Sour and bitter foods may protect against diseases but are less appealing to the taste buds, the Environment News Service reports. A recent review by Dr. Adam Drewnowski, at the University of Washington (UW) Nutritional Sciences Program reports that phytonutrients, found in foods such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, mustard greens and arugula, although associated with cancer prevention and other health benefits, taste bitter, acrid or astringent. Humans and other animals have always associated bitter or sour flavours with spoiled or poisonous food which is why food manufacturers routinely remove these compounds from plant foods through selective breeding and a variety of debittering processes. The solution, Drewnowski states, is in following the example of Mediterranean cuisine. For generations, cooks in Greece, Italy and France have coped with bitter vegetables by seasoning them lightly with salt and dashes of olive oil. The oil in particular blunts the bitter flavours of phytonutrients. Full findings are published in the December 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.