Apple Cider Vinegar: More Than a Mere Salad Dressing
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”…the old adage came from the medieval English saying, which meant “to eat an apple before going to bed will make the doctor beg for his bread.” Nevertheless, this saying can not be possibly applicable to the modern times where most people suffer from innumerable diseases, kept in check by a team of specialist doctors ranging from a general physician to a cardiologist besides others. This is one of the most important factors for the current generation turning towards natural organic foods to improve their overall well-being.
Down the Ages
The use of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) dates back to 5000 BC, when the Babylonians used the fruit of the date palm to make wine and vinegar as a food besides a pickling and preservation agent leftovers. The usage of vinegar has also been seen in the ancient Egyptian urns traced to 3000 BC. Recorded history of vinegar in China starts from texts that date back to 1200 BC. The Babylonians used it as a condiment and preservative, while Julius Caesar’s army used Apple cider vinegar as a tonic to stay healthy and fight off disease. The Greeks and Romans kept vinegar vessels for healing and flavouring. During biblical times, vinegar has earned mention in both the old and New testaments as a flavouring of food, a refreshing drink, and as a healing agent. In ancient Greece, around 400 BC, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for a variety of ills. During the middle Ages, it was sold by street vendors from barrels as a body deodorant, healing tonic and a health drink. Christopher Columbus and his crew on their voyage to discover America in 1492 had their vinegar barrels for prevention of scurvy, as did the soldiers in the American Civil War. For centuries in Japan, the feared Samurai warriors drank it for strength and power. In Asia, vinegar is called the friend of Chinese herbs because it is often used to process herbal preparations. It is also successfully used in modern Chinese medicine.
Mother Nature’s Perfect Food
Apple cider vinegar is made from fresh, organic, crushed apples that are set aside in wooden barrels to ripen naturally as wood seems to improve natural fermentation. The juice then turns to wine or cider, which is fermented twice until the alcohol mixes with oxygen in the air, changing it into acetic acid and water. While undergoing two fermentation processes it produces enzymes and life giving nutrients making Apple Cider Vinegar a treasure trove of nutrients. The colour of ACV should be rich, amber with the “mother” – a tiny formation of “cobweb-like” substance- visible at the bottom with ageing.
Powerhouse of Nutrients
According to scientists, Apple Cider Vinegar contains ninety different substances such as thirteen types of carbolic acids, four aldehydes, twenty ketones, eighteen types of alcohols, eight ethyl acetates besides important minerals, trace elements like Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Chlorine, Sodium, Sulfur, Copper, Iron, Silicon, and Fluorine. They also contain Vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Provitamin beta-carotene, Vitamin P as well acetic acid, propionic acid, lactic acid, enzymes, amino acids as well as roughage in the form of potash and apple pectin.
Nutritious benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Potassium: Apples and Apple Cider Vinegar contain a large number of Minerals that are easily absorbed in the body. Of them all , potassium content is found in abundance, which when combined with sodium helps balance the water levels, muscle contraction, signalling nerve pulses maintains the normal rhythm of the heart and is vital for preserving carbohydrate that breaks down fats to energy.
Magnesium: Although found in less quantities in Apple cider Vinegar, this mineral is essential for the activity of enzymes and production of energy. It facilitates absorption of calcium and potassium vital for strong teeth, healthy bones, preventing hair fall and occurrence of runny noses.
Soluble Fibre: Pectin a water-soluble fibre is found aplenty in apples. Therefore, it is but natural that ACV too contains pectin that enables better absorption of fat, water, toxins and cholesterol in the digestive tract and eliminates them from the body. Besides this Pectin also lowers blood pressure levels, helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and stabilizes glucose absorption thus enhancing cardiac health.
Insoluble Fibre: The insoluble fibre present in apples boosts digestive health by facilitation better digestion and promoting healthy bowel movements.
Apple cider vinegar contains antioxidants in the form of vitamins, amino acids, and bioflavonoid that protect the body from risk of developing cancer and harmful free radical damage.
Apple Cider Vinegar contains antiseptic properties, which is because of the presence of acetic acid comprising of 5%, including malic acid, lactic acid, and various amino acids in less quantities. These prevent invasion of bacterial and yeast attacks in the digestive track. Consuming apple cider vinegar before meals, helps improve stomach acidity besides improving absorption of nutrients from food intake enhancing digestion.
Acidic pH Balance: Apple cider vinegar benefits the body to maintain a healthy alkaline pH level. According to Research, a lower pH balance with high acid levels results in lack of energy, higher instances of infection, increased production of mucous besides a host of other condition. However, Apple Cider Vinegar due to its therapeutic effects has the ability to balance the pH levels to become more alkaline.
Uses and Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking 1 to 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar mixed into a glass of water every day, can offer innumerable benefits. If it tastes too tart, add a tablespoon of raw honey. Nevertheless, shake the bottle well before pouring.
- Prevents flu and stomach illness
- Dissolves kidney/Gallstones
- Helps reduce/prevent acne
- Regulates pH balance in the body
- Relieves nausea
- Ease heartburn or chronic acid reflux
- Alleviates asthma
- Prevents allergies
- Lowers glucose levels in diabetics
- Helps break down fat
- Relieves migraines
- Protects against sinus pressure and infection
- Maintains healthy blood pressure
- Stabilizes cholesterol levels
- Terminates cancer cells and slow their growth
- Reduces inflammation
- Gets rid of buildup on scalp
- Reduces arthritis/ Gout
- Gets rid of finger toenail fungus
- Provides Anti ageing effect
- Soothes sore throat
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Protects from food poisoning
- Good for pets
- Aids Flee reduction
- Effective for body odour
- Chemical free powerful household cleansing agent
- Deodorizing agent
- Body detox
- Weight loss remedy
- Eases sunburns
- Removes stains from teeth
- Makes an excellent after shave
- Superb after shampoo rinse for hair
- Cures hiccups
- Cuts down on night time leg cramps
- Fights depression
- Promotes vision health
- Removes warts
- Remedy for insect bites
- Relieves fatigue
Apple cider vinegar may interact with certain drugs such as thyroid medication digoxin (heart medication), diuretics like lasix (furosemide), prescription laxatives iron supplements and insulin.
Due to its high acidic content, frequent taking of apple cider vinegar may weaken the tooth enamel.
Excessive doses of apple cider vinegar have been found to cause damage to skin and throat.
Excessive consumption of apple cider vinegar could lead to low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia) and low bone density.