. I warned you.

Professor Catherine Forestell of the University of William and Mary said the study provided a window into the chemosensory world of the human fetus.

“Future studies highlighting individual differences in fetal responses to flavors and how they relate to maternal dietary habits and infant responses to postnatal food will be of great interest.” added Forrestel.

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