Why is Apple Cider Vinegar Better than White Vinegar?

Many mornings, particular in winter I begin my day with a cup of tea. Not black tea or herbal tea, but apple cider vinegar tea, sweetened with raw honey. ACV is one of the oldest antibacterial agents known to man. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, has been credited with its first use back in 400BC when he used it with his patients for a range of ailments.

ACV is different from the beautifully ‘clean’ and translucent range of vinegars that you will see on supermarket shelves. These clear vinegars have been heated, treated and processed which robs them of the natural health benefits. Raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar is unprocessed, which allows the retention of the health benefits such as enzyme function and antibacterial properties. A good ACV can easily be recognised by its opacity, which is created by the “mother”, a cobwebby like substance that preserves the strength and effectiveness of the vinegar.

So what can you use apple cider vinegar for?

Everything apparently. According to Paul and Patricia Bragg’s book Apple Cider Vinegar – Miracle Health System, it can be used for just about anything. In their book, they list a broad range of health benefits from this amazing liquid.

Putting the information in their book together with my prior knowledge, it seems that many of these conditions are alleviated by correcting the pH of the body, which is a huge factor in many health conditions. ACV works by correcting the pH in the stomach and on the skin if used topically, which balances the whole body. (An acidic body over time “corrodes” body tissues and may lead to disease in all systems.)

Natural treatment for indigestion and heartburn

This is the most common reason I suggest ACV. In the Bragg ACV book they explain that swishing ACV in the mouth before meals will stimulate digestive enzymes. Also, many cases of indigestion, heartburn, reflux, gas and bloating are caused by low rather than too high stomach acid. The ACV helps to relieve painful indigestion by helping with the digestive process.

Pharmaceutical reflux medications can have unwanted side-effects such as weight gain, constipation and/or malabsorption syndromes, due to the stomach acid being completely neutralised. Beginning a routine of ACV tea before meals and slowly reducing reflux medication can have immense health benefits. Eliminating potential and suspected food intolerances can make significant improvements in reflux, heartburn and indigestion too.

It may help in weight loss and lowering cholesterol

ACV contains acetic acid, which was found in a Japanese study to aid in decreases in weight, BMI, visceral fat (fat around the abdominal organs), serum triglycerides and waist circumference.

It can make your skin look healthier and more youthful

The pH level of your skin aids in the detoxification process. ACV vinegar helps to normalise this pH level, assisting in detox (see facial treatment below)

Lowering blood sugar levels in Type II Diabetes

In a study published in Diabetes Care people were divided into 3 groups: diabetes, pre-diabetes and normal blood sugar levels. The vinegar was found to increase insulin sensitivity:

  • All three groups had improve blood glucose readings
  • Participants with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by 25%
  • Participants with pre-diabetic symptoms cut their blood sugar readings by half

Burning and itching of sores, hives, allergic reactions, insect bites

Using apple cider vinegar on any sort of allergy or bite will also relieve the itching, burning and pain usually associated.

Natural relief for fungal and yeast infections, bladder and kidney infection

Athletes foot, jock itch, nappy rash, thrush and the burning and itching caused by urinary tract infections can all be relieved by a dilution of ACV and water. Adding a cup of ACV to a low, warm bath can also help.

Alternative hair rinse

The pH level of ACV is apparently close to that of your hair. It is a popular rinse with many of those who prefer the more natural hair care treatments.

ACV is rich in potassium which is essential for every cell in your body to function. Potassium deficiency can be attributed to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Dizziness
  • Senility
  • Morning headaches
  • Tired eyes that won’t focus
  • Poor circulation
  • High blood pressure

Other possible health issues remedied by ACV:

  • Mucus
  • Cancer
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Nose bleeds
  • Burns
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle cramps,
  • Detoxification
  • Headaches
  • Gallstones (Bragg’s have a 2 day gall bladder flush to help reduce stones)

Apple Cider Vinegar Tea

  1. Pour 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup and add ½-1 teaspoon of honey
  2. Half fill with room temperature or warm water*
  3. Top up with boiling water and sip slowly

*It is important not to put boiling water on honey. The heat can destroy the enzymes responsible for its healing properties. Honey should also never be ‘melted’ in the microwave or boiled. If your honey has crystallised, place the jar in a saucepan of water and heat very slowly.

Apple Cider Vinegar Facial

1. Rinse face with warm water

2. Apply a wrung-out, hot water soaked cloth to the face for 3 minute 3. Soak a thin cloth in an ACV mix (1 tbsp ACV to 1 cup water) and apply this to the face. Cover with another wrung out hot soaked cloth 4. Lay down for 10 minutes with feet elevated (couch, up the wall, bed etc.) this will increase circulation and promote lymphatic drainage 5. After 10 minutes, remove cloths and use a course towel or small face loofah and rub upwards on face. This will remove all the dead skin cells that have been soaking.

