We've all heard of old wive's tales about eating certain food to influence the gender of your baby. But have you ever heard that you should eat bananas for baby boy?
Now, science has proved that there just might be some truth in these stories.
Scientists at UK's Exeter and Oxford universities based their research on the eating habits of 740 first-time pregnant British mums.
Data about these women's nutritional intake was collected for the following key periods: preconception, early pregnancy and late pregnancy.
The study was published in The Royal Society.
Reportedly, the findings seem to confirm certain traditional beliefs related to diet and gender, while disproving others.
Fiona Mathews, who is lead researcher on the study, had this to say: "We were able to confirm the old wives' tale that eating bananas and so having a high potassium intake was associated with having a boy, as was a high sodium intake."
"For the first time, we've shown there is a clear association between a mother's diet and the gender of her infant," she elaborated. "The mother seems to be able to influence the survival of either the sperm or the fertilised egg in its very early stages, probably before it has even implanted in the womb."
High energy intake = high energy little people?
It's not just bananas that assist with the conception of little boys. Researchers also found that 56% of the women with the highest energy intake around the period of conception, had boys.
In other words, "a higher calorie intake prior to conception can increase the chances of having a son from ten to 11 boys in every 20 births."
This was in comparison to just 45% of women with the lowest energy intake.
To break it down further:
- Average calorie intake for mums of sons: 2,413
- Average calorie intake for mums of daughters: 2,283
Other than potassium found in bananas, women who had sons also consumed a higher quantity and larger range of nutrients. These included vitamins C, E and B12, as well as calcium around the time of conception.
Another addition to the diets of mums of boys when they were trying to get pregnant were breakfast cereals. (Hint: If you want a baby boy, add chopped bananas to your morning cereal!)
In contrast, women with more restricted diets were likely to have daughters.
Mathews told New Scientist magazine that the study identified this simple dietary "trick":
"If you want a boy, eat a healthy diet with a high calorie intake, including breakfast."
Sensible eating in pregnancy
Ladies, do keep in mind that all health professionals – including the scientists who led this study – do not recommend that you drastically change your diet with the hope of influencing the gender of your baby. For example, eating too much sodium could be detrimental to your health.
As Mathews says, "If you're looking for a boy, then eating breakfast cereal every day and within safe limits, having a reasonable intake of sodium, potassium and calcium, plus a good intake of protein looks like a sensible option. It's the converse of that if you're hoping for a girl, but again, only within safe limits."
Recommended reading: Tips to Conceive a Baby Girl