When it comes to food sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune disease, and most health disorders, it all starts in the gut. In modern culture, we are pretty much unaware of digestive bitters and how invaluable they are for gut health. I know I was. While supplements like digestive enzyme and probiotic capsules are great for boosting gut health quickly when first starting a gut healing protocol, I always want to know what we can do food wise to save money and get holistic nutrition in the body. In my search for how to maintain a healthy gut, I stumbled upon digestive bitters.
What do digestive bitters do?
In our sugar and excitotoxic food dependence, we don’t think of bitter as a pleasant flavor and something to seek out. However, most other cultures around the world have a bitter food at least daily. They obviously know something we have forgotten in modern culture. Bitter foods stimulates the entire digestive system from our saliva being able to more effectively start the breakdown of carbohydrates, hydrochloric acid being pumped into our stomachs in appropriate amounts, and increases bile production. (source) (source)
The benefits of digestive bitters are pretty amazing and include:
- Higher absorption of nutrition from our foods
- Especially vitamins A, D, K, E and B12
- Reduce incidences of heartburn
- Increased fat digestion, which is particularly important for those who have had their gallbladders removed or are concerned about their gallbladder health
- Cleansing of the liver
- Reduction in gas, bloating, and constipation
- Balancing blood sugar levels
- Appetite regulation
- Promotes healthy skin
Pretty awesome right?! Deficiencies in fat soluble nutrients, gallbladder issues, sluggish liver, constipation run pretty rampant these days. It’s nice to know we have a solution that doesn’t cause other health issues.
What are digestive bitters?
Digestive bitters are roots and plants that are bitter in flavor but are specifically known for aiding in digestion. Some you may have heard of, some you may not have.
List of bitter herbs you may have heard of are:
- milk thistle
Other bitter herbs include:
- and gentian
Peppermint and chamomile most of us know help ease digestive issues, and if you are into natural health at all, you’re probably aware of milk thistle and dandelion for liver cleansing. The second list is a bit more out of our modern day knowledge of herbal remedies. I find it all absolutely fascinating. Learn more about each digestive bitter over at Love To Know.
How to use digestive bitters
You can get digestive bitters in tonic form, teas, or in everyday foods like dark leafy greens. Everyday bitters include endive, chicory, arugula, radicchio, and dandelion greens. You don’t have to eat a salad of just these greens to benefit from them. You can add a little in for a bit of a peppery flavor along with your romaine, spinach, and baby greens. You also have teas from Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Chamomile, and Peppermint you can consume. If you are looking for something more potent when constipated or experiencing stomach upset, I recommend a tonic like Urban Moonshine or Swedish Bitters. Follow the recommended dosages.*
*If you have any questions, please contact your Naturopathic Physician or holistic practitioner versed in digestive bitters and their uses.
Have you or do you currently use digestive bitters? Let us know your experience below!