Spicy pepper substance found in breast milk


New moms listen up!

If you’re a fan of spicy food you may be training your baby right now for a lifetime love of spicy food. It turns out piperine, a spicy substance found in hot peppers, is detectable in breast milk one hour after eating a curry dish containing pepper. The substance reportedly remains at detectable levels for several hours. This is important because scientists think some of the very first food we consume helps shape our eating habits as adults. While baby formula has a consistent smell and taste, breast milk does not, and often depends on what the mom has recently eaten.

This doesn’t mean the taste and smell of food is always transferred to a mom’s breast milk.

Scientists actually found the concentration of piperine was considerably lower than an adult’s taste perception threshold. Researchers don’t even believe the babies are able to perceive much of a difference at all. However, it is possible that getting the substance in their mother’s milk may help increase a child’s tolerance for certain substances as they age. Interestingly enough, the compound curcumin, which is also found in curry, did not show up in breast milk. Neither did pungents from chili or ginger.

While any nursing mom probably needs to talk through her diet with her doctor, it’s certainly interesting that a mom’s food choices now can potentially influence her child’s food habits for years to come. Whether you’re a mom or not, you can certainly appreciate all the great ways to add some extra spice to your diet. Whether you add in some extra heat to your curry with a splash of hot sauce or some pepper puree, it’s easy to give a boost of flavor by trying out any one of the many products on the hot pepper scale.  

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