The Benefits Of Bitters

Bitterness. It’s not a flavor held in high regard. Never does a menu boast a delectably bitter appetizer, and never do you hear about a friend’s amazingly bitter dinner. It’s not necessarily the palate’s deepest desire, but it is a flavor that indicates great health. Little do most people know, humans are designed to eat bitter flavors. In this post, I will give the rundown on bitter foods, and why we should be including them in our everyday diet.

Bitter Definition: bitter applies to anything that tastes bitter in flavor, but here, we will be talking about naturally occurring bitter foods. Almost all foods growing in the wild have an element of bitterness to them, but some are more bitter than others.

Bitter Background: many traditional cultures believe it’s important to incorporate all five flavors into one’s diet. As humans, we evolved eating bitter foods. It wasn’t until the modern day that the flavor became less consumed with sugary favorites taking its place.

benefits of bitters

Common Bitter Foods: the best bitter foods to consume change seasonally. In fall and winter, produce such as kale, collards, and turnips are all in season. Moving into spring and summer, beets, dandelion greens, and broccoli rabe become naturally plentiful. Any of these foods can help deliver the benefits that we’ll discuss. You can also incorporate digestive bitters from a company like Urban Moonshine into your diet. They use traditional ingredients such as burdock root, gentian, dandelion, and fennel seed to deliver a potent hit before or after a meal.

More bitter produce includes:

  • Amaranth
  • Arugula
  • Cranberry
  • Endive
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Dandelion Greens*
  • Escarole
  • Frisée
  • Kale (all types)
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard Greens
  • Nettles
  • Pomegranate
  • Radicchio
  • Rapini
  • Rucola
  • Tahini
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnip Greens
  • Watercress

*Check out this post on why you should eat dandelion greens!

benefits of bitters

Bitter Benefits: bitters are extremely beneficial to our digestive systems. They trigger the production of digestive enzymes, cause the stomach to secrete bile, and balance hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach. It’s best to consume bitters before other foods in order to wake up the digestive system and prep our bodies to bring in and break down complex foods. In turn, bitters can be used to calm an upset stomach, bloating, or indigestion. They’re also great cleansers of the liver, and they are great hangover cures.

benefits of bitters

Bitter Meal Ideas: from salad greens to supplements, there are so many ways to incorporate bitters into your diet. Below are a few of our favorite recipes.

More healthy tips from the BLDG 25 Blog.

Check out Naomi’s blog Numie Abbot!


  1. I incorporate kale into my juices a lot and it doesn’t make it taste bitter, it makes it taste…well, healthier (for lack of a better word)! I love the fact that there are so many ways you can have these bitter greens without having to actually pucker at their bitterness. Love this post!

  2. Urban Moonshine is awesome, they go really well in drinks too! Pomegranate juice, rose water and a drop of maple bitter!

  3. It may be prudent to mention that humans generally find bitterness to be unpleasant because, as hunter-gatherers around twelve-thousand years ago, “bitterness” often coincided with “poisonous”.

    So, to state that bitterness = nutritious, is a deductive fallacy (essentially, “kale, arugula, and endive are bitter, therefore all naturally bitter consumables are good for you”).

    …Just wanted to point out the logical incongruity, not trying to be a debbie downer. :)

  4. I love this post, I bitters before my breakfast, it has really worked for. but I learnt that you do not have to it all through the year. You need to give a week or two weeks break, or even one month break if you are taking the tonic to avoid kidney problem. thank you.

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