Dr. Charles Passler is the nutrition guru responsible for the eating habits of supermodels like Bella Hadid, Adriana Lima, and Amber Valletta. And he told Mind Body Green that there’s one category of food that’s incredibly important (but often overlooked) in dealing with digestive issues, skin problems, hormonal imbalances and allergies: bitter herbs. They’re essentially any herb with a bitter flavour and they’ve long been heralded for their medicinal properties.
Dr Passler suggests starting with bitter greens like spinach, mustard greens, kale, endive, dandelion greens, broccoli raab and escarole. But he says to avoid sugary dressings when chowing down on the produce, instead serve them with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh garlic to make them a little more palatable. He also recommends adding other bitter foods like lemons, limes, grapefruits, pepper, ginger, turmeric, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and sage to your plate.
In fact, for the biggest health benefits Dr Passler believes that 20 percent of your diet should include these types of food.
“They activate bitter receptors on the tongue, which in turn activates cells in your stomach to normalise acid production for better digestion,” he told Mind Body Green. “When this happens, bile production and digestive enzyme production are improved as well. Proper bile production is essential for detoxifying the liver, excretion of heavy metals from your body, hormone balance, and bowel regularity. Digestive enzymes are essential for extracting and absorbing nutrients from your food. They can also help to reduce the number of unfriendly bacteria in your intestines. Finally, bitter foods also tend to be rich in antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation."
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