Digestive bitters!Oh, that bitter flavor. It’s something we frequently shy away from, but it can play an important role in our digestion. It’s so important that, traditionally, all of our larger meals would begin with it. Salad greens like endive or digestifs like Jägermeister were always served at the beginning of a meal. This bitter flavor primed our digestive system, especially the gallbladder, so that we could indulge in a heavy meal of protein, fat, starch, and veggies. Even mother earth agrees; most plants found in the wild have a bitterness to them. Even wild berries have a natural slight bitterness. But in North America, we don’t really like that flavor.
We prefer our salads greens to be sweet so our poor gallbladders can suffer.While our gallbladders only complain when they’re really struggling, they typically suffer when we overindulge. If you have gallbladder issues, you know the feeling. Mid-abdomen pain (usually on the right side), gas, and digestive upset. A full gallbladder attack—accompanied by severe pain and a fever—needs immediate medical attention. Let’s be kind to our digestive systems this holiday season and stock up on digestive bitters. They’re easy to take, and soon you’ll love that bitter flavor. It does happen, and surprisingly quickly!
How to feel better before, during, and after a heavy meal:
Don’t overfill your plate
Put your fork down between bites and chew, chew, chew
Excite your digestive system with a bitter tonic
- Maria's Swedish Bitter - Alcohol-Free (US/CA)
- Original Sweden Elixir (CA)
- Swedenbitters Dry Herbal Blend (CA)
About the author: Lisa Kilgour
Lisa Kilgour is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), founder ofLisaKilgour.com, and a faculty member at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.