Skip to main content

5 Bitter Foods, Which You Better Eat, for Good Health and Immunity

As a parent, Chitrangada writes to spread awareness regarding common health problems in children, and suggests tried and tested solutions.

Bitter gourd or Karelia

Bitter gourd or Karelia

Bitter, but healthy foods, because ‘Bitter Is Better’

Who likes to eat bitter food items?

I don't think anyone does. Usually people love, either the sweet food, or the salted ones, or some of us even like spicy food.

When my kids were younger, it was a tough task to feed them something healthy, which was not sweet enough. And they used to ask me, why the good and healthy food, has to taste so terrible, and bitter.

In this articl, I am going to talk about some bitter foods, which are so essential to eat, for the general health of our internal organs.

The health experts and the nutritionists, are of the opinion, that the deficiency of the bitter foods in our regular cooking, is responsible for the growing diseases among the humans, to a great extent.

How to make the Bitter gourd or Karela Juice source: You tube

Bitter Gourd or Karela

Something, which can be so bitter, but extremely beneficial---Bitter Gourd or Karela, is the best example for that.

It can be eaten as a veggie, but there are some specific ailments, for which it is used as a home remedy.


  • Provides coolness,
  • Good for digestion/Improves digestion,
  • Purifies blood,
  • Very effective in urine related diseases,
  • Eliminates worms,
  • Detoxifies,
  • It helps to keep the sugar level under control for Diabetics,
  • The raw juice of bitter gourd or Karela, is very effective in the treatment for Acne/ Pimples, as it has the property of purifying the blood.
  • Regular consumption helps in eliminating smaller stones through urine.
Methi or fenugreek leaves

Methi or fenugreek leaves

Methi Daana or fenugreek seeds

Methi Daana or fenugreek seeds

Health benefits of fenugreek seeds (methi) , Source: YouTube

Fenugreek Seeds or Methi

Methi or the Fenugreek is also bitter, but a healthy food. It’s fresh leaves are also eaten as veggies or in paranthas, in India. But the seeds are available throughout the year, and is an important part of the Indian cooking and spices.

You can take it either raw, or roast it and powder it.


  • Cures Constipation,
  • Effective in treating acidity or heartburn,
  • Very beneficial to women in the post natal period. Helps to shrink back the Uterus and eliminates all the impure blood,
  • Methi is considered very effective, for the lactating mothers, as it increases the milk produce,
  • Helps to regulate bile, cough and gases and the diseases related to them,
  • Helpful in providing relief, to the joint pains and Arthritis,
  • Helps in reducing bad cholesterol, and increases good cholesterol,
  • Good for treating thinning of hair and dandruff.
Neem tree, leaves and Nimboli, it’s seeds

Neem tree, leaves and Nimboli, it’s seeds

Scroll to Continue

Amazing benefits of Neem leaves, Source:YouTube

Neem or the Indian Lilac

  • Neem tree is found in most of the Asian countries. Almost all parts of this tree is used, for medicinal purposes. Neem tree has loads of properties, not only to provide good health, but also for prevention from diseases.
  • Neem is anti fungal, anti bacterial, anti diabetic and anti inflammatory. It’s seeds, flowers, leaves and the tender stems, all are used for medicinal purposes. Since it is found in abundance, it is very inexpensive, even for the poor people.

Neem benefits:

  • The tender apex leaves are boiled and administered, to the patient having ordinary fever or even malarial fever.
  • Neem tablets and syrups are available, in the Ayurvedic shops.
  • Neem leaves are boiled in water, and then mixed in the buckets. The same water is used to take bath, for the skin related diseases, such as chicken pox.
  • Neem leaves are chewed, first thing in the morning by patients of Diabetes, to keep their blood sugar level, under control,
  • In addition, it works wonders for your teeth and gums, and fights and cures diseases, related to them,
  • Neem tablets are very effective, in treating constipation and joint pains,
  • Neem oil is beneficial, in providing relief to the gout patients.
Turmeric roots

Turmeric roots

Health benefits of Turmeric, source: YouTube

Turmeric and it’s powder, is commonly used in Indian cooking

Turmeric and it’s powder, is commonly used in Indian cooking

Turmeric or Haldi

  • Haldi or Turmeric is a common ingredient, in most of Indian cuisine. It’s powder is used in making veggies, and daal or pulses.
  • Besides, the common turmeric used in cooking, there are 3 other types of turmerics, used only for medicinal purposes, namely---Kapoor haldi, vana haldi and daaru haldi.
  • Haldi or turmeric can be consumed, in powder form, or by mixing in water.

