Food

Bitter foods

February 21, 2016

Bitter foods are a cosmopolitan bunch, They are loaded with biochemicals such as glucosinolates, tannins, terpenes, isothiocyanates, alkaloids, phenols, isoflavones, flavonoids, catechins, and saponins (all of which can contribute bitter flavours), which help the plants to fight pests.

In humans, bitter herbs can stimulate the appetite, aid digestion, tone up the liver and kidneys, and derail a host of diseases. Including bitter foods in the diet isn’t simply a matter of reviving tradition or taste. Bitter flavoured foods also have a rich history in the healing arts. From the wine infused herbal concoctions used by Ancient Egyptians to the 16th century prescriptions of famous physician Paracelsus and beyond, elixirs brewed from carefully selected bitter herbs have been treasured as cure-all remedies across the ages. Studies have confirmed that getting an adequate amount bitter flavour is important for digestive balance and linked with many related health benefits. Eating bitters regularly has been shown to:

  1. Help digestion
    Production of digestive enzymes in the body can be increased by eating bitter foods. Bitter foods help stimulate our taste receptors on the tongue, which subsequently stimulates enzyme production and bile flow. The better digestion of food, the more nutrients can be absorbed by the body. It also helps to soothe occasional heartburn, bloating and nausea.
  2. Rich in vitamins and minerals
    Vegetables like bitter melon offers a myriad of nutrients that are good for the body. Bitter foods contain vitamin C, K, and A, and minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Bitter vegetables are also rich in fiber, and foliate, but low in sodium and fat.
  3. Against free radicals
    Recent studies have shown that bitter foods, including one of which is a dark chocolate can help fight free radicals in the body. In other words, it can prevent cancer or neurological diseases.
  4. Expel toxins in the liver
    Health care plays an important role on the health of the overall body. Bitter vegetables such as kale and other vegetables contain phytonutrients that may help the liver do its job as balancing hormones, maintaining cholesterol levels, and remove toxins from the blood.Bitter foods also contain sulfur-based compounds which support the natural detoxification pathways in the liver; helping it to do what it is meant to do – keep your body clean and clear.
  5. Reduce sugar cravings and balances the taste buds
    Eating a lot of sugar or sweet foods can give a negative impact to the health of the body, especially if you have problems in controlling blood sugar. Addiction to sugar or sweet foods can be reduced by eating bitter foods.Green tea has also been shown to inhibit fat absorption—the movement of glucose into fat cells, [support healthy] glucose levels after eating a meal, prevent insulin spikes which prevents fat storage, and reduce appetite.

List of some bitter foods and herbs

There are a wide variety of bitter foods and herbs. Some of them are best taken as a tea to help your body register the bitter taste to get the digestive juices flowing. Some bitter foods include:

  • Kale
  • Angelica
  • Dark chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Nettles
  • Dill
  • Sesame
  • Dandelion
  • Horseradish
  • Watercress
  • Parsley
  • Radish
  • Milk thistle
  • Aloe
  • Gentian
  • Cilantro
  • Goldenseal
  • Arugula
  • Bitter melon and gourd
  • Japanese eggplant
  • Turmeric
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Leafy greens
  • Barley
  • Basil
  • Jicama
  • Lettuce
  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint
  • Scutellaria
  • Wormwood
  • Yarrow

Grapefruit Bitters Recipe 

This bitters recipe is perfect for daily use to support healthy digestion. This can be taken straight on a spoon or added to sparkling water.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a large grapefruit 
  • 1 Tablespoon dried artichoke leaves (1 gram) 
  • 1/4 cup dried hawthorne berries (20 grams) 
  • 1/4 cup dried whole hibiscus flowers (7 grams) 
  • 2 Tablespoon dried coriander (5 grams) 
  • 4 dried star anise seeds 
  • 1 Tablespoon dried fennel seed (5 grams) 
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper (3 grams) 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup honey 
  • vodka or brandy 
  • quart sized jar 

Instructions

  1. Cut up the half grapefruit including the fruit and peel.
  2. Add this to a quart jar.
  3. Place the rest of the herbs and spices in the jar.
  4. Add honey to taste.
  5. The sweetness of the honey brings out the flavours in the recipe but is not meant to overpower the bitter flavour.
  6. Fill the jar with vodka or brandy.
  7. Cover and shake well everyday.
  8. Macerate for 4-6 weeks and I suggest tasting it regularly to see when it is to your liking.
  9. Strain and use as required. If you avoid alcohol you could try this with vinegar instead of brandy or vodka.
  10. Keep in mind that it may not preserve very well with the added water content of the grapefruit.

