The sweet truth about bitter greens: they’re fantastic! Here are fifty reasons to love your bitter greens and the top five bitter greens you should have in your diet!
Today’s sugar-laden and food-processed society has caused a drastic change in our natural ability to enjoy bitter foods that are essential for our well-being. Our taste buds have been destroyed from an over-consumption of sweet and salty foods. All one has to do is just read through the ingredients of most processed and packaged foods, to know that marketers have directly targeted these 2 taste buds. In fact, we have a widespread problem with digestive disorders from gas, bloating to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), gluten indolence and Cohn’s disease. Proper digestion is important in order to absorb nutrients from the food that we eat. One way to improve your digestion and thus improve your overall health is through the consumption of bitter green.
Bitter foods should be an essential part of a regular healthy diet, and here are 50 reasons why.
- Stimulates digestive juices
- Increase stomach acid
- Initiates enzymatic activity
- Stimulate the production of saliva
- Stimulate the production of gastric juices
- Stimulates the production of bile
- Balances the appetite
- Acts as a natural diuretic
- Kidney cleanser
- Stimulates the digestion
- Helps calm the nerves
- Strengthens the liver
- Detoxifies the liver
- Strengthens the immune system
- Stimulate HCI (Hydrochloric acid)
- Stimulates pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down proteins
- Stabilizes blood sugar
- Lowers blood sugar
- Acts as a gentle diuretic to purify your blood
- Cleanses your system
- Cleanses the skin
- Clears up acne
- Improves bowel function
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces acid indigestion
- Aids in cancer prevention
- Hydrating for the body
- Has a natural cooling effect on the body
- Helps break down food
- Allows for better nutrient absorption
- Helps with weight loss
- Decreases inflammation
- Tones the digestive system
- Reduces hunger
- Contains liver boosting nutrients
- Balances cravings for sweet foods
- A general overall feeling of balanced
- Digestive issues like headaches may subside
- Helps stimulate taste receptors on the tongue
- Contains phytonutrients that support the liver to help manage
- Contains phytonutrients help balance hormones
- Contains phytonutrients metabolize fats
- Packed with vitamins especially A, C, K
- Mineral-rich especially calcium and magnesium
- High in folate
- High in fiber
- Low in fat
- Low in sodium
- Eases gas
- Eases bloating
Bitter greens offer distinct advantages, and it’s a good idea to include more of them in your diet. Let’s dive into my top 5 favorite bitter greens.
Dandelion greens are one of the most nutritious and resilient greens. It is actually a weed, and I am sure you have seen it ruin your perfectly manicured grass during the summer months. This low calorie, high in vitamins bitter green not only aids in digestion but is high in calcium as well. Try adding some to your pesto next time; it is sure to give it a boost.
(NOTE: Check out one of our favorite articles on Dandelion, the 11 Health Benefits of Dandelion. Find it here and learn more about why you should enjoy more Dandelion.)
A pepper green packed with beta-carotene, vitamin C, K, calcium, and iron. A perfect complement to any avocado and grapefruit salad.
This one is especially close to my heart. This bitter green was one of my mother’s favorites and a staple in our Italian kitchen. The best way to introduce rapini to your palate is by sautéing it with a bit of olive oil, adding lots of garlic, a dash of salt, and a squeeze of lemon to help relax the bitterness.
This slightly bitter green contains vitamin B, C, and E and is rich in calcium and iron. Packed with nutrients, you’ll want to wrap and roll this one with all your favorite veggies to enhance digestion.
One of the more pungent and peppery bitter greens I have ever tasted. Packed with antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, and K, this one may take some getting used to. But, once you have trained your taste buds, you might be surprised when you actually start craving this bitter green. Like the rest of the bitter greens, mustard greens are great for cleansing the liver and pulling out toxins from the blood. It’s best to mix this green with milder greens such as spinach or sauté them with garlic and olive oil.
What’s the best way to enhance digestion with bitter greens?
You can juice bitter greens such as dandelions, arugula, or any of the above mentioned bitter greens and consume the juice 15 minutes before meals. Alternatively, if you do not have a juicer, you can chew bitter greens to a liquid and then hold it in your mouth for a few minutes before swallowing it.
Bitter greens have a pungent and peppery flavor compared to sweeter salad greens, and the bold flavor may take some getting used to. Nevertheless, the health benefits are super worth it.
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