Benefits and properties:

  • Turmeric or Haldi is loaded with nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, calcium, potassium, sodium, fiber and minerals like Iron, zinc, copper, magnesium etc.
  • Turmeric is excellent for skin care. In India, there is a tradition of applying Turmeric or Haldi paste to the bride to be, because it brings a definite glow to her face, and keeps the skin free, from the spots and blemishes.
  • One teaspoonful of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk, cures cough and sore throat.
  • Turmeric or Haldi powder, if taken regularly in food, keeps your immune system strong.
  • It also helps to fight many diseases related to the skin, bile, cold and cough, urine or urinary tract related diseases.
  • It purifies blood, heals wounds and cures pains, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It helps to cure wounds faster, if applied on the affected part as a paste, and also helps, to clot the blood faster.
Saffron or kesar

Saffron or kesar

Saffron plant/ flower

Saffron plant/ flower

Benefits of Saffron, source: YouTube

Saffron or Kesar

One of the World‘s best Saffron or Kesar is cultivated in Kashmir, India. Good quality Saffron is of dark orange color and they must be preserved in cool place, preferably in refrigerators. Otherwise, they lose all their goodness.

  • Saffron or Kesar has such components and properties, which make it antiseptic, antioxidant, anti depressant and digestive.
  • It contains the major Vitamins and minerals, which help to cleanse and detoxify, the internal organs.
  • It is very effective, in regulating the heart rate and the blood pressure.
  • It is considered a boon for the digestion related problems, such as acidity and heartburn.
  • It purifies the blood and prevents clots.
  • Saffron is taken in a little amount only, almost a pinch. It should be soaked in 1 tablespoon milk or water, before consuming it.
  • It is popularly used in sweets, or Pulav or Biryani, and only a little amount should be used.

To Conclude: Bitter is Sometimes Better

According to the Ayurveda, there are six types of tastes; namely--sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, spicy and astringent. And, it‘s advisable to include all these tastes, in our daily diet, according to our body type.

1. Bitter foods are responsible, for cleansing our internal organs.

2. Bitter food is anti bacterial, anti viral, anti inflammatory and anti toxic.

3. Bitter food reduces, itchiness of the skin and cures, cold and cough.

4. It improves bone health and reduces fat.

5. Is excellent for digestion, and the hea issues, related to acidity and constipation.

Therefore, make it a point to include some bitter taste, in your daily diet, for natural cleansing of your whole system.


“To a hungry person, every bitter food is sweet. When the preferable is not available, the available becomes preferable!”

― Israelmore Ayivor

Further Suggested Readings

1. Bitter gourd benefits, via Healthline
2. Fenugreek health benefits, via Medical news today

3. Saffron health benefits, via Healthline

4. Turmeric health benefits, via healthline

5. Neem health benefits, via Medical Darpan

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Chitrangada Sharan


Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on March 31, 2017:

Thanks Peg Cole for reading and appreciating the hub!

Glad you liked the information. Turmeric is almost a regular in Indian cooking. And Saffron is included in Sweets and milk shakes.

It's always easy to include these super foods in our daily diet if one is conscious of their immense health benefits.

Thanks for the positive feedback and comments!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on March 31, 2017:

Great information here. I've heard of a couple of these foods: turmeric and saffron. The yellow rice we prepared years ago had a packet of saffron to add during the cooking process. These days, that has been replaced by a less potent mixture. My sister has seen great results in taking turmeric supplement that has reduced her upper arm swelling following lymph node removal surgery.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on July 03, 2014:

Thank you aviannovice, for reading this hub and your positive feedback!

Ginger has antioxidants as well. Yogurt is a must in my diet too, everyday.

Thanks for appreciation!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on July 03, 2014:

Nice material! Recently, I have been drinking ginger tea, which is anti fungal. I have also been eat probiotic yogurt, which has gotten my stomach and intestinal bacteria back to normal. I no longer crave sweets as a result.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 30, 2014:

Thank you Hady Chahine, for your kind visit and comments!

After reading your comments, I did a little bit research and asked one of my friend, who has good knowledge of Ayurveda. And I am happy to tell you that Bitter gourd and Neem are very effective in the treatment of Psoriasis. Fresh leaves and juice is best, but the Ayurvedic tablets and cream is available Online as well, if you are not getting them fresh.

I wish your friend all the best of health. Thank you!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 30, 2014:

Thank you Nithya, for your kind visit and positive comments!

Yes, bitter gourd is slightly difficult to eat, but I have seen people maintaining their blood sugar level by consuming bitter gourd juice everyday. It has also helped many, whom I know had acute acne problems and this and neem juice combined helped them to get rid of this stubborn problem.

Thank you for your continued support!

Hady Chahine from Manhattan Beach on June 30, 2014:

Interesting hub! A friend of mine suffers from psoriasis, so it is possible these foods might help with his condition. I will forward this hub and report back what I learn.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 30, 2014:

Great hub about bitter foods that are good for health, bitter gourd is a bit difficult to eat and the juice is very very bitter! Thank you for sharing this.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 30, 2014:

Thank you teaches12345, for reading and commenting!

Glad you liked the hub. Thanks for your support!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 30, 2014:

Hi Nellieana!

I am honored to see you visit my hub and share your valuable and insightful comments!

