Is Good Green Poisonous?

Broccoli head

Is Good Green Poisonous to Us?

Consider that bitterness is often associated in the wild with poisons, something to be avoided. Plants produce a huge range of bitter phytochemicals.

What are phytochemicals?

Phytochemicals are constitutive metabolites that enable plants to overcome temporary or continuous threats integral to their environment, while also controlling essential functions of growth and reproduction. All of these roles are generally advantageous to the producing organisms but the inherent biological activity of such constituents often causes dramatic adverse consequences in other organisms that may be exposed to them. Nevertheless, such effects may be the essential indicator of desirable properties, such as therapeutic potential, especially when the mechanism of bioactivity can be delineated.
-Science Direct, Phytochemicals: The good, the bad and the ugly?

Some of the phytochemicals act as natural pesticides to keep us from eating them. The fact that they taste bitter is a clear warning signal: keep away.

So there is good reason to dislike and avoid bitter tasting foods. What does this mean for the bitter tasting vegetables proclaimed as healthful? Those from the brassica family are so bitter that even as adults we struggle to ingest them!  Is this good green poisonous?

The brassica family vegetables include:Are Broccoli and cabbage good green poisonous?

  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli

These vegetables taste bitter because they contain chemicals that are potentially good green poisonous.

But they won’t harm us because the chemicals present in them are at low doses that are not toxic. In fact, they will activate stress responses in our bodies to switch on genes that protect and repair.

Phytochemicals investigated for their bad properties in poisoning animals may eventually prove to have good  qualities of benefit to humans as therapeutic drugs.

For a very in-depth report, download the above cited Phytochemicals: The good, the bad and the ugly?

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Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing

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