The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is advising US mothers to increase the number of colorful fruits and vegetables they eat while breastfeeding their children. This recommendation comes from a recent Purdue University analysis that finds US women have significantly lower carotenoids in their breast milk than those in countries like Mexico and China. Carotenoids—plant pigments that play key roles in human development—are rich sources of vitamin A and essential for eyes and immune health. Researcher Mario Ferruzzi says, “Evidence is increasing that carotenoids are important for both mothers and infants. Fruit and vegetable consumption appears to be pretty low across the nation. In general, we are just not consuming the recommended amounts.” Women can boost the carotenoid content of their breast milk by upping consumption of fruits and vegetables such as squash, citrus, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens.
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