Many people think of bitters as an unpleasant sensation on our taste buds and I have to be honest, I often agree. Although, the more I learn about the bitter flavor, the more appreciation and tolerance I have for it. It bears so many gifts to keep our systems running healthier and more smoothly.
Bitters are important for many Americans who don't get this unique flavor in their diet. Many cultures have staple bitter foods that they eat such as dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, bitter melon, sesame, Jerusalem artichoke, and the list goes on. However, here in the US, we tend to favor the sweet flavor. Sugar is in so many of our foods whether it tastes sweet or it's just a hidden ingredient. Although the occasional sweet treat is nice, it is not good for us in excessive amounts. That being said, bitter is making a comeback which is wonderful in my opinion and you will find out why as you read on.
Did you know that there are bitter receptors on the tongue, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract? These receptors activate the digestive process by stimulating your digestive juices. These plants stimulate the entire digestive process including absorption and elimination. Bitters increase gastric HCL production, bile secretion, and excretion. It also increases intestine and pancreatic juices. These processes are all crucial to the body operating smoothly and at its best. It affects more than digestion. It also can help in the relief of maladies like arthritis, auto immune diseases, anxiety, blood sugar regulation, cholesterol, etc. When the gut is not properly balanced, everything else in our bodies experiences hardship. Here are eight more reasons Digestive Bitters are amazing....
Benefits for adding Bitters to your diet:
1. Encourages HCL production, bile, and digestive enzyme production.
2. Helps relieve heartburn and reflux.
3. Relieves and minimizes gas and bloating.
4. Helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
5. Supports healthy skin and liver function.
6. Regulates bowel movements and prevents constipation.
7. Balances appetite. Including reduction of sugar cravings.
8.Increases absorption of fat soluble vitamins and digestion of other fats.
Bitter foods to add into your diet:
Some Bitter Herbs for Digestion Support:
-Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)
-Burdock Root (Articum lappa)
-Hops (Humulus lupulus)
-Artichoke Leaf (Cynara scolymus)
-Gentian Root (Gentiana lutea)
-Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)
-Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
-Angelica Root (Angelica archangelica)
-Orange Peel (Citrus spp.)
It's great to eat bitters in your meal but if you don't do that regularly, keep a bottle of of the liquid extract on your kitchen table and take a bit before your meal to activate the digestive process. It's easy to do and the benefits are plentiful! Recently I made my first batch of digestive bitters, which you can find here (Mama's Lemon & Lavender Digestive Bitters).