Bitter tasting foods are less popular than sweet, but far healthier

Sweet or bitter?

In life, choose sweet. But when it comes to food, go with bitter.

Bitter is usually better for you because the compounds that make foods bitter also make them healthy.

That’s according to food developer and taste expert Barb Stuckey. In a recent Wall St. Journal article, she highlights three bitter compounds…

* Carotenoids — anti-inflammatory compounds found in spinach, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes

* Flavonoids — antioxidant compounds found in cranberries, kale, red apples, and red wine

* Polyphenols — antioxidant compounds found in green tea, red wine, and rhubarb

Bitter foods also contain phytonutrients called salvestrols. These compounds protect plants from insects and bacteria. But in humans, they appear to kill cancer cells.

Stuckey says that less than 10% of our total calories come from bitter foods. Not much mystery there. That’s because most people tend to choose sweet over bitter.

Sources:
“For Healthy Eating, Bitter is Better” Barb Stuckey, Wall St. Journal, 5/25/12, online.wsy.com

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