top of page
  • Alyssa Abrahamson

Bitter Foods for Better Digestion and Gut Health

I have a hunch that most of the foods you eat are salty and/or sweet. 

But what about bitter foods?

Over the last century, at least here in the US, bitter foods have fallen out of favor for more salty and sweet-tasting processed foods.

Whereas processed foods do nothing to help blood sugar, digestion, gut health or inflammation, bitter foods are nutrient dense and chock-full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help lower inflammation, and improve digestion and gut health. 

Examples of bitter foods 

  • Lettuces and leafy greens: arugula, kale, radicchio, endive, mustard and dandelion greens, watercress, collards 

  • Cruciferous vegetables: bok choy, cabbage, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, turnips, radishes

  • Fruits: grapefruit, cranberries, citrus zest

  • Herbs: peppermint, chamomile, milk thistle

  • Spices: cumin, turmeric, saffron, caraway

  • Other foods: coffee, green tea, apple cider vinegar, dark chocolate at least 72% cacao

5 Health Benefits of Bitter Foods

1. Digestion Support 

Bitter foods trigger the production of saliva and digestive acids that are needed for proper digestion.

2. Help Nutrient Absorption

Bitter foods encourage the release of digestive enzymes that break down food and help you absorb nutrients.

3. Encourage the Body’s Natural Detoxification Process

Bitter foods contain fiber that helps move waste through the GI tract facilitating the natural detoxification pathways in the liver and gallbladder. They stimulate the liver to produce bile, which is essential for digesting fats and removing toxins from the body. 

4. Great for Gut Health 

Many bitter foods are high in prebiotics, which increases and diversifies beneficial gut bacteria. Healthy gut bacteria protects the gut lining, lowers inflammation, supporting the immune system.

5. Curb Sugar Cravings and Reduce Appetite 

When the bitter taste receptors located in the digestive system are stimulated, appetite-regulating gut hormones are secreted, stabilizing hunger, blood sugar, and balancing cravings for sweet foods

Some bitter foods are a lot more bitter than others. So in case you're wondering how to make dandilion greens, for example, easier on the palate, I got you.

3 Ways to make bitter foods taste better 

  • Balance bitter flavors 

Incorporate other flavors such as lemon juice, caramelized onions, honey, berries, sea salt, and healthy fats to create a more balanced taste profile.

  • Mix up your veggies

Add bitter foods to dishes with non-bitter veggies. For example add dandelion greens or radicchio to your usual salad greens.

  • Spice Things Up

Use herbs and spices like basil, garlic, coriander and rosemary to disguise bitterness.

The more you eat bitter foods, the more you train your palette to enjoy them. Start small and allow your taste buds to adapt to new flavors. 

Your digestion and gut health will thank you! 

Love, Your Wellness Coach,


P.S. If you’re looking for support with an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. I would love to help you. ​Email me to set up a free consult call.

P.P.S. Listen to this week’s podcast episode 167, “Bitter Foods for Better Digestion and Gut Health.”

March 6, 2024



bottom of page