Mothers who eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and rice are more likely to have baby girls, according to a new study that could help parents choose the sex of their children.
The Dutch study asked 32 women who already had boys to try a special "little girl diet" high in calcium and magnesium.
This meant eating foods like goat’s cheese salad, vegetable stew and rice pudding. Foods like potatoes and bananas, which have high levels of potassium, that is believed to lead to boys, were restricted.
The result of the five-year project was that 26 women had girls and only six gave birth to boys.
The women were also asked to try and conceive at a certain time in the ovulation cycle.
But the researchers believe that the diet of the women was the strongest factor in achieving 80 per cent girls.
Old wives’ tales already advise women to eat certain foods such as spinach, nuts and broccoli in order to have girls
It is thought that levels of minerals in the blood affect the unfertilised egg, making it more receptive to female chromosomes.
Gender Consult, the Dutch consultantcy that led the research with Delft and Maastricht Universities, is now going to conduct the same experiment with women who have girls and want to have a little boy.
Annet Norlander, a biologist at the centre, said the results of the studies could help people to influence the sex of their child in future.