Dandelion Leaves - Bitter and good for you

Bitter Foods

Apparently our food nowadays is being cultivated to be sweeter and less bitter than it was because we like sweet foods and are not keen on the bitter flavour. Foods such sprouts, grapefruit and beer are some of those being changed.

The problem with this is that bitter foods are good for us. They stimulate bile flow and are thus natural cleansers which help us to detox. I was reminded of a holiday on a Greek Island where the locals collected wild greens from the hillsides to add to their meals. Wild rocket, dandelion and other greens which are all bitter were a regular feature in their diet and their health was obviously benefitting as they lived to a ripe old age and remained active.

In Eastern traditions where food is used as medicine such as in China, bitter foods are used to bring peace into people’s lives. Could it be that this lack of bitterness plus the excess of sweet foods consumed in the West have a part to play in our societies stress level? Sweet foods are often what we crave when stressed but far from being a stress reliever they actually cause us to be more wired and panicky creating a vicious circle.

Is it coincidence that desserts spelt backwards spells stressed? In future I’m going to consciously aim to include more bitter foods in my diet. As well as the ones mentioned other bitter foods worth consuming are Jerusalem artichokes, aubergine, kale, lettuce, celery leaves, orange zest, sesame seeds, walnuts, raw cacao, dill, cumin, nettle, basil, turmeric, black tea and coffee.