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bitter substances

Author: Alexandra Vorsmann ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎|‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎Published: 20. June 2020‎‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎|‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎Updated: 26. April 2021

 

Bitter substances

 

Nice and bitter for the stomach

Rich meals, sweet cookies and chocolate in between, and a couple of glasses of alcohol can sometimes be hard on the stomach. However, there are a few helpful (bitter) herbs to counteract feelings of fullness, heartburn and the like.

For most of us, bitter flavours are not popular. We have almost completely banished them from our menu. They have nowadays even been largely cultivated out of originally bitter-tasting vegetables such as chicory, endive, artichokes or savoy cabbage. However, bitter substances, consumed in moderation, can do a lot of good. Since prehistoric times, they have been used above all due to their digestion-stimulating effect. Yet their influence goes even much deeper ...

Nice and bitter for the stomach

The bitter taste
Bitter substances - Effect
Bitter foods
Help for digestion

 

The bitter taste The bitter taste

Bitter doesn’t have to be bad

Our aversion to bitter substances is not without reason. This is because some bitter substances, such as solanine in raw potatoes or cucurbitacin in ornamental pumpkins, are in fact toxic. Our ancestors, who did not find their food neatly sorted and quality-controlled in the supermarket, had an intuition for such toxic foods – this often saved their lives.

The human tongue identifies only a few basic flavour categories: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (umami = meaty-savoury, triggered by glutamic acid).

This rough classification primarily has one purpose: to immediately detect whether an unknown substance in the mouth is nourishing or hazardous. Sour and bitter signal unripe, fermented or poisonous food; by contrast, salty, sweet and umami signal vital minerals, calories and proteins.

It is not so much the mouth but instead the nose in particular that decides whether we think a food “tastes good”. Its olfactory cells perceive the complex aromas which reach the nasal cavities via the throat.

Bitterness can be (re-)learned

In general, radicchio and artichokes are not exactly among children’s favourite foods. Children strongly reject bitter vegetables in most cases. This is no surprise: Their palate is still far more sensitive than that of adults. For a long time, it was believed that this was because the number and density of taste buds decreases with age. Babies are born with around 10,000 taste buds but only about 2000 remain in old age. However, studies have not confirmed such a connection. It is now assumed that the functionality of taste receptors decreases.

The fact that adults (can) learn to appreciate bitter flavours in the course of life is not due in any case to decreased taste perception. The main reason is simply habituation. The more often we consume bitter foods, the more the body becomes accustomed to the bitter substances. Cultural and social influences play an important role here. For example, adolescents only develop a taste for the bitter “adult beverages” coffee and beer gradually.

Only one thing helps to get a child to accept a rejected vegetable: begin as early as possible and do not give up immediately after the second or third disappointing attempt. According to a British study, it takes five to ten attempts until a majority of children accept a food they initially did not like.

25 receptor types for the bitter taste
Thousands of taste buds in the oral cavity and, in particular, on the tongue are responsible for taste perception – also known as gustatory perception. They contain special receptor cells which transmit taste stimuli to the brain. While we have only one receptor type each for sweet and sour, humans are known to have 25 different bitter receptors.

Yet not everything poisonous tastes bitter and not everything that tastes bitter is poisonous. Even animals, when they have stomach problems, specifically eat bitter-tasting medicinal plants. And in Italian cuisine, which is considered to be healthy in any case, fine bitter flavours, such as from radicchio and artichokes, have a long tradition.

 

Bitter substances ‒ Effect Bitter substances ‒ Effect

Bitter substances promote digestion
Why should we, however, get (re-)accustomed to the bitter taste? For centuries,bitter substances have played an integral role in Ayurvedic, Chinese and traditional European medicine. As the folk saying even goes: “Good medicine must taste bitter, otherwise it’s of no use”. This certainly does not apply to every medicine, yet an important part of the effect of bitter substances is based on their bitter taste. Some scientists support the theory that the body stimulates digestion in order to rid itself quickly of the bitter presumed toxin. erden.

Food is utilised faster and better
The taste of bitterness literally makes one’s mouth water immediately. The bitter stimuli on the tongue reflexively stimulate the production of digestive juices in the mouth and stomach. Upon contact with the gastric mucosa, digestion hormones are additionally excreted which prod the intestines into action: The mucosa contracts and expands once again, metabolic waste and harmful substances are carried away more easily. The digestive secretions released also include bile, which is particularly important for the digestion of fat. Thus food is utilised more thoroughly and faster overall.

Bitter receptors are a part of the immune system
Surprisingly, taste cells are not found only in the mouth and throat. Bitter receptors have now also been identified in the nose and paranasal sinuses, in the intestine and bladder, in the lungs and bronchi, and even in the heart. Which tasks they specifically have there have only been partially decoded.
It is clear that bitter receptors react not only to substances in food but also to “bitter-tasting” bacterial signalling substances. American researchers discovered that people who react particularly strongly to bitter substances (referred to as super tasters) suffer less often from infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria. These also include, for example, the notorious pseudomonads which are frequently resistant to antibiotics.
Upon contact with the bacterial signalling substances, the bitter receptors trigger defence mechanisms: They activate cilia in the respiratory tract so that microbes can be coughed out and they additionally stimulate the release of substances that have an antibacterial effect.
The bitter receptors in the body thus influence not only metabolism but they are also an active part of the immune system.

