Spring is an opportunity to refresh and remodel—even if you’re an immune cell! Before the age of the global marketplace and some foods traveling half the planet to reach your plate, springtime heralded the first availability of fresh produce after months of eating stored and preserved foods. For plants, gradually lengthening days invite buds, tender shoots, and delicate foliage to unfurl. Soups and salads begin to feature imaginative offerings like sorrel, nettles, dandelion greens, cresses, and even edible flowers like pansies or nasturtiums
In Japan, it’s traditional to eat a special blend of seven bitter medicinal greens in the spring, and in France, bottles of fresh birch sap are lined up for sale. Whatever your tradition, spring is a great time to reintroduce your palate to cleansing bitter greens and sprouts/microgreens. In fact, bitter principles from green tea, white tea, buckwheat, olives and olive oil, onions, matcha tea, apples, and peppers are known to encourage cell renewal and the elimination of aged and damaged cells. Himalayan Tartary Buckwheat is an especially beneficial bitter because it is naturally gifted with generous levels of the plant nutrient rutin that your gut microbes can convert into quercetin, which helps cells rejuvenate. For more on how quercetin educates immunity, here’s a link you might enjoy.
For A Deeper Dive
Does it seem odd that a food’s natural flavor may alter immune function? Those interested in the scientific skinny on the health effects of bitters may appreciate this Big Bold Health research summary.