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Hating Vegetables is Normal

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Veggie haters unite! It turns out that disliking your greens isn't only a defiant move by your childhood self against your exasperated mom, but a normal part of many people's palates. And believe it or not, there's actually an evolutionary reason that you might hate vegetables. Even though getting your daily servings of the rainbow plants of goodness is necessary, the alkaloids found in many plants are a main reason why so many people gag at the thought of a salad.

Alkaloids are a huge group of chemicals (everything is made of chemicals, so don't panic yet) that plants make to protect themselves. The compound defends a plant against attacks from animals and parasites, and even some bacteria, just by making the plant taste yucky. Unfortunately, it also makes the plant taste gross to you! The reason is that alkaloids make a plant taste bitter: think plain coffee, beer, and tonic water. Most people don't naturally like these flavors (unless they've been brought up eating them), because of the evolutionary association to avoid alkaloids.

But it just tastes gross, right? Actually, while alkaloids can be extremely useful, like the stimulation provided coffee, for instance, they can also be downright poisonous. Nightshade also contains a high level of alkaloids. So our primitive inner selves avoid the compound, because to eat it indiscriminately might mean the difference between life and death!

Eat your veggies, but if that's hard for you, you're not alone.

Photo: Pixabay

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