Sunday, February 25, 2018

Bitters' Sweet Role in Health

Taste serves two roles. It evaluates food for toxicity and nutrients and prepares to metabolize food when they are ingested. There isn't a solid worldwide consensus on many how many types of tastes there are, I suspect the disagreements come from the difference in cultures across the globe and the monotonous state of processed food. In essence, there are five: Salty, Sour, Sweet, Savory (Umami) and Bitter.(3)
"Exploring the ancestral context for taste is useful to understand how modern humans use taste to live and feed today. Those who live in an environment of very low food security forage using taste to identify nutritious foods to eat. While those who live in an environment of abundant, palatable foods are guided by taste to over consume calorically dense foods, which too often results in diabetes and obesity."(3)
Bitter is not a popular flavor. It is typically equated to negativity. Phrases like; "bitter truth", "bitter end", "a bitter pill" are associated with unpleasantness, something we all want to avoid, but the fact is bitter, as a flavor from wholesome plants and herbs, can be health tool. Bitters assist with:

⧫ Producing digestive enzymes
⧫ Improve liver function
⧫ Improve gallbladder function
⧫ Primes and optimizes the digestive system (4)
⧫ Aids in detoxification
⧫ Bile production

Bitters and Bile

The Bitter Reflex is a process triggered by bitter substances on the tongue. The small intestine is
stimulated by the bitter taste which prompts your liver and gallbladder to increase a healthy flow of bile in anticipation of eating. Healthy bile flow assists in ridding your body of oxidized cholesterol and hormonal metabolites.2

Bile is digestive substance created by the liver for the purpose of digesting fats and to aid in detoxification. Bile emulsifies fat and fat-soluble vitamins for absorption in the gut. Trying to digest fats without bile is similar to washing greasy dishes without soap. As a detoxification agent, bile absorbs waste products, like bilirubin, created by the body from old red blood cells. Additionally, bile absorbs excess cholesterol into the gastrointestinal tract to be passed out with other waste products.

While the liver continuously creates bile, it is stored and concentrated in the gallbladder. The bile in the gallbladder is 5 to 20 times more concentrated and becomes bile salt.1

Good examples of common bitters are Dandelion, Orange Peel, Peppermint, and Argula.

When and How to Use Bitters

Try to incorporate bitters into your daily diet. Avoid sweetening them. Adding arugula and dandelion leaves in your salads is a good way to start. You can use them in a tincture form. I'll share my favorite Orange Peel bitters recipe soon, so stay and follow by email (sidebar). Put a few drops of bitters on your tongue 15 to 20 minutes before you eat.

Fasting is a good time to utilize bitters! While the autophagy state is turned on, bitters can really support this process, especially the liver. Detoxing can be hard on the liver.

The 3-day nutritionally-supported fasting program with Miessence FAST has organic bitters just for this purpose. I use FAST during fasting, take orange peel bitters daily and I LOVE it. It has been tremendously helpful in controlling gas, bloating and it has improved my digestion. The interesting thing...I no longer find my orange peel tincture "bitter". It tastes sweet to me!

If you're interested in using Miessence FAST for fasting or bitter support, purchase it here or contact me for a free consultation.


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3 - Science Direct; Evolution of Taste -
4 - Healing the Body -

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