Bitters are a bonanza for your body. I don’t know about you but I simply love bitter foods! Why? Because bitter flavours stimulate your digestion top down. In fact every process of your digestion needs a little bit of bitter to be better.
Digestion begins in your mind and with your senses being tantalized. Seeing a lemon, or smelling a freshly cut lime, will start you salivating. You know, that sensation as your mouth increases saliva production with the mere thought and/or smell of a bitter food. Once it touches your palate, all bets are off cause you can’t stop the salivating now. The whole purpose is to begin the digestive process that should always be top to bottom. Skip a step and whoa nelly, you are in trouble. Saliva contains alpha-amalase, a digestive enzyme which acts by beginning the break down of carbohydrates in your mouth.
Once the bitter hits you where it matters, in your stomach, it tantalizes the receptors that produce stomach acid. This increased production will help you break down that delicious steak you just enjoyed as you need good amounts of stomach acid to break down protein. Without the stomach acid you are left at the end of the day with smelly farts that are of the “rotten egg” variety.
As the bitter finds its way deeper into your digestive tract, what I like to call your D-Spot (stay tuned for my upcoming book!). It’ll give your gall bladder the green light to dump bile, that is key for fat digestion. Bile has multiple benefits and the more that is dumped the better, as bile can be healing for the D-Spot but most importantly it’ll stimulate your digestive tract to move and for you to poop! Of course if you know me well this is one of my favourite topics of conversation.
So what foods should you focus on to increase the bitter in your life? Here’s the list and aim to add it into your diet daily!
- Dandelion Greens – (if you pick them yourself make sure it’s not in a place that has been sprayed with pesticides/chemicals, Hello!)
- Arugula – Probably my fav, I love it in a salad or as a topper for a gluten-free cracker or sandwich. Sometimes I add it to a breakfast meal with eggs! It’s peppery flavour shines with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
- Lemon and Lime – these citrus have a bitterness that makes you cringe. Use them in a salad dressing mixed with olive oil and as an alternative to vinegar.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – I love this one, but it’s only good to eat/drink fermented foods (like vinegars) if your gut is in good shape. Fermented foods in a fouled up gut, will cause even more problems and mess up your digestion.
- Dill – I love this herb chopped up in my salads, I always feel that it digests just a little bit better.
- Kale – A superfood from the Brassica variety, which means it packs not only a bitter punch, but an antioxidant and hormonal regulating effect similar to that of broccoli. Try a kale chip recipe, so easy to make!
- Green Tea – The King of herbs and teas. The bitter aspects of green tea, will make you dump your bile each and every time. If you feel nauseated with taking green tea on an empty stomach watch out, that’s a sign of increased toxicity. Start by diluting your tea a little more to slowly dump the toxins out. Over time as you get healthier the bitter will get better.
- Coffee – A little bit can be good, but while on a cleanse avoid this bitter. When you re-introduce have a little coffee here and there, but never before a meal, the mix of caffeine with the bitter will actually stunt your digestive tract. The high amounts of caffeine in coffee stress your system and shut down your stomach acid production (exactly what you don’t want to do when eating a high protein diet). Be mindful of this friend that has a few foe qualities.
Don’t let yourself be bitter, but get better by adding bitter into your diet. If you’re not used to the flavours, start adding them little by little into your meals. Over time, you will adapt to the taste, and I promise you’ll see you won’t be able to live without it. Balance in life is about experiencing all the tastes. Work on your health practice daily and don’t give up. Challenge yourself to trying new things that you haven’t before, the novelty will keep your life exciting and fresh.
With much love and light, illuminating your health practice,