As far as I’m concerned every time I make myself a green juice I get more than a mere suspicion: it has to be good for me otherwise why all the pain of drinking this gross tasting stuff?
And what about broccoli? I eat them everyday and I’m accustomed to the taste but I cannot say that I find them to be the better tasting food on the planet. But as they are one of the most healthy food on the planet I just go for it thinking that it’s totally worth to sacrifice the taste for the health.
Not to mention Brussel Sprouts...my food nightmare.
So the suspicion that there must be a correlation between bad taste and healthy benefits of food grew in me to a point of almost certainty.
And, I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG! In fact, a recent study conducted by a team of researches of the University of Washington confirmed that since the phytonutrients (that have been long associated with cancer prevention and other health benefits) have a bitter, acid or astringent taste the food industry has worked over the decades to remove them.
"Many people don't like to eat vegetables, and the feeling is mutual," Dr. Adam Drewnowski, director of the University of Washington Nutritional Sciences Program said in an interview to the Science Daily. "Plants protect themselves against being eaten by secreting natural pesticides and other bitter-tasting toxins. In small amounts, the phenols, flavnoids, isoflavones and other chemicals are proving to be good for us.”
A dislike of these flavors has been ingrained in most people by nature. Humans have long associated bitter or sour flavors with spoiled or poisonous food.
That is why food manufacturers routinely remove these compounds from plant foods through selective breeding and a variety of debittering processes.
“The fact that the amount of bitter plant compounds in the current American diet is so small is a reflection of the achievements of the agricultural industry. Debittering foods, either chemically during processing, or by breeding bitterness out of such things as broccoli and zucchini, has been a focal point of the industry for decades.” Dr. Drewnowski said.
Bottom line is that we are no longer accustomed to those tastes and we have settled for smoother ones.
So how to get back on the right track? Using some of the secret that modern gastronomy thought us: by seasoning bitter vegetables with olive oil and spices you can achieve to cover up the bitterness of without renouncing to the health benefits.
I, for instance, season steamed broccoli with black pepper and olive oil and by doing so I manage to cover almost all of the bitter taste.
When I make my raw kale salad I always add some avocado to get a smoother the taste.
My advice is to try different flavor combinations until you find the one that you can enjoy (or else do it for the sake of your health!)
The Iron You