Eat Bitter Foods for Better Digestion
Sluggish digestion is common in many neurological diseases, including MS.
MS can interrupt the nerve communication between the brain and the intestines, causing the movement of the intestines to become discoordinated or slowed, leading to bowel issues and constipation.
Sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (savory) are the five main tastes. Better health comes from ingesting a balance of these five flavors. Though they add an important element to balancing both our food flavors and our health, many people have a natural preference to steer away from bitter flavored foods.
Bitter tasting foods increase our secretion of digestive enzymes, improving digestion and absorption, and they stimulate peristalsis, the constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine that create wave-like movements to push the contents of the intestines forward, improving bowel function and reducing gas, bloating and constipation.
Some bitter foods to seek out for better digestive health:
· Dark leafy greens: collard greens, broccoli rabe, dandelion
· Chicory family: radicchio and endive
· Bitter beverages: black coffee, green tea
· Very dark chocolate
· Citrus pith (rind), grapefruit
Consuming bitter foods can be a useful tool to help improve sluggish gut motility. Learn more tips and tools for eating better with MS by enrolling in a cooking class with Dr. Bates in our Kitchen Lab at the Judi Volk-Weiss Wellness Center at the IMSMP. Email Kitchenlab@imsmp.org for more information.