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48 Comments

  • Reply Wendy R. on February 22, 2016 says;

    Awesome post

  • Reply Aria on February 22, 2016 says;

    P, this is yet another lovely Recipe! Your family is lucky 🙂

  • Reply Katherine on February 22, 2016 says;

    Super recipes, as usual!

  • Reply Kamani Malhotra on February 22, 2016 says;

    Beautiful post

  • Reply Jammie de la Cuesta on February 22, 2016 says;

    A very unique and different post! Nice information and recipe

  • Reply Kate Goodspeed on February 22, 2016 says;

    Oh yes please. I’m ready for a refill!

  • Reply Dee on February 22, 2016 says;

    I’m in looooove with this!!

  • Reply Yamani K on February 22, 2016 says;

    Your blog has been one of my favorite discoveries

  • Reply Agnus D on February 22, 2016 says;

    Girl, this is why I heart you! Awesome recipe

  • Reply Tamika on February 22, 2016 says;

    Gonna have to make some of these this weekend! 🙂

  • Reply Prudy on February 22, 2016 says;

    Oh, this is a beautiful thing. I love grapefruit.

  • Reply Elaine Suderman on February 22, 2016 says;

    Amazing recipe

  • Reply Isabella on February 22, 2016 says;

    That looks delicious.

  • Reply Orlene on February 22, 2016 says;

    Thank you! It is a must try.. In my list

  • Reply Rejie Camano Gelera on February 22, 2016 says;

    this looks amazing,

  • Reply Serina on February 22, 2016 says;

    I can only imagine how delicious this recipe will be.

  • Reply Christina @ The Beautiful Balance on February 22, 2016 says;

    Wow! I’ll definitely serve this

  • Reply Stephanie on February 22, 2016 says;

    I love This.

  • Reply Sanjeeta kk on February 22, 2016 says;

    hic-cup !!! Great Recipe 😀

  • Reply Penelope on February 22, 2016 says;

    delicious! Love your post

  • Reply Teresa on February 22, 2016 says;

    I love grapefruit bitters! This is an excellent recipe

  • Reply Anetta on February 22, 2016 says;

    Þetta er mjög mjög gott

  • Reply Elena Poensgen on February 22, 2016 says;

    Thanks! I certainly am going to try this one.

  • Reply stacymarkow on February 22, 2016 says;

    Beautiful post dear

  • Reply Alma on February 22, 2016 says;

    هذا هو لطيف جدا جدا

  • Reply Jessica Grant on February 22, 2016 says;

    Well explained and written post!

  • Reply Eliska on February 22, 2016 says;

    I will definitely give it a shot.

  • Reply Quenby on February 22, 2016 says;

    Just superb

  • Reply Dearna @tohercore on February 22, 2016 says;

    Just tried this! It is delicious

  • Reply Wilma on February 22, 2016 says;

    The best thing

  • Reply Eva on February 22, 2016 says;

    amazing recipes

  • Reply Rain77 on February 22, 2016 says;

    Interesting to try

  • Reply Ruby Ellis on February 22, 2016 says;

    great article!

  • Reply Carla on February 22, 2016 says;

    enjoyed the article as I also enjoy the recipe. definitely a hit with family and friends!

  • Reply Allie B. Steiner on February 22, 2016 says;

    I love using bitters

  • Reply Cassandra on February 22, 2016 says;

    I have a very fond liking to all your posts and recipes of various sought!

  • Reply Zoe on February 22, 2016 says;

    Well to be honest with you, I had never heard of
    a bitter! However I like to try new things and this
    sounds yummy!

  • Reply Fabienne on February 22, 2016 says;

    It is really something you should try

  • Reply Brigitte on February 22, 2016 says;

    I’m in. I have never tried bitters.

  • Reply Shirley on February 22, 2016 says;

    Life is too short! Need to make this and have before i die and regret that i did not do this… 😀

    Nice post

  • Reply Rita on February 22, 2016 says;

    I’ve heard of bitters a lot but never actually personally used them. I would love to get my hands on your recipe though.

  • Reply Grace on February 23, 2016 says;

    An excellent post

  • Reply Prunella on February 23, 2016 says;

    Yes… I was just recently searching for something similar. Thanks for the share

  • Reply Onyz on February 24, 2016 says;

    Beautiful post

  • Reply Dearna @tohercore on February 25, 2016 says;

    Fantastic! I prepared the recipe. It was awesome

  • Reply Sharimah Binte Shariff on February 25, 2016 says;

    Thumbs up! Excellent post. Loved the recipe

  • Reply Kate W on February 25, 2016 says;

    Lovely post indeed

  • Reply Emma Brown on February 25, 2016 says;

    Great post! Tried it yesterday, and it is awesome!

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