The Virtues of Bitters
The Virtues of Bitters
And why we all should be taking them!
Bitter is one of the 5 basic taste sensations, along with sweet, salty, sour, and umami.
Bitter is such an important taste for stimulating digestion! Traditionally, a meal beginning or ending with a green salad would provide bitters needed to stimulate digestion. In our modern culture, however, there is a decreased intake of bitter vegetables and an avoidance of the bitter taste.
When bitters are taken, bitter taste receptors on the back of the tongue are triggered and a message is sent to the central nervous system to stimulate digestive processes.
If you're a super taster you might notice bitter in foods that other people don't and might not like certain foods because the bitterness is overpowering!
The bitter compounds are found in many plant foods. The chemical components that make up this bitter part of plants are alkaloids, quinine and other tannic containing molecules.
Bitters in general are used to stimulate appetite, improve gastric secretions which makes the stomach more acidic and thus improves digestion of key elements like protein, B12, and minerals, and increases peristalsis moving food through the GI.
The bitter taste is impossible to escape whether in a drink, tincture or in your food. However, the after effects of taking bitters are even more striking than the taste. Once the drops hit the back of the tongue you can feel a warming sensation going straight down to your stomach, gallbladder, and upper GI tract and then slowly down through the rest of your GI settling below the belly button.
Bitters help us with a whole host of symptoms and conditions. David Hoffman, in his book Medical Herbalism, suggests that bitters can even help improve cognitive function and can be beneficial for the thyroid. This works because of two pathways. One by ridding the body of toxins through the liver and gallbladder. The other by better digestion and absorption of nutrients through stimulating gastric secretions and increasing motility.
How to get bitters everyday:
Take bitters in capsules or tincture with each meal. (Contact me to find out how to get yours.)
Drink a bitter mocktail.
Eat your greens.
Try bitters today and see how much better you can feel!