Think you hate the taste of vegetables?
You’re not alone: Our taste buds are wired to detect minute amounts of bitterness in food, a trait that protected cave dwellers from dining on poisonous wild plants. On top of that, one in four adults has a genetic quirk that makes her a “super-taster,” with up to six times more concentrated taste buds and a particular sensitivity to bitter chemicals. Unfortunately, many of the healthiest vegetables taste unappetizingly bitter because of natural chemicals that give them their healing oomph, and too many of us frequently skip the following heart-protecting, cancer-fighting foods. Next: What to pick, how to cook it, and why it’s essential.
Try it: Mix grated beets with lemon juice, golden raisins, and celery. Or roast with balsamic vinegar. Health perks: In animal studies, the pigment responsible for the beet’s purplish-red hue, called betacyanin, disarmed cancer-triggering toxins. The earthy taste of beets comes from geosmin, a type of chemical that also has cancer fighting powers. Here are more surprising benefits of beets (plus a few risks).