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New study gives clues: That’s why kids hate broccoli

It is saliva that makes cabbage "disgusting"

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For many children, broccoli is just “uh”. But why? A team of researchers has investigated what happens when you eat certain types of cabbage. 

Broccoli is one of the most hated vegetables. Scientists have now found that this is not due to the cabbage alone, but to the chemical reaction, it enters into with saliva. 

In the mouth, saliva bacteria can produce sulfur-containing compounds that smell unpleasant. A high concentration of the compounds makes children disliked broccoli or cauliflower. 

This could also be an explanation for disliking other cabbage vegetables, report scientists in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry”.

This is why does broccoli taste bitter

For the study, researchers from the Australian science agency Csiro first identified the most important odor-active compounds in raw and steamed cauliflower and broccoli. 

These were then rated by 98 families with children between the ages of six and eight – dimethyl trisulfide, a chemical compound that smells foul and sulphurous, came off worst.

Damian Frank’s team then mixed saliva samples with raw cauliflower powder and analyzed the resulting compounds. 

The result: children whose saliva produced high levels of volatile sulfur compounds mostly did not like raw cabbage vegetables. 

However, it was different with adults. From this, the researchers conclude that many people’s taste buds get used to the food over time.

Their conclusion: only the chemical reaction with the saliva makes the vegetables really disgusting and this is why broccoli taste bad.

But don’t worry, ingredients such as cheese, olives or capers can alleviate the disgust factor.

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