Bitter substances – Weight loss
Whether bitter substances can also help with weight loss is disputed. Theoretically, the satiation effect occurs earlier due to the accelerated digestion and one automatically eats less as a result. Yet bitter substances alone are hardly likely to lead to sustainable weight loss. However, they may at least help quell disastrous cravings for sweet foods.

 

bittere lebensmittelBitter foods

 

Which foods contain a lot of bitter substances?
If you would like to refine your menu more often with a few bitter notes, there are lots of options available to you. The following table shows you which foods contain a large amount of bitter compounds:

Vegetables
Chicory, arugula, chard, radicchio, artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, endive
Fruit
Orange, grapefruit, pomelo
Herbs & spices
Marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, cloves, juniper, ginger, lemon balm, mugwort, fenugreek, galangal, chervil, turmeric, wormwood
Wild herbs
Dandelion, sorrel, nettle, daisy, goutweed, garlic mustard, hops, chicory, ground ivy, chickweed
Non-nutritional foods
Coffee, black and green tea, beer, red wine, cocoa, dark chocolate

Gentian drops
Bitter substances are not a uniform group of substances and they may have a very different chemical make-up. They are defined simply by the fact that they taste bitter. Like essential oils, flavonoids or tannins, they are considered to be secondary plant substances. Plants form them to protect against being eaten by animals.

The most bitter natural substance in the world is considered to be amarogentin from the yellow gentian root. The bitter substance can be tasted even in a dilution of 1 to 58 million – a concentration formed by diluting a shot glass of amarogentin with the amount of water from 5800 bathtubs. It’s no coincidence that gentian is a popular ingredient in aperitifs and digestive bitters.

Incidentally, organic foods contain a lot of bitter substances in particular. The reason is obvious: since no pesticides are allowed during cultivation, plants must defend themselves against animals that want to eat them and form increased amounts of bitter substances.

Bitterstoffe Tropfen

 

Help for digestion Help for digestion

 

At celebrations in particular, most of us eat too much and too quickly and consume foods which are too high in fat.
But don’t worry – any healthy person who goes overboard for a short period of time does not risk any long-term digestive problems.
ere are a few tips for improving digestion of festive feasts in the short term:

  • Add a few bitter foods to the menu. For example, how about a chicory, arugula or endive salad? As an aperitif before a meal, a stimulating herbal bitter can also kick start digestion. By contrast, the popular “digestifs” after the meal briefly relax the stomach muscles, but hard liquor puts additional strain on the liver and stomach.
  • Give yourself some time – in particular also when eating. Putting too much strain on your stomach quickly causes its muscles to weaken. Take breaks or simply leave a course out of a multicourse meal. And pay attention to your feelings of satiety: it takes the body 15 to 20 minutes to signal that it is full.
  • “After eating, you should take a rest...”
    That depends: anyone who tends to get heartburn is better off not lying down directly after eating. The gastric juices produced during digestion can flow more easily into the oesophagus when lying down.
  • “... or take 1000 steps”.
    Taking a walk after eating is a good idea in principle. The circulatory system gets a boost, intestinal movements and circulation of the gastrointestinal tract are stimulated. However, after heavy meals, it is preferable to first sit down for a while and rest because the body now requires a lot of energy for digestion. High-performance athletics are not recommended.

 

Bitter substance drops

 

Natural bitter substances: Pro Intest

If you would prefer a cautious approach, you can also try out natural bitter substance drops – for example our herbal bitter Pro Intest from TISSO with a balanced ratio of traditionally valuable herbs: wormwood, black walnut, gentian, papaya leaves, olive leaves, cloves, ginger, juniper, quassia wood, dandelion, hyssop, red clover and thyme.

A balanced ratio of traditionally valuable herbs and high-quality alcohol give Pro Intest its flavourful characteristics.

fruktosefrei hefefrei ohne Zusatzstoffe vegan schadstofffrei natĂŒrlich laktosefrei hypoallergen glutenfrei

 

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Alcohol content 32% vol.
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Lower VAT: oddly enough, these prices are real

You can get odd prices at TISSO now for half a year, because we are passing the reduced value added tax directly on to you from July.

Today the reduction in value added tax decided by the Federal Government comes into force. This means that the general rate will only be 16 percent by the end of the year instead of 19 percent. The reduced rate, which also applies to most TISSO products, will fall from 7 to 5 percent.

The online prices in the TISSO webshop apply!

The double re-labelling of all prices in all printed materials would be too costly and not environmentally friendly. So the price information in the catalogue, flyers and price lists remains unchanged.

With orders we automatically calculate the currently reduced value added tax rate in your favour.

For existing subscription deliveries, the value added tax will of course also be adjusted in the coming monthly or quarterly invoices.

We are giving the reduced gross prices to all customers within the EU.
This means that our customers in other EU countries will also benefit from the reduced prices during the temporary reduction in value added tax in Germany.

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