A bit of bitter

Let’s talk about BITTER FOOD. Do you know why bitter foods are good for you?

This week saw the return of our Vege Box after a long summer break. It means we’ll be getting amazing fresh and tasty seasonal veg on our doorstep every fortnight. I love my vege box guys, as many of you know (shout out to Shane & Mindy) and I miss them terribly over the summer when they take a well-deserved break.

What happens when they aren’t around is I have to source my veg from places I usually won’t – I get them from supermarkets as it’s convenient (life needs to be easy, even on holidays).

Apart from the additional cost, the thing that really upsets me is that this supermarket vege doesn’t taste like ANYTHING. Or, all the vegetable produce is very sweet. Modern-day farming means we have bred the bitter taste out of many things as people freak out if something is bitter (the mind sends alerts that we’re eating something bad for us).

Why herbalists love bitters

However, as a herbalist, I am literally a Bitter Dealer and encourage people to include bitter foods as much as possible for many reasons.

Our herbal medicines are often very bitter – hands up all those herbal tonic drinkers! There are so many reasons WHY including these bitter tastes are good for us – namely, DIGESTION is incredibly improved by the taste of something bitter.

So, we got this incredible rocket/arugula/roquette this week in the veg box. It is sooooo spicy and bitter and delicious – “Just like it used to be in the olde days” – if you can find rocket that tastes like this from the supermarket I’ll eat 10kg of it in one sitting. Think about this next time you’re munching on some broccoli or Brussel sprouts – these plants used to score high the bitter scale…

Other bitter plants include:

  • Artichokes
  • Ginger
  • Radicchio
  • Chicory
  • Kale
  • Citrus fruits
  • Radishes
  • Cacao (yes chocolate!)
  • Coffee
  • Dandelion greens or root
  • Green tea
  • Cabbage

Why are Bitters so good for you?

We have bitter receptors on our tongue – part of our taste buds. Once bitter foods hit these receptors our whole digestion process starts! The liver gets going with bile and enzyme production, healthy gastric secretions are produced (which help you break down food), insulin (the thing that regulates blood sugar) starts to work effectively and we can start to enjoy healthy digestion.

The bitter taste improves gastric emptying (how fast we digest) so they are great for any upper digestive dysfunction like reflux or heartburn. So imagine just eating sweet-tasting, soft while fluffy food, or food without anything bitter at all? What happens is our digestion just will not really get going. (I’m looking at you the Standard Australian Diet – SAD).

I beg you – help your digestion and source some veg that actually tastes like something. Or come and try some herbal medicine to help with your digestion.

NEW LEAF NATUROPATHIC HEALTH IS A WHOLISTIC HEALTHCARE CLINIC BASED IN SYDNEY’S INNER WEST. OUR UNIVERSITY EDUCATED NATUROPATHS, HERBALISTS AND NUTRITIONIST LOVE TO HELP YOU REGAIN YOUR HEALTH. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY TO GET SOME HELP.

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