Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Health
There are several types of vinegar and one of the most common and popular is made from apples.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made from a process that includes adding yeast to apple cider to ferment it. The yeast ferments the sugars in the apple juice and turns them into alcohol. Bacteria are then added to the alcohol to turn it into acetic acid, which is the main active compound in vinegar and gives it a strong sour flavor and smell.
Cider vinegars are about 5-6% acetic acid, which researchers believe is responsible for the health benefits it provides.
Apple cider vinegar has various healthful properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. What’s more, evidence suggests it may offer health benefits, such as aiding weight loss, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving the symptoms of diabetes.
Many commercially produced vinegars are filtered and pasteurized for a longer shelf life, but the processing removes the naturally occurring enzymes. As a result, the health benefits of the product are also removed and the body also does not tolerate it as well. In order to receive the maximum benefits of vinegar, the best product is unpasteurized, unfiltered, and organic.
Unfiltered ACV also contains a substance called mother, which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a cloudy appearance. Some people believe that the mother is responsible for most of its health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this.
While apple cider vinegar does not contain many vitamins or minerals, it offers a small amount of potassium. Good quality brands also contain some amino acids and antioxidants.
Antimicrobial: One of the benefits derived from ACV is the ability to kill harmful bacteria and other pathogens like viruses and other microorganisms that cause disease. That is why people have traditionally used vinegar for cleaning and disinfecting, and treating lice, warts, nail fungus, and ear infections. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar to clean wounds more than 2,000 years ago.
Vinegar is also a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria like E. coli from growing in and spoiling food. For example, we wrap various cheeses in a paper towel soaked in white vinegar and it doesn’t get moldy. Also, while there is no strong research to support this, anecdotal reports suggest that diluted apple cider vinegar could help with acne when applied to the skin.
Blood Sugar Stabilizer: One of the most intriguing applications of vinegar is in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, which is caused by the inability to produce insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels. Since vinegar can help to keep blood sugar in a normal range it is also beneficial for those without diabetes because a high level of blood sugar is a major cause of several chronic diseases and aging. Another way to keep your blood sugars in a healthy range is to avoid processed carbs and sugar.
If you’re currently taking blood-sugar-lowering medications, check with your healthcare provider before increasing your intake of any type of vinegar.
Promote Weight Loss: Among the many potential health benefits of ACV is the potential to lose weight. Several human studies show that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness. This can lead you to eat fewer calories and lose weight.
In one study, taking vinegar along with a high carb meal led to increased feelings of fullness, causing participants to eat 200–275 fewer calories throughout the rest of the day.
Another study in 175 people with obesity showed that daily apple cider vinegar consumption led to reduced belly fat and weight loss, though the study was done over 3 months, so these results are fairly modest and long term weight loss is more impacted by overall diet and lifestyle.
Improved Digestion and Protein Absorption: ACV stimulates the production of stomach acid, which is necessary for digestion and aids in the absorption of animal proteins. It can also reduce the potential for heartburn, which can be caused by too little stomach acid in the digestive process, resulting in the food fermenting and creating gas that pushes back up into the esophagus. Since ACV increases stomach acid, it can stop the fermentation that causes heartburn.
Liquid or capsule? Because most people are not comfortable drinking ACV straight, even in small doses or diluted in water, we’ve got a supplement for that–check out our organic ACV!
Contrary to popular belief, allspice is not actually a blend of different spices. Allspice is actually a berry that comes from the “Pimenta dioica” tree, native to Jamaica and other areas of the West Indies as well as Southern and Central America. You can find allspice in the dried berry form, or as a ground powder.
We have Christopher Columbus to thank for bringing these little allspice berries with him to Europe and introducing them to the rest of the world after he thought he’d found the black peppercorns he’d been looking for. He named them “pimienta” which is Spanish for “the pepper spice.” Columbus made a happy mistake that day! Allspice berries are actually a little bit larger than peppercorns, and they turn a reddish-brown color when they’ve been dried.
Jamaica grows most of the world’s allspice but it’s also grown in Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. The quality, however, is the best when allspice is grown in Jamaica where the climate is perfect for the crop.
You may have had that same jar of allspice kicking around in your pantry for months, but in the Caribbean, allspice is one of the most important spices in the kitchen. Native to this part of the world, allspice is one of the predominant flavors in Caribbean cuisine. If you’ve ever enjoyed “jerk” chicken or meat, you’ve enjoyed the spicy flavor of allspice.
Allspice has been used as a digestive in traditional medicine for many hundreds of years. If you add allspice to foods that are a little hard to digest (the foods that give you gas!) you might find a difference. Allspice is a highly antibacterial food and is also effective in decreasing inflammation in the body.
I love the peppery taste of allspice and I use it all the time in stews, soups, and curries. Add some allspice to your marinades, fruit pies, and meat rubs. I bet you’ll love it!
Now it’s time for your Trick:
Whole allspice berries will keep indefinitely if you store them in an airtight container out of direct sunlight but the ground powder should only be kept for a few months, tops.
If you buy allspice in its whole form, grind the berries as you need them with a mortar and pestle or a pepper mill. They tend to lose their aroma and flavor shortly after they’ve been harvested.
And your Recipe:
Pumpkin, Parsnip, and Squash Beef Stew
Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
Remove bay leaves and stir well, serving when beef falls apart and vegetables are tender.
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I love purple potatoes. So does my daughter. I remember the first time I made them for her when she was still little–she was delighted! Young children have some of the best reactions to some of the more odd vegetables, though I know a lot of adults that react the same way.
If you’ve never seen purple potatoes, then all I have to say is that they are what they seem: purple through and through – the skin, and even the flesh of the potato is a striking bright violet color. They make for a very boldly colored side dish.
Sure, this potato is full of vitamin C, potassium, iron, and folic acid, but the best thing about this bright-colored veggie is that the color itself is one of the key health benefactors! That purple flare is due to the antioxidant anthocyanin. Anthocyanin can help boost your immune system along with the fight against cancer and help protect your heart. Like I always say, eat a colorful variety of produce!
Here’s Your Tip
If you want an extra kick of nutrition, keep the skin on the potatoes; though be sure to wash them thoroughly.
Here’s Your Trick
Simply sub purple potatoes for the standard russet potato you would normally use for mashed potatoes. The color doesn’t affect the consistency and texture, and the antioxidant level is higher in purple potatoes than it is in russets.
And Here’s Your Recipe
Fall Roasted Purple Potatoes
Wash potatoes thoroughly and cut them into either cubes or wedges (leaving the skins on).
Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and make sure they’re evenly covered.
Then add the spices, and bake for roughly 15-20 minutes or until tender.
And if you can't get purple potatoes, any old plain tater will do!
Per Serving: 101 Calories; 2g Fat; 2g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 36mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Fat. Points: 3
In the mood for some more wonderful fall comfort food recipes? Check out our collection of delicious Casseroles, Soups, & Stews ebooks here!