Nature's Magic Elixir: The Amazing Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
What Makes Apple Cider Vinegar So Great?
Apple cider vinegar has long held a reputation of being one of the most healthful, nutrient filled liquids known to mankind. As little as a teaspoon of this amazing fluid supplies a large amount of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids we need everyday to keep are bodies healthy.
According to The Vinegar Book, Apple cider vinegar contains "more than 30 important nutrients, a dozen minerals, over half a dozen vitamins and essential acids and several enzymes. Plus it has a large does of pectin for a healthy heart."
Scientists have measured, in total, ninety different substances in apple cider including almost two dozen ketones, more than a dozen types of carbolic acids, four aldehydes, eighteen types of alcohols, and several ethyl acetates. Science is consistently confirming the ancient belief that apple cider vinegar truly is a "wonder food."
Can Science Back up These "Natural Cure" Claims
Great question! Unfortunately, there is a tremendous lack of study-based support for many natural remedy claims, but this is not because they do not work, as the FDA and pharmaceutical companies want you to believe.
Scientific research takes money and a lot of it. The FDA rightly requires thorough scientific research and medical studies before approving new drugs on the market (although I could write an entire separate article on the fallacies in that statement alone).
Drug companies gladly pay for these studies because they know that they will make millions off the drug once it is approved. Since there is very little money to be made off of natural remedies, there are very few groups willing to pay the exuberant amount of money required to conduct these studies.
Why Should I Trust Natural Cures?
With thousands of cold and flu medicines, headache medicines and prescription drugs available to us, it's hard to fathom that for the majority of human civilization, we did not have the "wonder drugs." Ancient man didn't have Advil, Cold medicine, or bleach.
Are we really naïve enough to think that for all but the last 150 years, humankind had no effective way to remedy headaches, disinfect wounds, and reduce the effects of colds and coughs? Do we really believe that for thousands of years, mankind used remedies that didn't work?
Or is it possible that the all-knowing God gave us everything we needed for life here on earth from the beginning? Is it possible, that like so much of the great knowledge of the ancient world, we have lost this information and are just now starting to rediscover these truths as well?
Of course, we all know examples of medical practices are no longer performed--blood letting comes to mind as does discouraging women from breastfeeding because "formula is better for the baby"--and for this reason it is reasonable to use healthy caution and common sense when it comes to following any medical advice.
Theses Practices Were Once Supported by Most Mainstream DoctorsClick thumbnail to view full-size
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Apple Cider: Good for What Ails You
- Headaches: Add a dash of vinegar to the water in a vaporizer and inhale the vapors for 5 minutes. Rest for about 15 minutes longer. If headache persists, soak a strip of a brown paper bag in vinegar and place around head like a scarf. Headache should disappear within 45 minutes
- Relief dry night cough: sprinkle apple cider vinegar on pillow
- Sore throat: Make a syrup of 1/4 C honey and 1/4 C vinegar and take 1 TBSP every 4 hours OR sip on a syrup made of 1/2 C vinegar, 1/2 C water, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, and 3 TBSP honey
- Hiccups: Very Slowly sip a glass of warm water with 1 tsp of vinegar
- Unsettled stomach/ gas: Sip on a glass of very warm water mixed with 1 tsp vinegar and 1 Tbsp honey
- Nighttime leg cramps; Drink a glass of water with 1 tsp vinegar, 1 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp calium lactate each day
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Helps to normalize skin's pH, making it helpful in treating skin disorders such as acne, eye infections, mild burns and sunburns, red itchy skin, and body odor
- The Pectin in vinegar binds to cholesterol, removing it from the body, reducing risks of cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and strokes
- The complex carbohydrates an fibers in vinegar may help fight against cancer
- Acid in vinegar aids digestion, and may improve overall metabolism
- The amino acids and enzymes in vinegar may help the body heal cuts and wounds faster when taken daily.
- Vinegar is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and may lesson the likelihood of the body developing toxemia, food poisoning and other blood-borne illnesses.
