Pregnant women have bee told they should eat plenty of fruit and veg - if they want their children to like vegetables when they're older.

Scientists from Monell Chemical Senses Centre, Philadelphia, found babies can get a taste for healthy foods when in the womb.

Writing in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers found flavours were passed from mother to baby via amniotic fluid. Study leader Julie Menella told NPR news said: "Things like vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise, mint - these are some of the flavours that have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid or mother's milk."

When the children started to eat solid food the researchers fed them cereal made with water or carrot juice. They found babies who had experienced carrot in their amniotic fluid or through mother's milk ate more of the carrot-flavoured cereal.

Taste researcher Linda Bartoshuk, from the University of Florida, told NPR news: "To what extent can we make a baby eat a healthier diet by exposing it to all the right flavours - broccoli, carrots, lima beans, et cetera? Could we do that or not? My guess is we could."

Posted by Robert Mair on 15.8.11 Please send your comments on this article to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com 

 Eat your greens