Updated May 20, 2022
Bitter foods and herbs play a very important role in digestion and the health of the organs that facilitate it. Bitters stimulate the production of digestive fluids that help to break down food to ensure that the body can absorb the nutrients from it. They also help to tone and heal the digestive tissues.
When you first taste bitter foods, bitter taste receptors on the tongue trigger reactions throughout the digestive tract. In the mouth, bitters promote salivation, which breaks down starches and begins to digest fats.
In the stomach, bitters promote the production of gastrin, a hormone that regulates how much gastric acid is produced. This is especially important because an adequate amount of stomach acid is necessary for the body to be able to uptake minerals from food.
Bitters also aid in the production of pepsin, an enzyme that helps break down proteins and is key to the proper absorption of vitamin B12.