Every so often, we come across products that make a significant impact in our health and/or our homestead and we would like to share those products with you in our new monthly product review and spotlight series. This month, we’re going to give you the Bitter Truth. Our featured product is Maria Treben’s Swedish Bitters.
Bitters are an often overlooked and extremely valuable addition to your healthy lifestyle. Our bodies contain more than 5,000 taste buds on our tongue and throat, which identify 5 major flavor categories: Sweet, Salty, Sour, Savory (Spicy), and Bitter. Most Americans are getting more than their fair share of sweet and salty, and poor Bitter never gets the attention deserved.
Bitter, is an important flavor. As the most sensitive of all tastes, bitterness is often described as disagreeable and harsh. Even the word “bitter” is often associated with expressions of resentment, anger, or pain. However, bitter is an important sensory experience which is most valuable in stimulating the digestive system. Bitters trigger the digestive system to “wake up” and get ready for the work of breaking down complex foods. All the digestive organs get “turned on” when bitter tastes are consumed. Bitters also help to feed the micro-bacteria that becomes healthy intestinal flora. According to Jim McDonald in his article Blessed Bitters, “Bitters stimulate all digestive secretions: saliva, acids, enzymes, hormones, bile, and so forth. Each of these acts as a solvent to break down food for absorption, and the quantity and quality of these foods ensure proper nutrition. Inadequate production of these secretions is common in modern cultures…and the implications of such deficiencies are myriad.”
Ever go to a restaurant and see a sprig of parsley on the plate? Not only was the parsley added as a garnish, but as a digestive aid, meant to be the bitter accompaniment to the palate to aide in digestion. Best consumed shortly before but also effective shortly after the meal, bitters improve digestion and can help with the following:
- Liver detoxification
- Curb sugar cravings
- Help regulate insulin production
- Relieve upset stomach and nausea
- Help maintain healthy blood sugar levels
- Relieves heartburn
- Promotes blood circulation and can help with anemia and other circulation issues
- Helps heal wounds, blisters, sore throat, and reduce inflammation
There are many bitters products on the market, all of which will offer benefits to your digestive system and overall health. Weston A. Price once stated, “Bitter herbs and foods play a helpful role in alleviating many conditions, not so much because they act as specific remedies, but because they provide components necessary to overall good health. It is very possible that the current national health crisis could be radically turned around simply by re balancing our palate with the medicinal virtues of bitterness.”
Maria Treben’s Swedish Bitters contains the following herbs and ingredients: Aloe, Myrrh, Saffron, Senna leaves, Camphor, Rhubarb roots, Zedvoary roots, Manna, Theriac venezian, Carline Thistle roots, and Angelica roots. To learn more about Maria Treben’s Swedish Bitters and to order a bottle to try yourself, click here.
Other Ways to get More Bitters in Your Diet
Other than using an bitter herbal infusion like Swedish Bitters, there are other ways you can incorporate more bitters into your diet for better digestion and health. Some great bitter herbs you can add to your recipes or drink as herbal teas include: Parsley, Ginger, Chamomile, Dandelion Roots, Dandelion Stems, Dandelion flowers, Milk Thistle, Peppermint, Rue, and Yarrow.
Another great way to get more bitters into your diet is by eating more bitter greens such as chicory, dandelion, arugula, radiccio, or endive. Try adding bitter roots like dandelion or burdock to soups and stews.
Regardless of the brand or the approach, I recommend giving some bitters a try. Add more to your daily routine either as an infusion, tea, or salad and see if you can tell a difference. In our family, my husband and I both experienced amazing benefits after adding bitters to our daily recipes. A shot of Swedish Bitters after each meal and we both found that the digestive troubles vanished. Gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, were problems my husband often dealt with and now he rarely experiences any of those symptoms. For me, I am on a love/hate relationship with sugar and often fight terrible cravings even after years of getting away from living the addiction. Kombucha and Swedish Bitters help me every time I am faced with those cravings. If you are wanting a more balanced life with health and vitality, consult your dietitian or healthcare provider and consider adding Bitters to your diet. Now that we’ve come to the Bitter End, let us know how it works for you. Like us on Facebook and share with your friends. God Bless and to your health!