There’s a famous Ayurvedic saying – “Bitter is Better.” Our ancestors knew that food having a bitter quality helped with sluggish digestion and cleansing fats from the blood and liver.
Our modern diet is seriously lacking in the bitter taste. Sweet, sour and salty are the tastes most of us gravitate towards. The less we consume of the remaining three tastes – bitter, pungent and astringent – the more unbalanced our diet can become.
Ayurveda believes that all six tastes should be incorporated into our daily meals, if not at each meal. The proportions of these tastes will vary according to our constitution and the present state of our health.
Mother Nature knows that the bitter taste is necessary for spring, after eating heavy, fatty winter foods necessary to insulate us from the cold. So, she wisely provides us with bitter greens like dandelion, nettles, arugula, watercress, spinach, sorrel, mustard greens, kale, collards, beet greens, etc.
Here are some bitter food choices to add to your daily diet:
- Bitter greens (see above)
- Bitter melon
- Aloe vera
- Fenugreek seeds
The bitter taste is especially important for Kapha-types to help rev up their normally sluggish metabolism. And it’s Kapha Season, so it’s vitally important to pay special attention to cleansing the channels of the body after the heavy qualities of winter.
Bitters are generally cold and sometimes too stimulating for Vata-types or someone with a Vata imbalance. Just be prudent, don’t overdue their use, and perhaps add warming spices and/or heat the food slightly.
Pitta-types do well with bitter and astringent tastes and they can tolerate cold the best. Adding a little bit of sweet taste (of a healthy nature!) is also beneficial.
Remember, food is medicine. Oh, but it tastes so much better!