An Apple a Day

 
Image: Contrast Images @alethiapatrickphotography

Image: Contrast Images @alethiapatrickphotography

 

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) should seriously be considered liquid gold. Not because it's loaded with vitamins and minerals like other superfoods, but because gives us acetic acid and probiotics that elevate our bodies ability to function and do the job it wants to do: keep us alive and healthy. It works as precursor that unlocks our metabolic pathways by regulating important hormones, aiding in healthy and effective digestion, and balancing our internal pH. 

The most important pH of the body to check for health and vitality is that of the blood. Urine tests and saliva tests won't adequately represent the pH of the river of life that runs through the body, and even samples that are drawn from the body are exposed to oxidation that ultimately alters the pH during testing.  Therefore, a good way to really test for proper pH is to learn more about your own individual body, it's symptoms and changes to diet, environment and stress.  Understanding ourselves and our bodies is the true empowerment.  

What is ACV?

Apple cider vinegar is made by simple fermentation wherein the sugar content in the fruit converts first into alcohol and then further into acetic acid.  Ever let juice sit out too long and notice the smell of alcohol?  That would be the first part of the fermentation process. By letting that sit a few weeks longer, it might have turned into a vinegar.  This natural, organic process is precisely what gives ACV, and many other fermented foods, its amazing health benefits. 

What to look for

Not all ACV is made the same, which is why trying to live a natural lifestyle and sifting through all of the products and information isn't always the easiest. Here are a few things to look for when choosing the best option for Apple Cider Vinegar: 

1. Raw

This means the product has not undergone pasteurization (a fancy word for the process of heating at high temperatures).  While pasteurization kills the bacteria that may be currently in the product, it also denatures all enzymes and vitamins rendering the product far less nutritious. The acidity of the vinegar is enough to prevent unhealthy bacteria (including E. Coli) from developing.

2. Organic

We know that organic foods limit our exposure of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, but a recent study further noted the quality and nutritional differences in organic versus conventional apple cider vinegar. The acetic acid bacteria brewed in organic apple cider vinegar was more heterogeneous than that of the non-organic ACV, making the organic product a significantly better probiotic.  

3. With the Mother

The "mother" in ACV is cellulose produced by the acetic acid bacteria. This murky brown appearance of ACV, as well as the strands of yeast that may be present, are a key indicator of good-quality. These strands are bits of live yeast, and they are actually alive which ensures the product still has the essential enzymes and probiotics intact that make ACV so beneficial. Using foods and products that are "alive" allow for an essential electrical energy exchange that cannot happen with "dead" foods and products. 

 

 
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ACV as Food:

Apple Cider Vinegar has a uniquely tart flavor that is an excellent and common base for salad dressings and marinades. It's also a great addition to a daily detox drink, or rather BE the daily detox drink. Adding this aged liquid to any diet is an absolute necessity.  

 

a simple morning drink: 

1 Tablespoon of ACV

1 Tablespoon Lemon (freshly squeeze, organic)

1 glass of water (8-12 oz)

 

Although the pH of undiluted apple cider vinegar sits around a low 2.5, the acetic acid in ACV still helps to balance the body’s pH and aid in cardiovascular stimulation, bowel motility and lymphatic drainage. Balancing the bodies pH can reduce risk of disease and can dramatically increase energy levels.

There was a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition that found vinegar supplementation during high-carb meals actually lowered glucose and insulin responses while increasing satiety. This means that ACV could play a key role in weight loss as acetic acid helps reduce sugar cravings and improve detoxification.  This is only one of several medical studies (read more studies here and here) linking apple cider vinegar or acetic acid to healthy weight loss and, furthermore, diabetes prevention. 

There was another study that showed vinegar ingestion before a mixed meal resulted in enhancement of muscle blood flow in which promotes ACV as a beneficial resource for improving metabolism and metabolic abnormalities. 

 

ACV as medicine

Some of the heaviest medical literature around apple cider vinegar come from studies (see one here) that show ACV as helpful for regulating blood sugar in diabetic patients. So much so that the American Diabetes Association released a statement that ACV can improve insulin sensitivities for patients with insulin resistance (pre-diabetic) or Type 2 diabetes. The study went on to equate the effects of vinegar to that of anti-diabetic drugs Acarbose or Metformin. 

Outside of severe diseases like diabetes, apple cider vinegar is a great remedy for several common ailments.

 

For chronic ailments...

Drink 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water daily or before meals to help: 

1. Control acid reflux or heartburn.

ACV helps to balance pH, control proper function of the esophageal sphincter, and provide proper enzymes and probiotics needed for digestion. 

2. Lower blood pressure.

In laboratory studies using mice fed a high-cholesterol diet, apple cider vinegar lowered blood lipids, including triglycerides and total cholesterol, according to a report published in the August 2014 issue of the “Journal of Membrane Biology.” In the same study, ACV also protected cells in the kidney and liver from damage caused by free radicals.

 

For acute concerns...

