Winter Solstice Just Passed By. It Is Known For The Longest Night Of The Year In The Northern Hemisphere. And It Marks The Official Beginning Of Winters For The Northern Hemisphere.

As a ritual in many cultures warming foods are consumed to help them cope with the winters. One such category of food that imparts warmth and sparks your digestive fire is your humble winter bitters.

In our culture methiladoos, gulkand, chyawanprash, gajak, etc are all eaten during winters. These foods have an unusual earthy flavour and has a mixed taste combining sweet, sour, pungent, astringent and bitter.

Bitter foods are essentially known to preserve strength, stamina and vitality while stalling the course of aging.

Bitter foods stimulate a healthy appetite, promotes peristalsis and serves as a digestive tonic. The bitter element enhances release of digestive juices and enzymes.

These bitter foods also relieve intestinal gas and kills bad bacteria from the GI tract.Excellent for the gut health.

Bitter foods are also known to promote healthy bile flow which has a cleansing effect on the system.

Bitter foods can activate the body’s defense system and improve the body’s immune response.

It is also known to clear congestion and purify the blood.

So,it’s time to try some bitter foods this winter and these should be your top picks …

  • Bitter greens / leafy vegetables like fenugreek leaves, mustard greens, radish greens, spinach, collard greens, arugula, rocket leaves, dill leaves,
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, bok-choy, brussels sprouts, collard
  • Root vegetables like radish, turnips, etc
  • Bitter melon and spiny gourd
  • Sesame seeds and fenugreek seeds
  • Neem and aloe vera
  • Cocoa and coffee
  • Kalmegh, guduchi, chirata, etc
  • Dandelion tea
  • Mustard oil

Not everybody appreciates bitter food. So how do you reduce or neutralize the bitterness in these foods?

Most herbs, spices and flavours from basil, coriander, black pepper, clove, ginger, cinnamon or rosemary will help override bitter taste bud receptors by stimulating other taste receptors like savoury, spicy or sour. Also, one can use Durmeric Daily Drops to balance out the bitterness while using these winter bitters. These drops are very convenient and easy to use. They easily dissolve in any aqueous solution or food preparations and are completely hassle free.

Examples of usage are:

  • Rosemary daily drops can be added to salad made of arugula or rocket.
  • Sweet basil drops can be added to early morning ritual of neem juice.
  • Clove bud drops or clove leaf drops can be added to evening cup of dandelion tea to reduce bitterness.

Bitter foods may not be everyone’s favourite but they definitely boast of a variety of health benefits to watch out for …

Dr. Kamna Desai

Dietitian, Mumbai

A qualified Dietitian from Mumbai with over 20 years of expertise in the field of health and nutrition.