Steamed watercress with butter and vinegar.

Steamed watercress with butter and vinegar.

It is one thing to eat your greens, but are you eating your bitter greens? Bitter greens, such as dandelion, watercress and arugula (just to name a few on the list below) are those greens that actually have a bitter taste on the tongue, but many types can also taste hot, sharp, spicy, chalky or sour. To mitigate the strong taste of some of bitter greens it is best to mix them with other greens, such as lettuce and garden vegetables such as green onions, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Bitter greens help cleanse your body because they promote the secretion of

Hydrochloric acid, which aids in digestion and also help your liver cleanse itself of fat. Bitter greens are rich in and fiber also help remove sludge from your intestines and gall bladder and provide all over anti-inflammatory effects that can benefit several body systems including your digestive, endocrine, lymphatic and circulatory systems. Eating bitter greens can help fill you up and because they are so rich in fiber, they can help you lose weight

Here is a short list of bitter herbs that are widely available in most Canadian grocery stores and that can help you cleanse and rejuvenate your body.

Arugula– this looks like a small green or red oak leaf and has a hot, sharp and peppery taste. It goes great in any salad, in tuna and salmon salads, egg salad and you can eat it tossed with pasta and Parmesan.

Beet Greens – Beet greens are bright green with purple or red veins and have a musky, yet tangy taste that is a bit mustard-like. Beet greens can be chopped fine and added to salads. They go great in soups, stir-fries and stews. They can be served steamed with salt and a bit of apple cider vinegar.

Dandelion – The leaves o the Dandelion are especially powerful cleansers o the liver and can be served boiled, steamed or stir-fried. You can also make dandelion soup with chicken stock, dandelion leaves, white potatoes, navy beans, garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. Dandelion goes great with garlic and you can cook both in olive oil, add fresh Parmesan and stir it into pasta.

Endive –Endive is a pale green lettuce that is white at the roots. It has a smooth, bitter, yet nutty taste that goes well with fried pork and beef dishes and Asian flavors. The leaves are so stiff that you can use them to roll up other healthy foods, such as a salmon or tuna salad, to make a wrap. Endive can also be cut in half, brushed with olive oil and grilled on the barbecue

Frise – This pretty, frilly looking light green lettuce was used almost solely as a garnish for years, but now it is often added to salads. It is milder in flavor than other bitter greens.

Radicchio – This tulip shaped lettuce has red leaves with white veins and tastes very smooth, yet bitter. It can be used to roll up other foods such as ground pork, turkey or beef and the naturally spoon like leaves can act as scoops or healthy dips. Radicchio can also be used as serving base or roll-up for tuna, egg-salad or salmon salad.

Watercress –This spicy, hot pungent green has tiny leaves and light green stems, and is such a strong purgative it can clear your lungs and sinuses of an infection. Watercress is a great addition to any salad, especially ones that contain berries and dried fruit. Watercress also adds a sharp bite to salmon, tuna and egg salad dishes. Steamed watercress is delicious served with a bit of soy sauce and alongside a beef dish.

Note that any of the above bitter greens can add a bit of a bitter nip to any green or fruit smoothie. Whenever you can eat the greens raw, so you can take optimum advantage of the high amounts of Vitamins A and C, iron and calcium that they contain. They do not require elaborate dressings and taste best sprinkled with a bit of olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper.

For more information about doing a Spring cleanse, natural nutrition or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at or call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.


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