Thursday, July 24, 2014

Essential Ingredient for Good Health -- Apple Cider Vinegar

 I have always heard about the many uses for vinegar – window cleaning, hard-water stain remover, flavor enhancer – but lately, I’ve been hearing more and more about apple cider vinegar (ACV). Many say that it's a miracle liquid that will stop cancer, help you lose weight and clean your house all at the same time.

First of all, how is apple cider vinegar made? Apple juice is fermented to make hard apple cider and is then fermented a second time into apple cider vinegar. All of the good, nutritional qualities of the apples stay in the end product. Also, the cider has extra acids and enzymes as added bonuses.

ACV has been around a long time. The Babylonians used it as a condiment and preservative. The Greeks and Romans used it for food flavor enhancement and for healing. Hippocrates used it as a health tonic. During the Middle Ages, the Parisians used it as a deodorant, healing tonic and preserver of youth. Columbus had barrels aboard his ships to help prevent scurvy. Japanese Samurai warriors drank it to increase strength and power. American Civil War soldiers used it to disinfect and heal wounds.

In more modern times, in 1958 Dr. D.C. Jarvis published Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health. He explained that ACV was a cure-all that could destroy harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. In the 1970s, ACV became popular again when proponents said that ACV could help with weight loss by speeding metabolism.

Today, researchers tell of its myriad of uses: 

  • Aids in weight loss 
  • Helps make a heart healthy
  • Lowers insulin levels which helps diabetes
  • May help prevent cancer
  • Repels fleas on pets
  • Reduces heartburn
  • Enhances a massage treatment
  • Used as a natural after shave 
  • Stops leg cramps

didn’t find any real side effects of ACV as long as taken in normal amounts. I did find a couple of warnings about ACV in pill form because the pills can irritate the esophagus. 

The ACV I have ever bought has been a clear, golden liquid. After my research, I find that I’ve been buying the wrong kind. The best is the organic, unfiltered ACV. You’ll recognize it because it’s a little cloudy. The reason for this rather hazy appearance is called mother, which are the proteins, enzymes and good bacteria. All of the stuff in ACV that makes it good for you is found in the mother. 
My personal introduction to consuming ACV happened this week. I set out to buy regular, but organic, ACV. My plan was to take a couple of spoonfuls a day and be on the road to better health. I looked at it like a dose of daily medicine. When I got to the grocery store, instead of buying simple ACV, I bought this enticing drink -- Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar All Natural Drink with Cinnamon. 

checked out the ingredients which are, in order of their placement on the label, pure distilled water, organic apple juice, Bragg organic ACV, organic cinnamon, and organic Stevia extract. I figured that since I liked the taste of most of the ingredients, I would be able to get more ACV per day by drinking one of these. Another selling point is that the drink is only 16 calories per serving.

was really intrigued with the label on this drink because there was so much to read on it. The label brags (no pun intended) that the product is Kosher, Certified Organic, and a healthy energy drink. In a marketing move, the word organic is used eight times. There's also a suggestion to Please Recycle and an announcement that the drink is gluten-free. The label contains a Christian fish with 3 John: 2 inside. That verse reads: Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

The 16-ounce drink costs $2.99 which is rather expensive, but each bottle contains two servings. Instead of paying that much, I decided to make my own at home. 

Here are some helpful recipes I found:

Cheers to better health!