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  • How To Include Bitter Foods In Your Diet

    How To Include Bitter Foods In Your Diet?

    The Ayurveda Experience March 22, 2018

    Ayurveda recommends that you include all six tastes in your diet: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent. You’re probably well versed in the sweet and salty tastes. The others may pose a challenge. So how can you include bitter foods in your diet? Let’s take a look.

    Here’s what we’ll cover in this article.

    Tastes And Your Body Type
    10 Common Bitter Foods

    The Importance Of Bitter Foods
    How To Include Bitter Foods In Your Diet

    Tastes And Your Body Type

    The balancing tastes for each Ayurvedic body type are as follows.

    Don’t know your Ayurvedic Body Type or Prakriti? Click HERE to take the FREE Quiz!

    Vata Body Type (thin build): sweet, sour, and salty
    Pitta Body Type (medium build): sweet, bitter, and pungent
    Kapha Body Type (generous build): bitter, pungent, and astringent

    Until early spring, it’s Kapha predominant season and later in the year when summer arrives, the season is Pitta predominant. Bitter pacifies both Kapha and Pitta dosha. So remember to include bitter foods in your diet. 

    READ MORE: Kapha Diet: Everything You Need To Know Pitta Diet: Everything You Need To Know 

    10 Common Bitter Foods

    1. Bitter Gourd
    2. Bitter Melon
    3. Japanese Eggplant
    4. Fenugreek Leaves
    5. Turmeric
    6. Aloe Vera
    7. Green vegetables like Kale, Lettuce, Chard, Dandelion, Raddichio, Arugula
    8. Basil
    9. Neem
    10. Barley

    The Importance Of Bitter Foods

    Generally speaking, the bitter taste boosts metabolism and acts in cleansing the whole body. Foods with a bitter taste have an airy and light nature. Internally the bitter taste helps to balance Pitta and Kapha dosha. In excess, it can aggravate Vata and dehydrate the body.

    According to Ayurveda, the bitter taste helps in pacifying Kapha dosha. Kapha dosha tends to become aggravated in the season of spring. Bitter foods, in particular, are ideal for a spring cleanse.

    How To Include Bitter Foods In Your Diet

    If bitter isn’t your cup of tea, try incorporating small amounts into your meals. Greens are a great place to start. You can also opt for foods with a subtle bitterness like fenugreek leaves and seeds. Additionally, try out the following tips.

    1. Barley Water

    Try drinking water boiled with whole barley seeds. This beverage is super healthy and cooling in the warmer months of the year. It’s loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It helps to flush out toxins from body.

    2. Aloe Vera Juice

    Benefits of aloe vera

    Those with a Pitta imbalance can have a cup of aloe vera juice daily. It is good for digestion and elimination. Aloe vera cleanses, cools, and refreshes the system.

    READ MORE: Ayurveda's Take On 'The Plant Of Immortality', Aloe vera

    3. Bitter Spices

    Add spices like turmeric and fenugreek to your diet.

    Turmeric is a blood purifier and antioxidant. There are many simple ways to add turmeric to your diet. Turmeric milk (Golden Milk) at bedtime is an ideal choice. Turmeric is also a delicious spice that you can add to virtually any home cooked meal, from chicken salads to vegetable soups and scrambled eggs. Turmeric alone can also be mixed into mashed potatoes, breakfast porridge, and smoothies.

    Spices that add bitter taste to diet

    One teaspoon of fenugreek seeds provides a bitter taste. To use fenugreek seeds, soak them in water overnight. The next day, blend them together with a tablespoon of rice powder and jaggery. This can be taken with ghee or honey in the morning.

    Alternatively you can add one teaspoon of soaked fenugreek seeds to rice and prepare a hot rice cereal, similar to oatmeal.

    READ MORE: How To Make Turmeric Milk For Joint Pain As Per Ayurveda

    4. Leafy Greens

    Leafy greens are both nourishing and detoxifying. Greens are best suited when cooked with spices that suit your Dosha. They are good for your skin and hair. They are also low in calories and excellent sources of vitamins A, C and K. They are a good source of iron and rich in antioxidants.

    Simple Green Sauté Recipe

    3 cups bitter greens (kale, chard, dandelion)
    1 tbsp ghee
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp black pepper powder
    salt, to taste

    Rinse bitter greens in water to remove any debris. Add the ghee in a sauce pan and roast the cumin seeds. Now add the turmeric powder, black pepper powder, salt, and the rinsed greens. Sauté well and enjoy as a sautéed salad.

    5. Bitter Gourd

    Bitter gourd is low in calories and ideal for weight loss. It’s full of antioxidants, vitamin A, C and fiber. It has anti-diabetic properties as well.

    If you like the intense bitter flavor of bitter gourd, you will love this south Indian pickle recipe. Take one teaspoon with lunch and dinner.

    Bitter Gourd Pickle Recipe

    To make Bitter Gourd Pickle, scrape off the rough surface of the bitter gourd. Slice it length-wise and rub it all over with salt. Set it aside like this for 3-4 hours. Later, squeeze the gourd and discard the juice. Remember to scoop out the seeds.

    1 tsp turmeric powder
    1 tsp ginger powder
    1 tsp chili powder
    1 tsp ajwain powder
    1 tsp roasted fenugreek powder
    1/2 lemon

    Now add one teaspoon of turmeric powder,one teaspoon of ginger powder, one teaspoon of chili powder, one teaspoon of ajwain powder, one teaspoon of roasted fenugreek powder, and marinate well with the juice of half a lemon.

    Now, place the bitter gourd pieces in a clean jar and fill with lemon juice. Set in the sun for 3-4 days. You may begin using it after one week. 

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