Bitters are good for your digestion

Plants usually contain herbaceous and bitter substances in addition to the main nutrients. But why? Bitter substances are valuable ingredients. They serve as natural protection for plants against unwanted intruders. And what is good for plant life can also be of benefit for humans: Because a bitter taste can naturally support the human body. Our tongue has about 25 to 30 taste receptor types that can identify bitter tastes. Sweet, salty and umami, on the other hand, are recognized by significantly fewer receptor types.¹ There is a reason why our body is so abundantly equipped with them: Bitters should be part of our balanced diet, because they can stimulate digestion and also control your appetite.

The health impact of bitters

Hippocrates, the famous ancient Greek physician, used the healing power of bitters. About a third of his 263 medicines consisted of bitter remedies.² The personal physician of Emperor Augustus – Antonius Musa – advised the Roman people to eat a bowl full of bitter herbs every evening to help digestion. And Hildegard von Bingen in her writings on medieval herbal medicine also appreciated bitter substances as a universal remedy.³

Even today, many naturopaths rely on the power of bitter substances as part of a balanced diet to maintain the body’s inner balance. Many herbs or fruits and vegetables such as lavender, galangal and angelica are a source of natural bitters.

Where to find bitters

Many spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables contain important quantities of bitters that contribute to your general well-being.

Bitters help digestion, fight cravings and alleviate bloating

Numerous processes happen simultaneaously in your body and the complexity of this miracle is truly awesome. A healthy digestive system is indispensable for the smooth running of your metabolism. It usually works well as long as we provide it with sufficient nutrients from a balanced diet. Bitter substances play an important role within the digestive process. They stimulate digestion from the first bite when the food reaches the palate. The “intestinal brain” receives information in advance about the type of food to be expected so that digestion can best prepare for it.

Did you know?

Bitters, which are found in gentian, for example, generally support our digestion. Bitter substances in dandelion contribute to normal stomach and liver function.

Help your body

A human body is nothing short of a miracle and you should do everything you can to support  its smooth functioning.

Bitters: can they control the way you eat?

It’s not a big deal when you want to have a snack from time to time to  treat yourself. Hpwever, if you wish to control the amount of food you eat, you can try taking bitters when the craving for sweets sets in. An intensely bitter taste can make the yearning for sweets go away.

It is interesting to note that bitters, such as those found in bitter orange fruits, can also stimulate your appetite. This only happens when illness or weakness prevent you from eating enough. When we are “well-fed” this stimulus is not active.

Support your body in its daily work and feel free to use this positive side effects of bitters.

1 M. Behrens, W. Meyerhof: Bitter taste receptors and human bitter taste perception. In: Cellular and molecular life sciences 63, 2006, S. 1501–1509. .J
2 Chandrashekar et al.: The receptors and cells for mammalian taste. In: Nature. 444, Nr. 7117, 2006, S. 288–294.
3 Bühring, Ursel: Praxis-Lehrbuch Heilpflanzenkunde: Grundlagen – Anwendung – Therapie. Stuttgart: Karl F. Haug Verlag. 2014. S. 149. ebd. S. 149-150.