Functional Nutrition Blog

Focusing on gut health and Functional nutrition

Bitters are not just for fancy drinks

Jan 24, 2020 | Nutrition

I use Bitters with nearly ALL of my clients. Nearly – so if you’re a client and you’re reading this and you have no idea what I’m talking about do not fret!

What are bitters?

Bitters are a liquid concoction a variety of roots and herbs that aid in digestion. As one may conclude they taste….bitter. And therefore can be challenging to tolerate. However, what that bitter flavor does is stimulate the digestive organs to get ready to start releasing their digestive enzymes so when food enters the digestive tract it’s primed and ready.

It’s like getting ready for Monday morning, you prime yourself by drinking coffee so you can mentally digest what the week has in store for you.

Why would you take bitters anyway?

Primarily for digestive related issues. What the heck does that mean?

After eating if you: instantly feel bloated, look like you’ve become 4 months pregnant (twas me!), get that REALLY full feeling after eating just a small amount of food, have acid reflux…

These are some of the things that MAY indicate that there could be a digestive issue. This DOES NOT mean that bitters is going to magically solve the issue for you. It might! But there may be (and likely are) other layers to this like food sensitivities, vitamin deficiencies, or gut imbalances.

Bitters are a pretty cheap and harmless way to attempt some self-intervention for digestive issues (unless a health professional specifically indicates otherwise – ask if you are concerned about any medications mixing with them).

When to take bitters?

Ideally: you take bitters about 15 minutes prior to eating a meal (especially a meal that contains protein – which should be all of them…just saying…) and then eat as normal.

Reality: almost always forgetting to take the bitters 15 minutes prior to eating and remember once I’m almost done eating and wonder how the hell I can possibly recommend this to my clients if I can’t remember myself….still working on tips and tricks for this one! Share if you have any!

**That being said, if you are taking bitters either at the recommendation of a health care practitioner or because you are interested in seeing if they are helpful on your own, feel free to take them at any point during a meal and they will have some benefits either way. The IDEAL is to take them 15 minutes before but taking them in general will always be more helpful than suffering without them.


How to take bitters:

Draw some up in the dropper, drop in mouth. All done.

Alternative: you can drop the bitters in a ~little~ swig of water and swish it around your mouth

Here are the bitters that I use: Urban Moonshine

You can order them online at the link above, and they also sell them at Whole Foods and Wegmans that I have seen so far. Other health food stores in your area may also have them. (Portland, ME area – Lois’s has them!)

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