Bitter foods help activate the liver and encourage the production of digestive enzymes and juices so the stomach can better digest food. With the birth of modern food processing, most of our food’s bitterness was stripped away in favor of salty and sweet flavors. Because of this, bitterness is lacking and our digestive systems don’t always operate as well as they should.
Taking digestive bitters before a large meal can help stoke the digestive fire and replace the bitter flavor that is missing from our food. Consuming bitters at least 15 minutes before eating has been shown to aid digestion, stimulate bile juices, and calm the nerves. Not only that, but when you taste bitters, your heart rate slows down, and your glandular and intestinal activity increases priming your stomach to digest efficiently (parasympathetic nervous system turns on).
WHAT ARE BITTERS?
Bitters are highly concentrated liquid tonics made from a variety of plants. A strong alcohol is infused with spices, roots, tree bark, seeds, fruit, herbs, flowers, and berries to create a potent and flavorful liquid. Bitters were originally created and put on the market for medicinal purposes making claims to restore your health; this is because bitter flavors stimulate digestion which help improve many digestive related problems from gases and stomach aches to reducing sugar cravings, and potentially balancing appetite and helping with nausea.
THE BITTER BENEFITS:
Because the modern diet is mostly made of sweet and salty foods, we don't eat as many bitter foods anymore. In fact, a lot of normally bitter foods may have been modified over the years to reduce their bitterness. Eating bitter foods regularly, like dandelion leaf or arugula, has been shown to help improve and sooth gas, bloating, occasional heartburn, calm an upset stomach, balance appetite, curb sugar cravings, regulate bowel movements, support live and healthy skin, and more. Bitter foods can help stimulate your liver and gallbladder, which improves digestion; this, in turn, eases your tummy and can help make you feel better in general.
Side Note/Disclaimers/Warnings: This post is meant to be informative only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition. You should either avoid or be extremely cautious with bitters (talk to your doctor before using) if you are pregnant or have kidney stones, stomach ulcers, gallbladder disease, GERD, gastritis, or any other digestive condition.
10 BENEFITS OF BITTERS
1) Improves protein digestion and mineral absorption
2) Improves breakdown of fats and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K
3) Reduce gas and bloating
4) Relieve occasional heartburn
5) Promote regular bowel movements
6) Reduce food sensitivities
7) Breakdown microbes and prevent SIBO & yeast overgrowth
8) In Ayurvedic tradition, bitters are known to reduce sweet cravings and regulate blood sugar
9) In Chinese medicine, bitters are cooling and remove “heat” from the body (aka inflammation)
10) Eclectics promote digestive bitters for improved detoxification, healthy skin, improved joint pain and healthy mood.
WHEN TO TAKE BITTERS:
Bitters are best taken before a meal to support digestion. Take a dropper full in a small amount of water, tea or soda water shortly before a meal. If you suffer from heartburn, start with a very low dose and increase slowly as tolerated. Bitters are not recommended if you suffer from gastritis, stomach ulcer, gallbladder disease or kidney disease.
Use bitters for occasional heartburn and indigestion, sipping a small amount after a meal. Use them for gas and bloating, by taking them before you eat to ignite the digestive fire, and support the production of hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile, and help ensure normal bowel habits.
Bitters I like...
(I am not affiliated with any brand and this is simply a starting point for reference. If you would like to try any of the products discussed in this blog, they are linked and it is at your own volition...ENJOY!)
Check out Urban Moonshine Organic products and find out more about bitters here andFlora bitters.
Tis the season! Enjoy and ALWAYS count your blessings
Until next time
Yoga Certified, C-PT, Holistic Chiropractor providing a path for peaceful healing.