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3 recipes with bitter foods for a healthy summer

bitter melon juice

When it comes to our health, bitter foods can have numerous benefits including increased circulation, improved metabolism and detoxification of the liver, creating a brighter, clearer complexion.

Most modern menus have shunned the bitter taste in food, but there are easy ways to make it part of your meals daily.

For a healthy glow, try a little of these bitter foods to help cleanse your body and boost your digestion.

Why bitter is good for you

Bitter foods are "descending"

It means that bitter foods help move the contents of your digestion in a downwards direction. In fact, many laxatives, like senna, are bitter-tasting. Their action clears out pockets of stagnation in the bowels and stimulate peristalsis.

Bitter foods are cooling

The bitter taste is a yin energy, so usually cooling in action. Too much bitter food, even if cooked and eaten warm, will tend to cause issues, especially if you tend to get cold easily.

They are particularly beneficial if you have excess Stomach Fire symptoms, with burping, reflux, nausea, hiccups, unpleasant eructations or uncontrollable hunger. The bitter taste neutralizes stomach acid and breaks up fats.

Bitter foods dry dampness

Bitter foods help to dry dampness and as such may lower blood pressure. Celery is a good example (and it also clears Heat)

Foods with a bitter nature

  • Artichoke

  • Asparagus

  • Bitter melon

  • Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage

  • Celery

  • Chicory lettuce

  • Dark leafy greens such as dandelion greens, mustard greens, Endive

  • Olives

  • Snap peas & snow peas

  • Coffee

  • Turmeric

Bitter melon and eggs

A classic of Chinese home cooking !


  • bitter gourd

  • eggs

  • minced garlic

  • salted radish (optional)

  • seasonings for eggs – light soy sauce, Chinese wine, sesame oil, and ground pepper

sauteed bitter melon and eggs stir fry
  • Wash the bitter gourd and slice a bit off the top where the stem is.

  • Slice the bitter gourd in half, lengthwise.

  • Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and soft pith.

  • Slice thin or thick slices, slantingly or perpendicularly to the length of the bitter gourd.

  • To reduce bitterness (optional): Place in a bowl with some salt, and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain the bitter juices. Then rinse thoroughly a few times to wash off the salt.

  • Step 1: In a heated wok with some oil, stir fry garlic and salted radish (optional) until fragrant, about 10 seconds.

  • Step 2: Add bitter gourd slices and stir fry over high heat until they start to turn limp and soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add some water and toss to mix well.

  • Step 3: Next, pour in the seasoned beaten egg mixture.

  • Step 4: Allow the mixture to set just a little. Then, keep turning over the bitter gourd slices a couple of times to lightly scramble the eggs. When most of the eggs have almost set but are still moist, turn off the heat. Serve immediately!

Roasted Radicchio and olive salad

For a Mediterranean twist.

  • 2 tsp. olive oil

  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

  • 1 Tbs. drained capers

  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped shallot

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 heads radicchio, about 1 1/2 lbs

Serves 4

olive-caper salsa: in a food processor, mix the parsley, olives, capers and shallot and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the olive oil.

Toast the walnuts in some olive oil in a pan, stirring occasionally until golden, and set aside.

Cut the radicchio into thick wedges. Place the pieces cut sides up and brush with the olive oil.

Preheat a stove-top grill pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Place the radicchio, cut sides down, on the pan and cook, turning once, until wilted and slightly browned, about 2 minutes on each side.

Serve with the salsa !

Chicory drink (or.... coffee)

ground chicory root, a cup of chicory coffee and a stem of chicory plant with purple flowers

Because we do not recommend caffeine for our fertility patients (read here), let's explore a bitter alternative beverage: chicory root.

Chicory coffee is a beverage made using the roots of the chicory plant, which are roasted, ground and brewed into a coffee-like drink, which has a slightly woody and nutty flavor.

Chicory root has a mild laxative effect, increases bile from the gallbladder, and decreases swelling. Chicory is a rich source of beta-carotene.

And you, what are your favorite bitter foods ?


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