Study: Diet of Pregnant Mothers Affects Baby’s Brain and Taste_Featured_, Conscious Parenting Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
“It’s clear in humans that the more varied nutrition of the mom, the more open the baby is going to be to different things,” said Diego Restrepo, a neuroscientist at the University of Colorado, Denver. “What’s new here is that what a mother eats changes the brain of her baby.”
The study, pubished in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, focused on nose receptors called glomeruli. Glomeruli respond to individual odors and send messages to the brain about the odor. Odors are also the root of flavor and taste.
Researchers tested mice in the study and found that the glomeruli of baby mice that had been exposed to a strong flavor through their mothers were 50 percent bigger compared to mice that hadn’t been exposed to that specific flavor.
According to Julie Mennella, a biopsychologist at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, scientists have long known that what human and other mammal mothers eat influences the flavor of her amniotic fluid and breast milk.
“It’s a beautiful, beautiful system that confers an advantage to a baby learning about foods,” Mennella said. “The earliest and best way for women to start is to enjoy these healthy, nutritious diets rich in fruits and vegetables while pregnant and lactating. The consequences are going to be far-reaching.”