by Leon Tan, Nutritionist
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) falls right in line with garlic as being one of the most talked-about natural remedies in folk medicine.
Traditional uses of ACV are vast. To name just a few: it has been used to ease digestion, aid in flu prevention, reduce inflammation, regulate pH balance, alleviate allergy symptoms, ease nausea and heartburn, as a staple in detox regimens, and to treat a number of skin conditions, including reducing acne and smoothing wrinkles.
What Do We Know About Raw, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar?
Raw, organic ACV is made from sweet varieties of organic apples. These apples undergo a double fermentation process, which produces enzymes and creates many of the vinegar’s health-promoting characteristics. As sugar in the apples is broken down, the first ferment yields what we know as “hard” cider, or alcoholic cider. The second fermentation brings forth ACV.
Organic ACV is unpasteurized and contains what is known as the “mother of vinegar”, which is a cobweb-looking solid floating in it, making the vinegar appear somewhat cloudy. Also known as Mycoderma aceti, mother of vinegar is created when acetic acid bacteria and a type of cellulose develop during the fermentation process. Mother of vinegar contains health-promoting characteristics such as live nutrients and friendly bacteria, and lets you know that the vinegar is unpasteurized. Most vinegar manufacturers nowadays pasteurize the vinegar before it hits the shelves, to get rid of the mother of vinegar, and in turn, a lot of the nutrients that the vinegar offers.
When choosing an ACV, make sure to select one that is raw, organic and unpasteurized, as the pasteurization process can destroy many of the health benefits.
Some of the beneficial properties contained within the mother of vinegar include:
- Potassium: Essential for healthy metabolism, as well as water and chemical balance in the body.
- Iron: Important for blood health.
- Magnesium: Vital to heart health.
- Enzymes: Boost chemical reactions in the body.
- Malic acid: Protects vinegar from viruses, bacteria and fungus.
- Acetic acid: Slows the digestion of starch and inhibits bacterial growth.
- Calcium: Builds strong bones and teeth.
- Pectin: Helps regulate blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Ash: Maintains a healthy alkaline state in the body.
- Other Minerals, Trace Elements and Vitamins: Copper, Phosphorus, Pro-vitamin beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin P.
More Powerhouse Properties
Alkalinity: A big reason why ACV is so effective for so many conditions is because it makes the body alkaline, as opposed to acidic. The more acidic your body is, the better the environment for sickness and disease to take hold. Even though ACV is acidic, it has an alkalinizing impact on the body during digestion, unlike other vinegars.
The 3 A’s: ACV contains potent antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, which help to make it so effective for so many conditions.
Detoxifier: Toxins often accumulate in our bodies, and the malic acid in ACV helps to eliminate these dangerous compounds. By doing so, ACV supports healthy kidney, bladder and liver function.
A Word about Potassium Deficiency
Potassium deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies today due to the typical modern diet that is high in sodium and low in potassium. Sodium is found in high quantities in most processed foods and seasonings used in cooking. Fresh fruits and vegetables are primary source of potassium, unfortunately due to industrialized agriculture, potassium in fruits and vegetables has also been reduced significantly.
Potassium is an electrolyte that helps to maintain blood pressure and electrolyte balance within the body. It also helps to build proteins and break down carbohydrates, while controlling the electrical activity of the heart. Potassium is also known to support proper nerve function throughout the body.
Studies have shown that a diet rich in potassium helps in the prevention of conditions such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, kidney disease, and osteoporosis. Potassium-rich foods such as ACV helps to counter the adverse effects of excess sodium in the typical diet, thus improving the body’s electrolyte balance and overall well-being.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Exceptional Health
The benefits of living a healthy lifestyle are practically endless. By eating a balanced, nutritious diet, exercising regularly, practicing stress reducing techniques and getting enough rest, you will do much to improve your quality of life, and possibly even increase its longevity.
The natural world is full of the raw materials that we need to be healthy. Adding ACV to an already healthy and clean lifestyle is just one way that you can utilize a simple, natural provision that costs so little for so much benefits.
The following are some little known usages of ACV that you might not have heard of until today:
If you are injured or prone to nosebleeds, soak a cotton ball in ACV and lightly pack your nostril. Lean forward for 10 minutes, pressing nostrils together. ACV contains properties that help constrict blood vessels and slow bleeding.
