Author: Ryan Morrison for Mailonline
Published: September 22, 2021, 08:00 EST | Updated: September 22, 2021, 10:58 EST
This is a struggle that many parents often face during dinner time, and now a new study may finally reveal why so many children dislike broccoli.
Researchers from Australia have discovered that chemicals in children’s mouths may be the reason they dislike Brassica vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower and bean sprouts).
Experts say that the enzymes produced by vegetables will react with bacteria in the mouth and produce an unpleasant smell of sulfur.
Although parents have the same enzyme levels in their mouths, their reactions to broccoli are often not that bad. The research team said this may be because they learned to accept food.
According to a new study of Brassica vegetables, the chemicals in the mouth of children may be the reason they dislike broccoli, cauliflower and bean sprouts. Stock Images
Brassica plants, including cabbage, broccoli, and other vegetables, are also known as the cruciferous family.
Food varieties include: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Swedish vegetables, radishes and seeds used to produce rapeseed oil and mustard.
There are currently more than 30 wild and hybrid species in cultivation.
The genus is native to temperate regions of Western Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia.
Many wild species grow as weeds, especially in North America, South America, and Australia.
Dislike cabbage or broccoli has been shown to be the result of an enzyme interacting with the oral tissues, producing a foul smell.
New research has found that bacteria in the mouth of some people produce the same enzymes, and the taste of broccoli depends on the level of enzymes.
The team said that previous studies have found that adult saliva contains different levels of enzymes, but it is not clear whether children also have different levels or how this affects their food preferences.
Damian Frank of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Canberra, who conducted this study, and his colleagues hope to investigate the difference in the production of sulfur volatiles in the saliva of children and adults.
Dr. Frank said that it is well known that there are inherent differences in preferences between adults and children.
He explained: “It is reported that children prefer sweetness more than adults and their acceptance of bitterness is greatly reduced.”
"Bacteria naturally present in some people's saliva will further increase the production of sulfur volatiles in the oral cavity, which may affect the oral flavor and perception of Brassica vegetables."
They used a technique called gas chromatography-olfactory-mass spectrometry to determine the main odorant active compounds in raw and steamed Brassica vegetables, including cauliflower and broccoli.
Then, they asked 98 groups of parents and children between the ages of 6 and 8 to rate the odors produced by the various compounds from the vegetables.
Dimethyl trisulfide has the smell of decay, sulfur and decay, and is the least favorite smell for children and adults.
The team then mixed the saliva sample with lettuce pollen and analyzed the volatile compounds produced over time.
According to the researchers, the level of sulfur volatile production varies greatly from person to person—some people have a lot, some people have a few.
These are members of the vegetable family, including cabbage, kale, kale and radish, and are often left next to the child's dinner plate. Stock Images
They found that children have similar levels to their parents, which can be explained by a similar microbiome in the oral cavity passed from parents to children.
Children whose saliva produces a lot of sulfur volatiles least like raw brassica vegetables, but this relationship is not found in adults, and over time, they may learn to tolerate the taste.
Researchers say these results provide a new potential explanation for why some people like Brassica vegetables while others (especially children) don't.
The results have been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.
Researchers now estimate that a typical human body is composed of approximately 30 trillion human somatic cells and 39 trillion bacteria.
These are the keys to obtain energy from food, regulate immune function and maintain intestinal health.
Interest and knowledge about the microbiota has surged recently because we now realize how important they are to our health.
A healthy and balanced microbiota can help us break down food, protect us from infections, train our immune system and produce vitamins such as K and B12.
It also sends signals to our brains that affect mood, anxiety and appetite.
Increasingly, intestinal imbalance is associated with a series of diseases. Last year, scientists at the California Institute of Technology discovered for the first time the connection between the gut and Parkinson's symptoms.
The composition of our gut microbiota is determined by our genes, but it can also be affected by lifestyle factors such as our diet, alcohol intake and exercise, and medications.
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