I had posted in the book thread on the Roundtable Forum, that I was reading some books on bitters and the herbal components in various drinks, and some people had shown interest.
I’m currently making my first batch of digestive bitters as per a recipe in my book. Just strained the last of my herbs for my blend tonight.
Bitters have always been an interest of mine, as I feel like it’s such an integral part to our bodies working properly. And it’s also a nuanced taste that our culture seems to have ignored in favor of sweets.
The moment bitters touch the bitter taste buds, they send a reflex signal through the vagus nerve directly to the liver. Here’s a little picture from www.123rf.com showing where the taste buds are distributed.
Right at the back of the tongue.
The bitter tastes, essentially, start the entire digestive process. With that starting up, there’s a laundry list of things that it helps from there.
It helps curb sugar and carb cravings. It helps to cleanse the liver, which can help with removing inflammatory and toxic compounds. That in turn can help you have clearer skin. It supports healthy bowel movements, further ridding your body of harmful stuff.
Bitters also help issues like gas, bloating, GERD, heartburn, nausea, and even allergies and hypersensitivities.
It also supports the production of hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile.
Hydrochloric acid, or HCl, is super important. A lot of people figure that if you have symptoms like heartburn or indigestion, you want to lower your stomach acid. But the opposite is actually true.
Having the appropriate amount of stomach acid helps keep the gastro-esophageal sphincter closed. That’s the valve between your stomach and esophagus. Which directly helps with heartburn.
It helps you digest proteins better, which is active in preventing gas.
It is proactive in stopping pathogens from getting beyond your stomach, which in turn supports a healthier immune system.
If you have low stomach acid, you’re less likely to be absorbing a lot of nutrients properly. Things like B12, iron, copper, zinc, folic acid, and calcium.
Quoting my book:
“Scientists at Italy’s University of Pavia gave overweight adults a bitters formula containing artichoke leaves or a placebo. During the study, which lasted two months, participants took the bitters before eating. By the study’s end, those not on the placebo reported reduced appetite and consumption, along with lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and smaller waistlines.”
Bitters are seriously a simple and amazing thing to add to your diet. Even something as easy as adding a bitter green to your salad. Embrace the flavor complexity!
If you get a digestive bitter, you should take it about 15 minutes before a meal or when you get any of those unwanted symptoms of gas or bloating.
I hope I inspired you to look at that bitter taste a little differently!