Bitter Foods Sweeten Digestion

Bitter Foods Sweeten Digestion

Yes you read that correctly!

We are all acquainted with the 5 different flavours, however the sweet and salty ones dominate our Western diets, and we know excess sugar can be so detrimental to our health.

But that can change by adding in some bitters to your meals.

Why would you want to do that? For a very good reason!

When you put a bitter food into your mouth, you salivate. Try it. Chew on a little piece of dandelion leaf and see what happens. That extra saliva helps break down your food.

Bitter flavoured foods also stimulate the entire digestive process. We have receptors for bitters all along our digestive tract (not only on our tongue). When these receptors get activated, it sends a signal to the brain, which then tells the gastrointestinal system to release the hormone gastrin, which increases gastric acid, bile flow, and numerous other secretions all along your digestive tract. Just about any bitter-tasting herb or food will provide this benefit.

So bitters signal the brain to get the whole digestive tract—the stomach, the liver, the pancreas, and the intestines—ready for the incoming food. It really juices up your appetite too!

Here are 5 simple ways to get more bitters into your diet:

  1. Dilute 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar in a little warm water and drink 15 minutes before meals. Or alternatively, try 1/2 cup of dandelion root coffee – these will prime your digestion for food
  2. Start each meal with a small salad that contains bitter, dark leafy greens such as rocket, silver beet, and chard. Flavour the salad with lemon juice and olive oil
  3. One teaspoon of fenugreek seeds per day is a great way to get more of the bitter balancing taste. You can sauté them in a little oil and then add to your vegetables or just toss them straight into a salad
  4. Add some bitter flavours to your salads with things like dandelion greens, rocket, watercress, radicchio, endive or bitter melon
  5. If you overeat at a restaurant, ask for a shot of angostura bitters. Pour the shot into a glass of water to dilute it. The bitter taste will speed digestion

Bon appetit 🙂