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Pregnant? Add Spice to your Diet

April 1, 2016
Plain English Version


There is good news for pregnant women. It also is good news for nursing mother and infants. The news: eating healthy spices you enjoy is good for you and your baby.

For a long time, pregnant and breast feeding women were told to avoid strong flavors and spicy foods.

That which goes into the stomach goes into the bloodstream, and that includes flavors. They become streams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. They also carry scent. And that becomes part of taste.

These flavors are in the amniotic fluid that babies drink while they are in the mother’s uterus. Flavors also cross into the mammary glands and breast milk after babies are born.

Babies on formula drink the same flavor all the time.

A study in 1991 looked at nursing mothers who ate garlic and those who did not. It found a difference.  The milk of the mothers who ate garlic had a strong garlic smell. The babies of those mothers stayed on the breast longer and drank more than the other babies.

There was another study. It looked at babies whose mothers ate spicy food when their babies were in utero or while nursing. It found the babies of mothers who ate spicy foods were more likely to like spicy flavors after weaning.

Breast-fed babies are usually easier to feed as they grow older. They get used to different flavors. Exposing the babies to flavors leads babies to accept different foods later on. The baby learns as the mother eats the food.

Mothers of colicky babies may want to give up cow’s milk for awhile.

Newer studies tell mothers to do your baby a big favor.  Eat a variety of healthy and tasty foods.

Source: The New York Times March 28, 2016

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