Bitter foods aren't everyone's cup of tea. In fact, a lot of people actually overtly hate them. Which is too bad, since a lot of them are quite nutritious and healthy.
But there is always good news. For instance, did you know that you can train your body to actually start to enjoy bitter foods? All it takes is a bit of practice. And if you can commit to that, the next step to take is having plenty of these foods in your diet. The benefits are almost endless.
Bitter foods have their own unique health benefits, including protection against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. They also lower inflammation and oxidative stress. They improve the health of your gut, your eyes, and your liver. Which is always great for your body!
6 great bitter foods to learn to love
1. Cruciferous vegetables
These are perhaps the most famous bitter vegetable family we know of. So if you needed another incentive to add broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, radishes, and arugula to your menu, you have no reason for hesitation now. The reason these veggies are bitter is the compounds glucosinolates, which are also responsible for their health benefits. They can slow the growth and spread of cancer cells, according to some studies. They also help your liver enzymes process toxins more effectively.
2. Dandelion greens
We've already talked about these at length and our point still stands: even though you can actually get them for free, they can be both a tasty and nutritious addition to your menu. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium, manganese, iron, and vitamins A, C and K. They also contain carotenoids that benefit your eyes.
They're rich in polyphenols and antioxidants that prevent you from contracting bacterial infections in your teeth, stomach, gut, and urinary tract. That's why they're recommended for UTIs. And also they might keep your heart healthier. They're tart and bitter, but they can be thoroughly enjoyed raw or cooked, as healthy juice or even dried up.
Need I say more? Just the idea of coffee brings a smile to my face. It's one of the top sources of antioxidants in the global diet. It's rich with polyphenols which give your morning mug that incomparable bitter taste. It also has so many other health benefits. Some research also shows that it's great for the prevention of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
5. Citrus peel
If you've ever tasted the peel of an orange or other citrus fruit, I'm sure you know how bitter the taste can be. But there's a reason for that: the flavonoids. They actually help protect oranges, lemons, and grapefruits from being eaten by pests. But humans can decide not to be deterred by the taste of bitter foods. These flavonoids are powerful antioxidants which might reduce inflammation and slowing of the growth and spread of cancer cells.
6. Red wine
Red wine contains two main types of polyphenols: proanthocyanidins and tannins. These tend to reduce your risk of heart disease thanks to the decrease of cholesterol oxidation. They reduce blood clotting and expanding blood vessels. New research has shown that compounds in red wine help with the health of your gut but also mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
Featured image by Karl-Heinz Lüpke from Pixabay