The Beauty of Bitter Foods
THE TONGUE HAS FIVE TASTES: SWEET, SALTY, UMAMI, SOUR, AND—THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR TOTAL RESTORATIVE HEALING—BITTER
The flavors of summer usually make one think of juicy fruits dripping down chins, wine spritzes flowing all afternoon, and late night ice cream runs. Bitter flavors—like the kind that come from kale, dill, arugula, turmeric, raw cacao, orange pith and peel and chicory root—however, are probably not high on your list of summer cravings. The prospect of eating raw dandelion greens, for instance (or drinking their juice, sans a balancing splash of coconut water) doesn't have the same appeal of, say, a sweet apple juice. But that bitter flavor is in fact responsible for deep, restorative, total-body healing.
Why are bitter foods so good for you?
Research indicates that bitter foods have the opposite effect on our meridians as sugary foods, because they stabilize both hunger and blood sugar. Bitter foods also stimulate the liver to produce bile—a super important part of seamless digestion. When bitter foods are ingested, they stimulate the taste receptors in the mouth, subsequently stimulating enzyme production and bile flow. Bile emulsifies fats and assimilates fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K to become more readily available to the areas of the body where they’re needed most. Therefore, bitter foods are rockstars in helping you absorb more nutrients, more often.
And bitter foods are total liver lovers; they're immediately tonifying, detoxifying, regenerating, and promote natural cleansing. Not only do they provide a generous helping of vitamins A, C and K, they also flood the body full of calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate, fiber and plant sodium.
Since bitter foods in their fully raw state aren’t the most pleasurable thing to consume, we integrate them into Sakara meals in nutritionally designed, scientifically delicious ways. They also play a big role in the Sakara Level II: Detox cleanse meals, along with other liver-nourishing supplements like NAC and taurine. Learning to love these bitter flavors isn't as hard as it sounds when you're focused on flooding your body with rainbow-drenched plant varietals: think raw kale salads with sweet Youth + Beauty dressing, bitter cacao and Ayurvedic herbs like gymnema sylvestre in the Metabolism Super Powder, or parsley and purple cauliflower on the Heirloom Brassicas Flatbread with Rejuvenating Pesto.
So next time you back away from the bitter foods, remember how much they stimulate excellent digestion, liver cleansing, and ultimately support your quest to build the best, healthiest, most capable body of your dreams. Food is medicine.
NUTRITION MYTHS, DEBUNKED