Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Bring Back the Bitter Taste

Have you noticed that the modern diet has way less foods that are bitter in flavor. In fact farmers are growing the bitter out of greens and other vegetables. Apparently over the past 100 years, the bitter taste has been selectively removed from our modern meals.

This means our receptors for bitter taste are not being used - these receptors appear on the tongue, throughout the digestive system and even on the pancreas. We actually have 25 bitter receptors in our gastrointestinal tract but only 1 receptor for a sweet taste and 1 for the umami taste.

When something bitter hits our tongue, a message is sent to the gut to stimulate the production of enzymes and to start the digestive process. Today, without this important flavor, we are aren't getting the vital stimulation, and as a result, digestive issues, cravings for sweets, or weight gain can happen.

A bitter taste is one of the important 5 flavors in Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with salty, sweet, sour, and pungent. Bitter corresponds to the season of summer, and is the flavor of the Fire element. Bitter is a powerful mover especially for the heart and small intestine. Of course, too much can be damaging. Coffee is bitter and overdoing it can spike blood pressure levels and affect heart health. In the long term coffee drains our reserves of energy.

Traditionally, bitter foods - greens, herbs, and roots - were brewed into a tonic.  This tonic was taken after a meal to help the digestive pocess. Bitter greens and herbs were also used after the long winter months to detox the system, and provide important nutrients.

Bitter foods have been known throughout history to have powerful medicinal properties

Here are some of the ways that bitters can boost your system

Help to stop over eating
Control sugar cravings and excess hunger
Stimulate the liver to produce bile which makes it work more effeciently
Increase nutritional absoption
Support a smooth and healthy digestion
Protect against cancer, diabetes,and heart disease
Promote healthy blood sugar levels
Improve energy and endurance
Provide plenty of vitamins and minerals

Bitter Tasting Foods 
that can be easily included in our meals

Dandelion greens
Radish greens
Mustard greens
Carrot tops

Orange and lemon rind
Green olives - traditionally prepared

Daikon (smaller ones)
Cucumbers (sometimes)


Sesame seeds especially black

Grain coffee
Green tea

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