Bitter foods to make you radiate from the inside out
Keep your love affair with kale and turmeric going, and get on the bitter melon train too
According to Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Hippocrates, food is medicine. They say that your kitchen cupboard is your cabinet to health; if you know how to combine different foods with the right herbs and spices, then you can achieve inner verve and outer radiance.
Ayurveda a 5,000-year-old system of health, sheds light on the science of taste, and notes that if each meal combines all tastes; bitter, astringent, pungent, salty, sweet and sour, we will have less cravings and more balanced health.
But, is bitter better? Dr. Vasant Lad of the Ayurvedic Institute, explains that, "Bitter foods are anti-inflammatory, reduce fat, and stimulate firmness of the skin and muscles." Ayurveda states that radiance, strength and vitality can be created and sustained by the food that we ingest along with regular detoxification and rejuvenation, breath work, good sleep and proper digestion.
When it comes to our health, bitter foods can have numerous benefits including increased circulation, improved metabolism and detoxification of the liver, creating a brighter, clearer complexion.
Most modern menus have shunned the bitter taste in food, but there are easy ways to make it part of your meals daily. For a healthy glow, try a little of these bitter foods to help cleanse your body and boost your blush.
Dark Leafy Greens
Kale, swiss chard, mustard greens and arugula are all bitter greens that can be easily added to your daily diet. During the fall and winter season, it's best to cook your greens for better absorption and digestion. Bitter leafy greens can gently purify the blood, reduce acne, cleanse the skin, and add nutrient vitamins, calcium and iron to your diet.
Bitter melon is indigenous to Asia, India, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. This bright green melon can be cooked in soups, juiced, eaten raw or prepared with herbs and spices as a cooked vegetable dish. Bitter melon creates a beautiful complexion and has been used to eliminate cellulite and firm the skin. Studies also show that bitter melon has been used to control blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, detoxify the blood, lower cholesterol and fight viruses.
A perfect stir-fry with balanced bitters could include Japanese eggplant, kale, broccoli and zucchini. Eggplant is packed with protein, Vitamin C and an array of minerals including calcium, potassium and beta carotene. Its high water content can nourish the scalp and skin, to keep your hair strong and your body hydrated. When added topically, eggplant helps to even out the complexion and reduce excessive oil.
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is considered a natural antibiotic and blood cleanser. Traditionally, turmeric is administered in small quantities, often cooked into curry dishes, or mixed with honey to fight viruses and bacteria, or boiled in milk and sipped before bed to promote rejuvenation. Turmeric is also ceremoniously applied as a paste to the skin to produce a glowing, natural golden aura. Please note that turmeric is a blood thinner, so remember to speak to your physician if you have any health concerns prior to taking turmeric.
Having said all of this, excessive bitter intake can have contraindications, so remember that balance is key to healthy living. And all of this advice is intended for those who are in good general health. Bitter foods are not recommended in large quantities if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are on medication, you should always consult your doctor before changing your diet.
Nicole Mahabir is the Founder and Director of JAI Wellness, a platform for health education, mindful living and wellbeing. For the past 10 years, Nicole has lead professional certified programs, teaching Nutrition, Meditation, Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy and Natural Anti-Ageing Beauty Regimes. When she isn't teaching, Nicole creates integrated, sustainable health protocols for her busy clients. Follow Nicole on Instagram @jaiwellness or on her website, jaiwellness.com.