Bitter flavours, which are first tasted in the mouth, help the immune system that lies within the gut; they aid production of white blood cells, generally empowering immune responses.
Bitters include gentian, artichoke, olives and olive oil, dandelion leaves, chicory, and nasturtium leaves. Bitters often come in the form of wild greens in spring, but they are still available in the summer. They are often combined with aromatics like fennel seed, cumin seed, and caraway seed to help cool, calm, and soothe the digestive tract. The Swedish bitters and liqueurs can be consumed to aid before-and after-dinner digestion.
We owe it to ourselves to eat bitters and sours. The taste helps to destress and calm the nervous system, balancing and grounding, preventing over extensive output of nervous energy.
Sour heals and nurtures the liver and gallbladder by deep cleansing and cooling, making the digestive process largely passive, which in turn has a positive emotional effect. Sour foods include lime, lemons, sorrel, sauerkraut, pineapple and apple cider vinegar. Pineapples are sour-sweet, and the bromelain in them is a prime digestive, scavenging for and helping to finish off half-digested foods.
You can pickle foods easily using apple cider vinegar. This type of vinegar helps regulate the balanced output of stomach acid, correcting overactive and underactive conditions. The sour flavour can really be exciting, and chillies, which couldn’t ordinarily be eaten raw, can be when softened by the pickling process.
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