According to Paul and Patricia Bragg: “Your skin will look more youthful and will shine like a polished apple with a joyous new life.”

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Staying Healthy During the Crazy Christmas Season

Christmas is definitely the time that people go a little crazy. Lots of Christmas parties, so much to do so little time, school is ending, work is ending, planning holidays, worrying about where “Christmas” will be held this year, stress of family, it goes on and on. In stressful periods it’s often people’s diets that suffer first, despite a good diet being crucial for the body coping. Christmas is a particularly tough time for this too with all the get togethers with various yummy foods, more alcohol than normal and the need to let your hair down. So here are my top tips to stay at your best during the Christmas season.

  1. Drink water between drinks
    In normal circumstances you need one litre per 30 kilograms of body weight, or around 30mL per one kilo of body weight (depending who you ask). When you are drinking coffee you add two cups of water per one cup of coffee and when you are drinking alcohol it’s about the same. So adding a few glasses in between your drinks will make a real difference, not only the next morning but to your health overall. If drinking between drinks isn’t your thing, you can at least make sure you have had your water quota spaced out through the day before you pop that bottle.
  2. Eat more salad
    The more cooked a food is, the less nutrients or ‘life’ it has left in it. The more processed (packaged) a food is the less ‘life’ it has too. Health isn’t a matter of how many calories or how much food you’ve eaten. It’s the quality of what you’re eating. Salad is a good option for Christmas dinners due to our warmer Christmas weather. It’s healthier than oily roast vegetables and won’t leave you feeling fat, bloated and lethargic after your meal.
  3. Slow down
    Stop rushing through this Christmas time. Focus on what is important. And when it comes to that Christmas dinner, slow down too. Eating slowly means you will eat less. It also means you will enjoy your meal that little bit more. It gives your stomach time to produce acid and enzymes for digesting which will help avoid that bloated and full feeling
  4. Keep your body moving
    Now that we have avoided that full and bloated feeling you won’t be feeling like that afternoon nap you usually need after Christmas lunch. Jump up! Have a game of cricket, play with the kids or use their toys. Keep active and keep moving because it is proven that exercise gives you more energy.
  5. Express gratitude
    Taking time to be thankful does wonders for people’s mood. Be grateful for your family around you even if they’re a little crazy, at least they’re around. Be thankful for the food that is on your table and this may slow you down for even just a few seconds from gobbling it all up. It means that you can savour the experience and not rush through, because next thing you know it’s January…or February…and the fun is all over.
  6. Eat more protein
    Protein and fat (good fats) are the ideal fuel for our body. Too many carbohydrates cause our body’s to accumulate excess body fat and contribute to many health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic pain. In the short term, carbohydrates give us an energy rush, not sustained energy which causes the body to crave more food, so we eat more often. This is your permission to gobble up that Christmas turkey, devour the roast lamb, hog the pork, tuck in to the beef, whatever you need to do to get more protein which will stop you from filling up on breads and other carbohydrate foods. Warning: This may cause a smaller dessert serving requirement.
  7. Fruit is a perfect dessert
    Although fruit does contain sugar it contains more nutrients and fibre along with the sweetness to finish off your meal. Swapping the trifle, pavlova or Christmas pudding for baked apples, berry sorbet or a variety of fresh fruit is a better option.
  8. Swap it
    1. Nuts instead of chips
      Putting a bowl of nuts on the table instead of potato chips provides a healthier option and with all the protein and good fats in nuts it might also limit Christmas lunch overload
    2. Butter instead of margarine
      Requires more time and space than I have here. Just know that butter is a real food, margarine is a chemical. Butter (if coming from grass fed, healthy sources) is good for you, margarine is not. Your body recognises the fat in butter and can put it to good use. Margarine is unrecognisable to the body and does lots of damage.
    3. Positive instead of negative
      See Christmas as a time for celebration whatever your beliefs. It is a time to spend with family. Time spent being grateful for what you have and for what has happened in the past year, then looking forward to the coming year. Try and see the positive in all that happens.
  9. Start on your new year’s resolutions
    If you ignore all my suggestions and still end up feeling fat, bloated and sorry after your Christmas dinner, this is the perfect time to start making resolutions if your health or weight is something you want to work on. And even if it’s not, now is the perfect time to start thinking, “What change do I want to make for 2014?” “What do I want more of?” or “What do I want less of?” Thinking about these things now gives you that little bit of extra time to think, plan and put into place your intentions for next year.
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