Top 10 Bitter Foods to Balance Your Predominantly Sweet Diet

Since our diets are already predominantly sweet, with natural sugars from fruits and honey to the more dangerous type present in cakes and cookies, it might be good to introduce a new flavor profile — bitter foods, especially if nutritionists claim that they can be nutritious too.

Our palates are familiar with flavors like sour, spicy, salty and tart, but not many of us would consciously try bitter foods. But, what if someone told you that kale, dark chocolate and red wine fall under the category of healthy bitter foods; would you want to try some of them now?

1. Bitter Melon

This vegetable has had a major presence in many Asian cuisines, including Indian, but has only recently been accepted by others. Bitter melons may have diuretic properties and could improve metabolism, detoxify the body and provide antiviral protection.

2. Eggplant

Often referred to as the king of vegetables, eggplants are used in various cuisines like Indian, Persian and Italian. These vegetables are rich in antioxidants, especially the deep purple version and may provide fiber, magnesium and potassium too.

3. Broccoli

Sinigrin is the component that gives broccoli its slightly bitter flavor, making it a no-no for most kids and some adults. But this cruciferous vegetable is rich in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants and may also have anti-cancer properties.

4. Chicory

Low in calories and rich in nutrients like magnesium and manganese, chicory is often used as a substitute for coffee. It is also considered an easily-digestible vegetable, which means that it may be easily processed by the body.

5. Radicchio

Closely related to chicory and endives, radicchio has a mildly bitter flavor that may not overpower your palate and could be easily mixed into salads for an added crunch.

6. Arugula

This spicy salad green has been used for ages and rightly so because it is rich in calcium, potassium, folate and vitamins C, K and A. It may also contain antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties.

7. Grapefruit

Of all the citrus varieties, grapefruits are the most bitter. They provide vitamin C, beta-carotene and lycopene among other nutrients and may support heart health and weight loss and prevent insulin resistance to reduce the risk of diabetes.

8. Red Wine

Of the two types of wine, the red variety is more bitter than the white and is said to be a good source of resveratrol, an antioxidant that could support immunity and heart health. The aging process of the wine can reduce the intensity of the bitterness, but you may feel it in newer bottles.

9. Cocoa

In its purest form, cocoa can be very bitter and this often translates to the bitter chocolate varieties with more than 70 percent cocoa content. This kind of chocolate may be a good source of antioxidants, so, maybe you can indulge in a piece of your favorite dark chocolate without feeling too guilty.

10. Dandelion Greens

Dandelion, a common plant that grows wild in most areas is often removed from lawns and garden because of its rapid growth. But, this plant, especially the leaves, might have some medicinal properties. Dandelion is rich in potassium, calcium, vitamin C and magnesium and is used in salads, teas and juices.


17 Bitter Foods. (2018, August 13). Retrieved from