At this time of year your liver needs all the support it can get. Christmas parties often mean more alcohol and unhealthy food than normal; the morning after the night before requires stronger coffee than usual, and hangovers might necessitate painkillers. All of these are additional burdens for what is a generally overworked organ anyway. So what can you do to support your liver? Well one approach is to eat more bitter foods.

Bitter foods and how they support the liver

Bitter foods support digestion, stimulate the liver and can help the body absorb certain nutrients.

Eaten at the start of a meal, bitter foods can stimulate appetite and peristalsis (the rhythmic movement that aids digestion). They also support digestion by encouraging production of gastrin, a hormone which controls various digestive functions such as the production of stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile, which in turn encourage peristalsis.

Stimulating the liver to produce bile is an important consequence of eating these foods. Bile helps the body break down fats so that they can be absorbed along with fat soluble vitamins. In addition to this the secretion of bile by the liver also enables this vital detoxification organ to excrete toxins in the bile. And regular expulsion of bile from the gallbladder can prevent the build-up of gallstones.

Bitter foods also support the body’s absorption of key nutrients such as iron and Vitamin B12

Examples of bitter foods

Jerusalem artichoke Aubergine Kale
Rocket Chicory/endive Nettles
Dill Burdock Root Sesame seeds
Cumin Dandelion leaves Bitter melon
Fenugreek Saffron Turmeric
Dark chocolate Watercress Radicchio
Frisee Broccoli Rabe/Rapini

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So why not make bitter foods a regular part of your diet and support your liver over the festive period?

If your staff would benefit having great digestion and good liver health, book our Good Gut Health lunchtime seminar! They will learn which foods to eat more of, and which to eat less of for great digestion and overall health.