Thanks for doing all the research about the bitter gourd. Definitely others will benefit from this. I have edited my hub and added to read your comments below, to understand the food I am talking about.

As you mentioned, many Indians are living in your country and they must have managed to bring these foods there also. Some of my relatives living there tell me that they get everything in Indian and other stores.

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments!

Dianna Mendez on June 29, 2014:

I must boost my consumption of saffron. It sounds like a wonderful aid for digestion. Thanks for the information on these bitter foods.

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on June 29, 2014:

What a valuable article! Like my fellow countrymen here, I've never seen any of the 5 except turmeric and saffron in this country, and saffron is VERY expensive. But I've not shopped in stores which cater to Indian cooking and preferences, and no doubt there are some, since there are many of your countrymen living in my city. Also they may be sold in health-food stores. If sold in powdered form, they may also be found in the gourmet or foreign departments of our everyday grocery stores. I'll be looking!

I just love turmeric, ginger, curry and cumin and use them very frequently and liberally. I'm something of a health-nut and focus on healthy food, anyway, so their good health values attracts me, as well as tastes I love.

By the way, I looked up bitter gourd and learned it is known by other names, an awareness of which might help people looking for it in the stores and in different locations. Here is what I learned:

"Momordica charantia often called bitter melon, bitter gourd or bitter squash in English, has many other local names. Goya from the indigenous language of Okinawa and karavella from Sanskrit are also used by English-language speakers.

It is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, which is extremely bitter. Its many varieties differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit.

Bitter melon originated on the Indian subcontinent, and was introduced into China in the 14th century."

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 28, 2014:

Thank you rasta1, for your kind visit and positive comments!

Marvin Parke from Jamaica on June 27, 2014:

Bitter Melon and aloe vera grows wild in Jamaica. Those two are the main bitters used in Jamaica. It works exactly as you have described.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 27, 2014:

Thank you lilmissmontana, for your kind visit and comments!

I hope you get some of these bitter foods at your place. In India these are found in abundance. You can also get tablets prepared from these foods, at some Herbal or Ayurveda stores.

Thank you!

Erin Nichols from Montana on June 26, 2014:

I have never heard of most of these. I guess that means I need to do a little research and shop around. I don't mind bitter stuff too much and perhaps I will try to include a few of these in my daily routine. Thank you for sharing.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 26, 2014:

Thanks tmbridgeland, for your kind visit and comments!

I believe it may be available in some places. Although in India, it is so readily available that it is easier.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and have a good day!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 26, 2014:

Thank you suzettenaples, for your kind visit and positive comments!

I am sure you can get some of these or some similar foods at your place. If not you can get tablets from Herbal or Ayurvedic shops prepared from these bitter foods.

Lemon is not bitter but surely healthy because of its Antioxidant properties.

Thanks and appreciate your continued support.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 26, 2014:

Hi Hezekiah!

Thanks for your kind visit and comments!

I know it is very difficult to love the taste of these bitter food. But for the sake of health and prevention from chronic diseases we should take them at least once a day.

l am sure these foods must be available in Japan.

Thank you so much!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 26, 2014:

Hi Nell!

Thanks for reading and commenting! I am sure you can get at least some of these bitter food at your place. Ayurveda or Herbal products shops sell tablets or powder prepared from these foods, so that they are available round the year.

Appreciate your votes, support and share!

tmbridgeland from Small Town, Illinois on June 25, 2014:

Bitter gourd is available in at least some grocery stores in the US. It is good sliced thin and stir-fried with any meat. This is a common food in Japan, especially Okinawan dishes. I have tried many times to grow it in my garden, but no luck. The seeds are very fragile, and shatter easily.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on June 25, 2014:

I never stopped to think about including bitter foods in my diet. These are great suggestions. Other than turmeric and saffron, I don't know if we have this in the U. S. I do use lemon and limes in my cooking. I don't know of these are what you consider as bitter foods. Thanks for and interesting and informative hub!

Hezekiah from Japan on June 25, 2014:

Thanks for the Hub and yes indeed there are some bitter foods that are really good for us. The only problem is the ability to stomach them.

Nell Rose from England on June 25, 2014:

Hiya, not sure what we can buy over here, but I will certainly be looking out for these, great information Chitrangada, thanks! voted up and shared, nell

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 25, 2014:

Thank you Devika, for your kind visit and comments!

Appreciate your continued support!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 25, 2014:

Thank you billybuc, for stopping by! Appreciate your comments!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 25, 2014:

Thank you Ericdierker, for your visit and comments!

Appreciate your support!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 25, 2014:

Turmeric is my favorite and have always used it in my cooking. A very useful hub.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 25, 2014:

Only one of them is available here, but I will keep looking for the others. Thank you for the information.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 25, 2014:

I am all on board here. Funagreek and Neem (Take) are not so available here with consistency. Great hub, Thank you

Related Articles