These days, some moms would do anything to get their kids to eat a healthy meal. That's because we all know that chicken nuggets and mac and cheese only go so far in providing the vitamins and minerals that help a child grow strong and healthy.
But as much as a mom cooks and cajoles and tries to sneak veggies into her kids' meals, sometimes its more than just a fight to get a 10-year-old to eat their broccoli. In fact, according to a recent research study from the University of Kentucky School of Medicine there is a genetic component to whether or not people like vegetables, even if Emeril did the cooking.
Researchers found that people with a certain genetic trait are more sensitive to the taste of broccoli and brussel sprouts and other vegetables. They find them to be extremely bitter. Those same people might also have an aversion to dark chocolate and coffee. Interestingly, all of those things seem to have heart-healthy properties, so doctors with the American Heart Association are being encouraged to think about taste when they are talking to their patients.
All moms know the struggle of trying to get kids to finish everything on their plate. But this study shows that for some kids, it's not just about being difficult. Maybe moms should try sweetening the sprouts with some brown sugar or adding some cheese to break up the bitter on the broccoli. But the truth is that they are more likely to struggle no matter how the veggies are cooked, the research found.
It's important to start healthy eating when your kids are young so that they understand the importance of keeping vegetables and fruits in their diet when they are older. It might make a big difference in avoiding those heart issues later on.
Moms can't do anything about genetics — they might even share those aversions and taste issues — but they can set the stage for a healthy lifestyle with what they put on the plate in the meantime.
Just keep in mind not to take the kids' reaction personally. It's not your cooking — it's their DNA.
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