The bitter—the better
Health benefits of bitter foods
Bitter foods… not exactly a palate pleaser unless they’re blended—and semi hidden—among layers of flavours and textures. Initially, you’ll tolerate them and over time, you’ll develop a taste for them and here’s why: because they are liver-loving foods.
The liver is often called the “King of Organs” as everything we consume passes through this vital organ. When you consume bitter foods, it’s like throwing a lifeline to your liver.
Energy levels rise, your immune system functions better and metabolism improves because excess toxins are eliminated. As well, bile production improves, which leads to better digestion along with a host of other benefits—all as a result of improved liver function.
But getting your daily dose of bitter foods can be challenging. Their taste is pungent—your mouth puckers, cheeks rise and eyes squint as you search for the nearest garbage can and you think, “Whoa… what the hell was that?”
Organic dandelion greens are among the best, but the last time I saw someone munching on a handful of these willowy gems, it was a colleague who took a small piece to appease me.
However, the initial shock your taste buds experience tames over time and with a little fortitude, that healthy salad just ‘leveled-up’—significantly.
You may be surprised when you drop a few pounds, feel less irritable, sleep better, experience less hot flashes and digest your meals better. There is no downside—it just takes time to develop a taste for them.
Leafy greens and artichoke leaf are powerhouses when looking to support a healthy liver. And here are few more to add to your grocery list: dandelion greens, spinach, radishes, mustard greens, beets, beet greens, endive, grapefruit and lemons.
Bitter foods can be chopped and tossed into a green salad, blended into a smoothie, added to a stir-fry, omelette or a grain salad with quinoa and chickpeas. Start your day with a mug of hot water and lemon juice… experiment and discover what is most pleasing to your palate.
As a nutritionist, people often ask me what’s the best way to cleanse their body, which begins with the liver. Typically, they ask the question while holding a prepackaged cleanse kit that lasts somewhere between seven to 21 days and often involves a restricted diet.
Although there are many great kits on the market, an easy long-term solution seeks to eat liver-loving foods. You cleanse the body everyday: gently, consistently, organically and thoughtfully.
The next time you decide to turn over a new leaf and “eat healthy,” include bitter foods. Don’t you think it’s time? This overloaded, overworked and under-estimated machine has a mighty big job when you consider it’s involved in over 500 functions (yes, that’s right, 500). Do you really need one more reason?
More Inspiration: You might also enjoy this article on the benefits of olive oil in fighting breast cancer!
Author: Mary Savage is a Certified Holistic Nutritional Practitioner. She is a wellbeing counselor for a national grocery store chain, a nutritional consultant, journalist and life-long learner. She was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder in 2006— prompting her to study nutrition.