Welcome back to the second chapter of the anti inflammatory diet series. Last time we looked at the Allium Family, and the feedback I received was great, so hoping you will all enjoy this new post on Apple Cider Vinegar/ACV.
Admittedly I am only just beginning to use ACV as much as is beneficial, as it can sometimes be a struggle to find ways to use it in food, but am gradually increasing the amount I use, particularly in salads and dressings. It is currently a popular natural remedy but has been around for much much longer than it has been fashionable to use and can provide healing to all parts of the body.
ACV is made by fermenting apples, and this process encourages them to release prebiotics, which help to feed probiotics, the good bacteria found in our gut that we often hear about when we see adverts for yoghurts and yoghurt drinks on the television. Probiotics are essential to maintain a good level of overall wellbeing and to look after the amazing eco-system of microbes that live within our digestive system. As well as fostering growth of the good bacteria, ACV also kills the bad bacteria. This in turn helps to reduce inflammation of the gut, joints, heart, blood and many other areas of our bodies. It can do this because of it naturally alkaline pH, which stops our blood from becoming too acidic. Those who have suffered the effects after a long training session in the gym and felt sore the next day because of a build up of lactic acid will know how unpleasant high acidity in the body can make us feel.
Inflammation often begins in our guts and can have a very rapid onset. Inflammation is often affected by things such as diet, stress, and lack of sleep. Everyone will get different symptoms but typically symptoms of inflammation can include joint pain, headaches, tiredness and vulnerability to picking up opportunistic infections such as colds and gastroenteritis.
For me the importance of maintaining a healthy digestive system and therefore reducing inflammation in my body is very important. When people with chronic pain conditions have inflammation in their bodies they can get extraordinarily painful joints, to the point where they can’t do much at all. This of course can lead to a lowering of mood and activity, which both have a negative impact on health. I find it useful to look at the bigger picture when planning my diet, and using anti inflammatory foods such as ACV helps me to manage my symptoms, beyond the immediate bowel symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia. The inflammatory symptoms it can help to improve are –
- Skin Complaints
- Immunity Health
- Acid Reflux
- Hair Complaints
As well as being great for inflammation mostly because of its powerful healing compounds, such as magnesium, potassium and acetic acid, ACV is also a great source of polyphenols, which help to deliver many health benefits such as –
- Cardiovascular protection
- Anti-cancer activity
- Slowing of onset of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimers, diabetes and osteoporosis
- Weight loss
- Relieving allergies
- Prevention of Thrush
- Anti fungal activity
- Balancing gut pH
- Improvement of varicose veins
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Removal of warts
Thats quite a list considering I was holding back!
So, now that we know all about ACV and its potential to benefit out health, how can we use it and incorporate it into our diet? I mostly use ACV in homemade salad dressings, one of which I will share in a moment, but I wanted to share this delicious dish with you.
Now for the salad dressing recipe, I’ve given instructions for 1 serving (I like my salads well dressed!), but this can easily be made up to more and stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for a few days –
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon each of English mustard and wholegrain mustard (or you could just use 1 teaspoon of one mustard if you like)
- 1/2 clove of crushed garlic (keeps the blood suckers away)
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
As ever, my recipes are oh so simple, simply stick in a jar and give it a really good shake to make sure it is well mixed/emulsified and serve on your favourite salad.
Finally, the easiest way to get a good dose of ACV into your daily diet is to do a shot of the stuff each day. Before I begun this journey of an anti inflammatory diet, I wouldn’t have dreamt of doing this, but now I’m converted. It certainly blows the cobwebs away and gives you a buzz! I promise, it isn’t that unpleasant! If you can’t stand to drink it straight up, you could mix it with some water, or there are many fancy recipes for daily shots online, including ones with lemon or cayenne pepper which are also both great for inflammation!
I hope you have found this post useful and feel inspired to use ACV more in your cooking and daily routine. Next time we will be looking more closely at Avocado!
As with everything on my blog, I am writing from personal experience and research. What I find beneficial may not be the same for everybody and so please experiment carefully and monitor your symptoms while trying any new change to your health routine.