Beans could be among red wine and colourful fruits, berries and vegetables as nutritious cancer- and heart disease-fighting foods, U.S. Department of Agriculture research has shown. Scientists discovered the antioxidant potential in certain flavonoids found in the bean coat. Flavonoids are the coloured pigments that may be the protective factor in red wine and other foods. The discovery was made while studying bean colour, a quality factor for which industry has exacting standards. Scientists found eight flavonoids in the bean coat, six of which were particularly strong antioxidants. They also found a link between one of the flavonoids, a colour gene, and resistance to bean mosaic disease, which is a major threat to bean farmers. This is the first time such a link has been made. Results of the study were published in the September issue of Agricultural Research magazine.