Air Date: Week of November 24, 2000
Living On Earth’s Cynthia Graber reports on the health benefits of bitter tasting vegetables.
GRABER: As you plan your holiday meals, don't forget the vegetables, even the ones that don't taste so great. Research shows the bitter taste that accompanies vegetables like brussel sprouts, spinach, mustard greens, and cabbage is caused by chemicals called phytonutrients. These are the same chemicals that give a bitter flavor to red wine and dark chocolate. And while phytonutrients may be hard to swallow, they're associated with cancer prevention and other health benefits. The food industry has spent years trying to breed out the bitter taste from these vegetables. Scientists think humans have a natural aversion to bitter flavor, since it's associated with spoiled or poisonous food. But food lovers in the Mediterranean know how to get around this dilemma of good taste versus good for you. They season these bitter pills with olive oil and a dash of salt to mellow the strong flavor. That's this week's health update. I'm Cynthia Graber.
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