Drink 1-2 tablespoons in a glass of water up to 3 times daily to help: 

1. Control Candida and Boost Probiotics. 

The probiotics in ACV contain a type of acid that promotes the growth of probiotics which help to kill off the yeast causing candida. One study used apple cider vinegar as a promising therapeutic alternative for patients with denture stomatitis. 

2. Fight Seasonal Allergies.

ACV helps to break up mucous and support lymphatic drainage.  It also supports the immune system and may help to clear sinuses.

3. Control viral infections like colds and sore throats. 

Apple cider vinegar is a great (and fast!) natural remedy for colds-like illnesses due to it's detoxing abilities and probiotic-boosting acetic acid. 

 
Image: Contrast Images @alethiapatrickphotography

Image: Contrast Images @alethiapatrickphotography

 

 

ACV As Personal Care 

Apple cider vinegar has several benefits when used outside of the body, as well. The acetic acid in ACV make it an easy swap for these notoriously toxic commercial products:

1. Hair conditioner.

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar will remove residue from product build-up and help promote shiny, lustrous locks. Take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water.  After shampooing and rinsing, pour this mixture throughout the hair from the scalp to the ends. This also helps to restore the scalp's protective acid mantle layer and mitigate dandruff. 

2. Teeth whitener.

The pH of apple cider vinegar can remove stains from teeth, but may not be ideal for those with sensitive teeth. To give it a try, take a finger and rub ACV on the teeth for 1 minute. Rinse with water. 

3. Household cleaner. 

The acidic pH of ACV make it an excellent anti-bacterial to help kill harmful pathogens. Fill a spray bottle with a 1:1 ration of ACV to water and use as a replacement multi-purpose cleaner. 

4. Deodorant. 

Bad bacteria and yeast are a major cause of body odor. Because the armpit can stay damp, it makes it a breading ground for bad bacteria. Try dabbing some apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and running it along the armpit to kill yeast and neutralize odors from odor-causing bacteria. This can be used alone or before application of a natural, non-aluminum deodorant. 

Have foot odor? Apple cider vinegar's antiseptic properties help to deodorize feet. Its anti-fungal attributes prevent and combat fungal conditions like athlete’s foot. Mix one cup apple cider vinegar with four cups water in a basin. Soak feet for 15 minutes, the rinse and dry.

5. Wart or fungus remover. 

The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds in apple cider vinegar make it a great natural remedy for skin and toenail fungus. Put apple cider vinegar topically on the area and then cover with a bandage. Leave on overnight and remove in the morning. Repeat as needed. 

6. Poison Ivy and bug bites.

ACV contains potassium, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Apple cider vinegar can help detox the poison out of the skin, neutralize the itch, helping to heal the infection more quickly.

 

ACV as Skincare:

Fine like aged....apple cider vinegar? Doesn't quite have the same ring as the traditional saying, but it could easily mean the same thing! Incorporating ACV into any skincare routine can bring out the "fine" in all of us. Acetic acid has the ability to kill dangerous “bad” bacteria and, at the same time, foster the growth of beneficial “good” bacteria acting as a natural antibiotic. Because our skin is acidic in nature, the pH of apple cider vinegar makes it a perfect, balancing treatment for anything topical without side effects.

1. Sunburn.

Take 1 cup ACV, ¼ cup of coconut oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil to ease sunburnt skin and prevent blistering.

2. Age spots.

The alpha hydroxy acids in ACV can remove dead skin and reveal healthy and vibrant new skin. Dab some on a cotton ball and apply directly to age spots. Wait about ten to twenty minutes before rinsing. 

3. Skin Soother. 

Since the pH level of diluted apple cider vinegar is similar to the pH level of the protective acid mantle layer of our skin, this soak will help restore balance. Add eight ounces of apple cider vinegar to a bath, and soak for 15 minutes.

4. Skin Toner for all skin types. 

At Balm Skincare, we have seen the power of apple cider vinegar first hand. We use the living nature of ACV along with ten different herbs to make a powerful astringent to close and tighten the pores without over-drying. We let this magical mix brew for 4 weeks before we pull it off to make our toning water. This allows us to create a natural and effective toner with no side effects that can restore health back to the foundation of the skin and deliver these amazing benefits that are essential to optimal skin health and radiance: 

Balance - 

While removing oil from the skin, apple cider vinegar also helps to balance pH and prevents skin from becoming too oily or too dry by balancing the production of sebum. 

Anti-aging -

The organic acids in ACV stimulate circulation that help to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Minimizes pores -

The astringent properties of our toning water act on pores by pulling out toxins and bacteria, and gentle tightening the skin without over-drying. 

 

Check out our Toning Water with Apple Cider Vinegar and let us know if you also become a believer in the magic of ACV. 

 
Image: Contrast Images @alethiapatrickphotography

Image: Contrast Images @alethiapatrickphotography

 
 

 

 

Do you use ACV as a home remedy?  Share with the tribe. We want to hear about it and how it works for you! 

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