Although many things can cause diarrhoea and it is sometimes just a way that the body rids itself of dangerous compounds, it should not be ignored. The pectin in ACV helps to form bulk in the stool, which works against diarrhoea and also works to eliminate the bacteria that causes it. In the intestines, gut flora help to turn pectin into a soothing coating that protects the irritated colon. Mix 2 tablespoons of ACV with 1 tablespoon of raw honey and 8 ounces of water, and sip the mixture throughout the day.
Do you often feel fatigued halfway through your workout? While you are working out, lactic acid collects in your muscles and contributes to a heavy and fatigued feeling. ACV helps to push the toxins produced as a by-product of exercise out of your body and balances your pH levels. For an extra boost to get you through a tough routine, mix 1 tablespoon of ACV in 8 ounces of distilled water and drink during your workout. Follow this with 9 ounces of distilled water.
Nail fungus is unsightly and can be painful. This fungus begins as a white spot and eventually becomes a yellow spot under the tip of your finger or toenail. The fungus will spread and go deeper into your nail, causing it to discolour and thicken with crumbling edges. ACV can be used to help with nail fungus in two ways; you can drink 2 tablespoons of ACV mixed in 8 ounces of water 3 times daily to help balance pH levels, and also massage a mixture of 2 tablespoons ACV and 1 tablespoon water into your affected nail 3 times a day.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the nerve which runs from the forearm to the palm of the hand is pressed or squeezed at the wrist. People who work long hours with their hands or in a repetitive motion suffer from this condition. Because ACV contains anti-inflammatory properties, it has been used as an effective remedy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If you are bothered by the pain of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, mix 1 tablespoon of ACV with 8 ounces of water and drink 3 times a day on an empty stomach.
Fruit Fly Destroyer
If you have ever battled fruit flies, you know how much of a nuisance they can be. Pour some ACV into a container with a few holes and watch the flies disappear.
Consuming alcohol leaves toxins in our body, which contribute to that nasty hangover. ACV helps to balance pH levels while replenishing minerals including potassium, calcium, iron, sodium and magnesium. What does this mean for you? It means that you will recover much quicker. Mix 2 tablespoons of ACV into 8 ounces of distilled water and drink – repeat this 2 more times during the day. You may also add some raw honey for taste.
Commercial drain cleaners are dangerous and can cause stinging of the eyes, rashes, respiratory damage and other medical conditions. To avoid this, use a mixture of ACV and baking soda. This solution is not only better for your health, but also better for your pipes. To unclog drains, funnel ½ cup of baking soda into your drain and follow it with 1 cup of ACV. After the foaming stops, flush the drain with hot water and wait five minutes. After this, flush with cold water. If you have a slow running drain, you can pour in ½ cup of salt followed by cold water. Do this monthly to keep your drains running smoothly.
Remove Water Rings from Furniture
To remove the white rings left by wet glasses, mix equal parts of ACV and olive oil, and apply the mixture to your furniture with a soft cloth. Use another clean cloth for shining – be sure to go with the wood grain.
Relieve itching by mixing 1 cup of ACV in 5 cups of distilled water. Wash the affected areas with a clean cloth dipped in the mixture. This will help reduce swelling and will also help keep the infection from spreading.
For clean toilets and a fresh-smelling bathroom, pour some ACV into your toilet and allow it to sit overnight. Clean windows, glasses, wood and tile floors and mirrors with a mixture of ½ cup ACV and 1 cup water.
ACV in Cooking
If you are using ACV only for making a drink, you are seriously underutilizing its full potentials. ACV is a great tool in cooking. Here are a few examples:
- Salad dressing – Mix flaxseed oil, ACV, a little bit of honey and herbs; sprinkle dressing over a salad – adds wonders to its taste.
- Marinate – Marinating meat in ACV helps tenderize the meat and kill bacteria. In ¾ cup of ACV add your spices and herbs. Marinate the meat in the mixture for a few hours or overnight.
- The perfect poached eggs – Bring a small pot of water to a rapid boil and pour in a drop of ACV. Crack one egg, being careful to keep the yolk intact, and slip the egg into the boiling water. With a spatula, keep the water moving by swirling gently around the egg.
- DIY buttermilk – Take one tablespoon of ACV and add enough milk to make 1 cup (240 ml). Let it stand for 5-10 minutes, and now you have your buttermilk.
- Bed Wetting – Mix 2 drops of ACV in 6 ounces of water and drink at least one hour before bed. ACV helps to reduce acid levels in the stomach, which often contribute to excessive bed wetting.