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We are what we eat. But what exactly are we eating? The Agriculture Department has been tackling food chemistry research since 1892. It issues results partly through the Web site of the Nutrient Data Laboratory at nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp. The lab maintains the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, now in Release 15, to store data on food composition. The latest addition to the system is a database of the flavonoid content of selected foods.

Flavonoids may help prevent heart disease, cancer and other illnesses, the lab reports. Users can search the flavonoid database online or obtain it as a Microsoft Access 2000 file. The national nutrient database indicates that a 3.5-ounce glass of red table wine contains no cholesterol, 0.083 milligrams of niacin and 310.03 kilojoules of energy, among other vitamins and nutrients. Sante!

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