Bitters: Not Just for Cocktails
Bitters are an infusion made with mostly bitter components, as the name suggests. Aromatics and botanicals, which can include any combination of herbs, roots, bark, fruit, seeds, or flowers, make up these substances.
Bitters are made by numerous firms utilising bitter herbs, leaves, fruits, seeds, or roots, as well as alcohol or sugar, according to secret recipes. Orange peel, gentian root, rhubarb root, hop blossoms, quassia-wood chips, cascarilla, cinchona bark, and quinine contribute to the flavour. Juniper, cinnamon, caraway, anise, nutmeg, camomile, cloves, and other flavouring compounds contribute to the aroma. Bitters are typically named for the primary flavouring ingredient, such as orange bitters and peach bitters.
This apothecary staple was first sold in the 1700s as a treatment for common ailments like digestive problems. Alcohol was used to preserve medicinal herbs and botanicals, which were marketed as a cure-all.
Bitters were employed for anything from a stimulant for the army in the 1800s to a potential therapy for malaria before making their way to the present happy hour menu over the next two centuries.
Bitters: Health Benefits
One of the seven basic flavours, according to scientists, is bitter. Bitters are alcoholic elixirs that are a lot of fun to drink. They can be added to drinks to help with digestion or to add complexity (and mocktails). Seeds, spices, fruits, tree bark, and roots are infused into a neutral alcohol base, resulting in a highly concentrated, much flavoured combination offered in small bottles. Little bottles - since they are intended to be consumed in extremely small quantities, such as a dash each drink.
Bitter substances have a lot of receptors in our body, not just in our mouth and tongue, but also in our stomach, gut, liver, and pancreas.
This is primarily for safety considerations. Our bitter receptors serve as a "warning" system for our bodies, as most harmful and deadly substances have a strong bitter flavour.
By boosting digestive secretions, the stimulation of these bitter receptors supports proper digestion. This results in increased nutritional absorption, natural liver detoxification, and — because to the gut-brain connection —stress reduction.
Bitters, on the other hand, are not a main therapeutic. Consider them a health boost that can help your body work more smoothly, from resetting your digestive system to boosting your immune system. They should not be used in place of any treatment that has been prescribed by a doctor.
Bitters: Digestive Benefits
Bitters can help with digestion by facilitating stomach acid and acting as a digestive aid.
Not only may this help with indigestion, but it can also help with heartburn, nausea, cramps, bloating, and gas.
The digestive actives that Bitters include:
Bitters: Immune Benefits
Burdock is a natural anti-inflammatory that has been demonstrated to help persons with osteoarthritis. Bitters can become an immune-boosting powerhouse when combined with popular ingredients like ginger and turmeric.
These substances' anti-inflammatory components have potent antioxidant properties that protect the body against autoimmune illnesses. These substances are:
- Oregon grape
Bitters: Sugar Control Benefits
Bitters, which help block the brain receptors that drive us to devour sweets, can instantly curb sugar cravings.
Bitters can help curb overeating and encourage overall healthy eating habits. Bitter meals increase the synthesis of the hormones PYY and GLP-1, which help manage and reduce hunger.
Bitters: Liver Benefits
Bittering agents assist the liver in doing its primary function of eliminating toxins from the body and regulating metabolic processes.
Bitters support the liver by assisting in the elimination of toxins and detoxification, coordinating sugar and fat metabolism, and assisting in the release of gallbladder-supporting hormones such as cholecystokinin (CCK).
Bitters, like herbs, are essentially herbs as well. Bitters can assist relieve stomach problems and seasickness depending on the makeup of the leaves, roots, barks, and fruits used to manufacture them. They're also good for indigestion.
Another advantage of bitters is that they help our bodies absorb nutrients more quickly. The liver can swiftly take in the good stuff from the food we eat and purify our bodies because it stimulates digestive secretions.
While bitters aren't the mystical cure-all that they once were, they certainly are worthwhile.