Why Bitter Foods are Important for your Health
The bitter taste is definitely not the taste we all crave, but we should. Bitter tastes for centuries have been associated with “ medical” or “digestive.” In ancient European traditions, bitter is added to foods to increase digestion powers; in China bitter is added to most of the dishes and in Mediterranean diet herbs and greens are also a main ingredients in cooking.
Whereas sweets causes a spike in blood sugar, insulin and hunger, research shows that bitter have the opposite effect, by reducing hunger and blood sugar.
In Ayurveda the bitter taste is a must to be included in every meal, here are some of the benefits:
1) Cleansing to the body: Kills germs and clears parasites from the GI track in addition to clearing congestion and purify the blood.
2) Eliminate fat and toxins: bitter stimulates the digestive system by promoting the release of digestive enzymes needed to help the body breakdown proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Hence we have a better gut function and immunity, less gas, bloating and constipation.
3) Packed with vitamins and minerals: Vit A,C and K and minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, and rich in fiber.
4) Balance the taste buds and reduce cravings: Our diet relies mainly on sweet, sour and salty taste. Bitter activates the taste buds and lead to satiety.
So adding bitter to your meal is really important: amaranth leaves, arugula, beet greens, endive, broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, swiss card, frisee, radicchio, turnip greens and watercress are some of the most common which can be used in soups, salads, stir-fry or smoothie or just eat them raw.
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Here a great recipe for a nutrition-packed smoothie:
Dandelion Green Smoothie Recipe
1 cup water or Almond milk
1 apple, cored and diced or 1 cup strawberries or blueberries
1 fresh or frozen medium banana
1 cup dandelion greens
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Place all the ingredients into your blender and blend for 30-40 seconds or until the desired consistency is reached. Enjoy!