Healthy food: 9 foods with healthy bitter substances

Bitter foods play too small a role in most people”s diets. If you increase the amount of vegetables and other bitter foods in your dishes, you will be doing your body great good.

There are different bitter substances in food, but they all have in common that they produce a healthy effect on our body. The bitter substances are tannins, as we find them in green tea, or glucosinolates, also called mustard oil glycosides, as in Brussels sprouts or horseradish.


Both types of bitter substances have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, which particularly strengthen the immune system. But they also help prevent cancer and keep the cardiovascular system in shape.

In addition, the bitter substances in food promote good digestion and a healthy stomach. Therefore, it is advisable that you regularly include them in your menu.

Even if you want to lose weight you should, for example, often include artichokes, chard or bitter salads like chicory and arugula in your menu. Aromatic and wild plants such as coriander, chives or dandelions also contain valuable bitter substances.


Bitter foods often do not reach the plates of many people despite the fact that their healthy properties because they have not become accustomed to its taste, they have not learned to enjoy it. It is common for a diet dominated by sweet and salty flavors to move away from other flavors, such as bitter and sour.


These foods contain many of the healthy bitter substances. In addition, they help fat to be converted into energy. Therefore they are useful ingredients in diets for weight control.

The turmeric and ginger is among foods with anti – inflammatory properties larger, while cinnamon helps to control glucose levels in blood.


It is suitable for all those who want to benefit from bitter substances but who avoid foods where the flavor is strongly expressed. The flavor of broccoli, which contains active ingredients that contribute to the elimination of toxic, potentially carcinogenic agents in the digestive system, is mildly bitter.


With grapefruit, the bitterer it is, the better. Because the most bitter fruits contain the highest amount of vitamin C and bitter substances such as naringin, a flavonoid with a powerful antioxidant effect. Grapefruit promotes digestion, strengthens the heart, and can lower blood pressure.


In your own garden or walking in the countryside you will find many plants with bitter substances, such as valerian, dandelion, coriander, oregano, parsley, mint and sage.

You can use many of these plants and spices to give your dishes a special flavor. But also as an infusion or shake you can benefit from the bitter substances they contain and help your health in general and digestion in particular.


The cocoa pure is healthy largely by bitter substances present in its composition. Thanks to them, dark chocolate is not only a balm for the soul, but also promotes a healthy heart and cardiovascular system, among other things.

Use pure cocoa in your preparations or chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, without palm fats or unidentified vegetables, and without sugar (sucrose).


Not everyone likes sour lettuce. But if you don”t like eating red chicory, endives, collards or arugula, you can mix these foods with other less bitter ones like iceberg lettuce. With some varieties, such as chicory, you can also make stews, risottos and other hot dishes very well.

Regardless of whether you prepare them hot or cold, bitter vegetables are not only good for the immune system, but also for the eyes because they are rich in compounds such as zeaxanthin.


Green tea is a stimulating drink very rich in antioxidant compounds that protect especially against cardiovascular and liver diseases. It also works with the immune system in the prevention of all kinds of diseases, including cancer.

Get used to drinking unsweetened tea. In fact, if you take it regularly, it can reduce your cravings for sweets. You can mix it with mint and a little honey or, better yet, powdered stevia leaves, if you wish.

When choosing a green tea, you should know that match tea (powder) is the richest in antioxidants.


If you like pepper, feel free to use the grinder while you eat. But you can also season dishes with ground mustard grains with a clear conscience. Both contain many healthy bitter substances. If you season your dishes correctly, they will not only taste good, but they will also be easier to digest and healthier.


When it comes to Brussels sprouts, tastes differ. While some love them, others detest them. However, it is indisputable that Brussels sprouts are one of the healthiest vegetables.

In addition to important nutrients and vitamins, winter vegetables such as Brussels sprouts also contain abundant bitter substances such as glucoraphanin and glucosinolates, which determine their flavor. These substances are converted to sulforaphane when they interact with the enzyme myrosinan, which is found in the food itself and is released during chewing and cooking.


The explanation of why bitter foods contribute to weight control is very simple. In addition to all the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that they can produce, the bitter taste inhibits the appetite and favors the feeling of satiety. They also activate digestion and with it the metabolization of fat.

If you cannot get used to the bitter taste of food, you can take bitter substances in the form of herbal preparations such as Swedish bitter. This preparation is a mixture of bitter plants such as sienna, cedoaria or rhubarb.


Bitter substances not only ensure healthy digestion, they also support a healthy gastrointestinal tract and naturally compensate for excess acidity. Hence, thanks to bitter foods, heartburn or other stomach-related problems can be alleviated. They also stimulate the activity of the pancreas, which produces insulin, and bile, necessary for the metabolism of fats.

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