Bitter Foods


Many times we get used to having a very sweet life and it can even make it difficult for us to eat bitter foods. However, if you are looking for good health, their consumption will always be necessary, since they are sources of nutrients that allow us to cleanse our body, in addition to contributing to its best performance.

Bitter foods and herbs have the ability to stimulate digestive juices and help in better digestion of food. This is because bitter foods are able to stimulate the taste receptors, which are found on the tongue, to then stimulate more enzyme production and bile flow. Better digestion of food also promotes greater absorption of nutrients, since it is not the amount of food that we consume that matters, but the amount of nutrients that we absorb.

It is always recommended to have a balanced diet with a wide variety of foods. However, if you have digestive problems, you should consume bitter foods such as dandelion in salads before a large meal.

Another classification of foods can be made from the flavors. There are four types: bitter, salty, sweet and sour. Foods with a bitter taste are especially vegetables (artichokes, pumpkins, Swiss chard, asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers…). There are also drinks with this flavor: coffee, beer or lemon juice. It is a flavor that is not accepted by part of the population and the proof of this is that it is often mixed with sugar. The reason is that the taste buds of the tongue have a certain rejection of certain plant substances in these foods and it is believed that it is an evolutionary mechanism to detect the bitter taste of poisons. This would explain why children are not very fond of eating vegetables.

It is very interesting how ancient Chinese and Indian diets regularly included bitter foods due to their health benefits. You can see this today because bitter greens like chicory, dandelion, rapini, escarole, kale, daikon, and arugula have phytonutrients that promote better liver function, control cholesterol, help balance hormones, detoxify the blood, and improve fat metabolism.

In general, bitter greens are high in nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. They are also rich in folic acid, fiber and low in fat and sodium.

In general, bitter foods and drinks have little acceptance. Chocolate without sugar or milk is bitter and not very popular. We peel the oranges because their skin is bitter. Apparently, lettuce in the past was bitter and now its original flavor has been made to disappear. The tonic has a characteristic bitter taste because it contains quinine, a substance used to combat malaria. And a curiosity about the bitter taste is what happens with the shampoo, which has this flavor to prevent children from eating it.