The apple is not a forbidden fruit after all. It is a wonderful fruit; varied, delicious, and versatile. When fermented, that is, processed into vinegar, it's a whole other story.The use of apple cider vinegar as a tonic and cure all goes back thousands of years. It has antibacterial properties, especially when mixed with one of nature's other miracles, honey. It's an all-purpose, essential household wonder in a bottle.
Murky vinegar is good vinegar
That lovely, clear champagne-coloured liquid on the supermarket shelf might give your lettuce a little character, but it won't do much for your daily health regimen. Purified, filtered, and steamed, it's glorified salad dressing. Good apple cider vinegar is raw and unfiltered, murky and aromatic, with small swirling flecks, and a bit of brownish sediment on the bottom. The flecks are called the 'mother' of the vinegar; their presence means the vinegar is alive, full of nutrients, and teeming with the health-boosting bacteria your body needs.
Yummy in the tummy
A popular use of apple cider vinegar is to control acid reflux and stomach upsets. As much as it defies logic, proponents of alternative medicine believe that many cases of acid reflux are a result of too little acid in the stomach, not too much. The body, which strives for balance at all times, tries to compensate by pumping acid into the stomach. The result: an acid tummy, which is sometimes accompanied by a burning sensation in the abdomen, chest, even mouth and nostrils.Though some doctors disapprove-saying that ingesting vinegar might worsen the problem-a long-standing folk remedy is to take a teaspoon or two in a few ounces of water, preferably with a little honey, twice a day.
A little help for big problems
Apple cider vinegar is gaining a reputation for reducing cholesterol, for a number of reasons. The unfiltered stuff-the good stuff-contains soluble fiber, which binds to and helps remove fat and cholesterol from the body. It also contains amino acids, which help neutralize LDL cholesterol. Lab tests prove this to be so in rats, but there has been no comprehensive study in humans. The vinegar is said to reduce blood pressure, and some tests do back this up.Most vinegars can lower blood glucose levels as much as 6 percent. Taken after a meal, it can also lower post-meal glucose by slowing down the digestion of starch and reducing the glycemic index of starchy foods.
A good source of vitamins and minerals
Like the fruit in comes from, apple cider vinegar is chock full of essential vitamins, such as C, E, A, B1, B2, B6, beta carotene and bio flavonoids (sometimes called vitamin P). It contains minerals and trace elements like potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, chlorine, copper, sodium, sulphur, fluorine, iron, and silicon.
Brighter, cleaner hair
Some women rinse their hair in apple cider vinegar mixed 50-50 with water. It restores the pH balance of the scalp, discouraging the growth of fungi and the appearance of dandruff. It can be allowed to remain on the hair for at least 15 minutes, and then rinsed out.
Natural doesn't always mean harmless
The advocates of natural healing continue to tout the benefits of apple cider vinegar, claiming it to be a worthy ally in the battle against obesity, poor digestion, arthritis, sore throat, bad skin and osteoporosis. And, like any time-tested alternative treatment, it's worth a try.But it's also important to remember that 'natural' isn't synonymous with 'harmless'. The regular ingestion of apple cider vinegar may have some interactions with drugs you might be taking. It's a good idea to consult your doctor, especially if you're taking medication for cholesterol or high blood pressure.There's also a possibility that a too-strong solution (or even drinking it plain, as some believers do) can burn and damage the oesophagus, stomach, duodenum and liver.So, as with all other health treatments, it doesn't hurt to do a little reading before taking the plunge.
A worthy addition to your pantry
Warnings aside, there's no doubt that apple cider vinegar is a delicious addition to your diet. You can also remove pesticides and kill bacteria from fruits and veggies by washing them in water with a tablespoon or two of vinegar, and pour a teaspoon of it into boiling water to keep steamed vegetables bright. Beans soaked in vinegar and water are said to be less gassy- if you know what we mean.All in all, apple cider vinegar is a must-have for every kitchen. It's a delicious way to add a little zip to your day."This is an excerpt of an article first published by U - The Caribbean Health Digest, a quarterly publication dedicated to health and wellness issues related to all Caribbean people.
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