How Bitters Help Nourish You (And Why You Want them Around During the Season of Indulgence)

by Rachael Keener November 06, 2015

If you’re motivated to eat well because you want to feel your best, then certainly you want to ensure your body is able to absorb all of the nutrient-packed food that you’re eating. At each step along the way, a healthy digestive tract is designed both mechanically and chemically so that your food is properly broken down. This ensures that its nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream and gleaned throughout your system to support a strong, healthy you.

In essence, it helps you get the most out of your food.

So, how do we call on our bodies to do their best when it comes to digestive absorption? There are, in fact, many ways to support good nourishment beyond eating good food in the first place.

Chewing well, eating slowly, sharing meals and thoughtful food combining all lend themselves to healthy digestion and absorption; and so do bitters!

In fact, that’s where they shine. When the bitter taste receptors in the mouth are activated by a small splash of a bitters formula, it sets off a cascade of digestive secretions that prepare the body to breakdown and then absorb the food that follows.


Bitters stimulate everything from salivation (which is packed with enzymes) to stomach acid secretions that help breakdown protein, to pancreatic enzyme secretions that further break these proteins, as well as carbohydrates, down. They also prompt the liver and gallbladder to secrete bile, which breaks down fats and binds waste products. So, with a splash of bitters, not only is your body all set to do its job in absorbing the nutrients that go on to be the building blocks of your strong, healthy organs and tissues; it’s also supported in the normal process of binding and disposing of that which doesn’t serve the body. Let this notion provide you with a little reassurance in the event you find yourself lingering around the cheese plate a little too long or going in for seconds on dessert during the upcoming holiday marathon season.


The body is designed for efficiency as well as for enjoyment. To be well nourished, you need a digestive tract that works efficiently (aka breaks down food and absorbs nutrients well). It just so happens that efficient digestion relies on slowing down to enjoy what you’re eating. As you head into the season of indulgence, savor every moment of your feasts and know your body will be better nourished for it. Begin by sitting at the table amongst family and friends, each with a bitters aperitif to prepare digestion for the tasty food that lies ahead- either a small glass of water topped with a splash of bitters, or a cocktail featuring your favorite bitters. Enter the meal slowly; your nervous system relaxed, your digestive secretions flowing, and your belly ready to receive nourishment. Pause to give gratitude and then enjoy the food and company that lies before you. Appreciate that a well-oiled, efficient digestive tract relies on savoring the food and the moment; and know that bitters have your back.

Rachael Keener
Rachael Keener


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