The Beauty Benefits of Bitter Foods

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Sure, you love sweetness. Or maybe you're more of a saltiness person. But bitterness? It really deserves more fans— especially given its major benefits for your beauty!

Bitter foods stimulate digestive enzyme production and bile flow, seriously helping your digestive process, which in turn has a visible impact on your skin (as well as your weight, moods, and immunity!). Bitter foods also support liver detox (very important in the fall as well as the spring), further supporting skin glow, and help reduce cravings by satisfying a very important taste on your palate.

My favorite bitter beauty foods include radicchio, endive, arugula and sesame (all featured in the addictive recipe below), as well as turmeric, artichokes, dandelion greens, and grapefruit. Digestive bitters are another way to reap the benefits of bitterness in your routine— a few drops of bitters into a small amount of water before a meal also jumpstarts the digestive process.

If you make an effort to include more bitter foods in your diet (fall beauty goal?), you'll notice that bitterness can be a strong taste on your palate. it's not a taste we encounter very often anymore. Try to embrace it, remembering how amazing it is for your body. I love pairing bitter foods with something naturally sweet and tangy, like a dressing that mixes apple cider vinegar and honey, or one that incorporates balsamic vinegar and a splash of maple syrup. The dressing below includes pomegranate vinegar (I found a naturally fermented and super delicious version at Trader Joe's) with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, and the end result is so satisfying and very balanced when paired with bitter greens.

Aim to eat your bitter foods early on in your meal, to get the most digestive benefits. Make this salad the first course at a fall dinner or holiday gathering, and you'll feel it work magic on your digestion even after the dessert plates have been cleared.

Bitter Is Beautiful Salad + Sesame-Pomegranate Dressing

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This salad combines the beautifying bitterness of radicchio, endive, arugula, and sesame with the natural sweetness of pomegranate. It's a perfect first course that supports healthy digestion.

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head radicchio, chopped
  • 2 handfuls baby arugula
  • 2 small heads endive, chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds separated
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate vinegar (can sub ACV or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • unrefined salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp warm water

DIRECTIONS

In a serving bowl, toss radicchio, arugula, and endive. Top with pomegranate arils (seeds). Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, oil, vinegars, maple syrup, and salt to taste. Add about 2 Tbsp water to thin dressing. Plate each serving of salad and drizzle with dressing to serve.