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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Taste of kale makes unborn babies grimace, study shows

Even buns in the oven don’t like kale.

The taste of the bitter leafy green makes unborn babies grimace with a “crying face,” while carrots are more likely to prompt a smile, according to a new study.

Fetuses were twice as likely to make the grossed-out expression after their mothers swallowed powdered kale capsules compared to powdered carrot pills, according to a team of researchers from Durham University in England.

By contrast, when the moms-to-be ate the carrots, the unborn infants were more likely to make a “laughter face” according to the study, published Wednesday in the journal Psychological Science.

“[It means] the mother has not yet finished her meal [when] the fetus is already aware, or capable of sensing, what the mother has eaten,” one of the study’s authors, Benoist Schaal, told the Guardian.

To test the ability to taste flavors in the womb, the researchers took ultrasound images of roughly 70 unborn babies between 32 and 36 weeks roughly 20 minutes after their moms ate the veggies, according to the study.

According to a new study, babies in the womb respond with a “crying face” when their mothers eat kale.
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Pregnant women ages 18 to 40 were divided into three groups, including kale-eaters, carrot-munchers and women who were given no food at all.

The moms-to-be were asked not to eat anything for at least an hour before their babies’ faces were scanned. 

Researchers then analyzed 180 ultrasound images of the fetuses, frame-by-frame, to study their facial expressions — and found kale likely made the little ones green in the gills.

The fetuses were found to be more likely to make a "laughter face" when the mothers ate carrot capsules.
The fetuses were found to be more likely to make a “laughter face” when the mothers ate carrot capsules.

An example of a fetus grimacing after the mother ate powdered kale capsules.
An example of a fetus grimacing after the mother ate powdered kale capsules.

It may be a bitter pill to swallow, but exposure to the once-trendy leafy green and other veggies in the womb likely makes for a less picky kid, said Beyza Ustun, the study’s lead author.

“What [we] know from other research is actually that if the mother has a varied diet, like vegetables and fruits etc, babies are much less fussy eaters,” she said.

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