Vinegar and Memory
Memory loss has been shown to be more frequent in patients with lower than normal B-12 and folate. Some studies suggest that Alzheimer's patients have lower levels of calcium, thiamin, B-12 and niacin.
Apple cider vinegar supplies all of these and a daily dose may just help you remain bright and alert into old age.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Cancer
According to many doctors and naturopaths, many of the effects of aging and cancers are caused by free radicals which damage chromosomes. Free Radicals are in the food we eat and even in the air we breathe. Fortunately, antioxidants absorb free radicals, rendering them harmless.
Beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant found in vinegar is documented in over 70 different studies as lowering one's risk of cancer and boosting the immune system. Deficiency in Vitamin A, also found in vinegar is associated with higher rates of cancers of the bladder, colon and respiratory system.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Arthritis
The Journal of American Dietetic Association reported that arthritis patients are often found to be "grossly deficient in some nutrients" and that the eating a nutrient-rich diet may help arthritis patients.
Ironically, it has long been recommended that arthritis sufferers take a glass of water mixed with 1 tsp vinegar and 1 tsp honey twice daily.
A second prescription is to simmer 1/2 a grapefruit, 1 orange, 1 lemon, and 2 stalks of celery in 4 cups of water. After straining through a jelly bag, stir in 1 Tbsp vinegar and 1 Tbsp Epsom salts. Mix 1/4 C of this mixture with a glass of water and drink twice daily.
For topical application, massage a liniment of 2 egg whites, 1/2 C vinegar and 1/2 C olive oil into sore joints and wipe off with a soft cloth.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Mineral Absorbtion
Iron: Vinegar contains many of the nutrients the body needs to avoid anemia, and adding a splash of vinegar to stews and sauces will increase their acid content, increasing the amount of iron they can leach from iron pans.
Calcium: Adding a splash of vinegar to soup stock bones will draw out the calcium and other minerals from the bones. Drinking a glass of water mixed with a teaspoon of vinegar with calcium supplements may help the body digest the calcium better!
Vinegar also contains boron, manganese, silicon and magnesium, which are also needed to avoid osteoporosis.
How is Apple Cider Vinegar Made?
The Ohio State University Human Nutrition extension explains how apple cider vinegar is made and can be made at home:
- Apple cider is made using fall and winter apple varieties by crushing the apples into a pulp and adding a yeast starter.
- The liquid is poured into a vat and stored out of direct sunlight at 60-80 degrees and stirred daily for 3-4 weeks.
- After fermentation, the vinegar may be strained through cheesecloth to remove the mother, pasteurized and sealed in bottled. Many naturopaths recommend against this claiming that many of the beneficial enzymes are reduced or killed off in the process.
Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar
- Combine with olive oil and herbs and spices to make a healthy salad dressing
- Add to bone when making soup stock
- Combine with herbs and spices for meat marinade and tenderizer
- Wisk into mayonnaise for a tangy twist on coleslaw or potato salad
- Sprinkle over raw vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, kale, lettuce and tomatoes
- Mix 1 tsp vinegar and 1 Tbsp honey and take with a glass of water
Learn About Bragg Raw, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Are All Vinegars the Same?
Vinegar can be made from a variety of foods: apples, rice, red wine, and barely, to name just a few. While all vinegar does have antiseptic, antibiotic properties, most the health benefits cited are traditionally believed to come from apple cider vinegar.
Moreover, the apple cider vinegar you may pick up at your local grocery store does not have the same enzyme and nutrient content as the vinegar used centuries ago. Why? The mother (or cloudy, cobweb-like substance in the cider that causes fermentation) and the cider has been pasteurized killing many of the enzymes, and beneficial bacteria in the cider.
Most naturopaths recommend buying raw, organic cider with the mother. Braggs is one of the most popular brands, it is the brand I use, and it can be found online and in many health food stores.
The Best Price for Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Can be Found Online
- Thacker, Emily. (1994). The Vinegar Book. Canton: Tresco Publishers.
- Nicholas, Christine and Intern Doris Herringshaw. (2012). How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar. Earth Clinic Home Remedies. Retrieved September 11, 2013
© 2013 Sarah