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Complementary Health: cider vinegar

by Julia Briscoe

I work as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, specialising in Complementary Therapies, my core therapy being homeopathy.  I also run a couple of support groups for people with cancer or end of life needs, one of which focuses on self-help techniques and relaxation / meditation.  Self help, in my opinion, is something that should be easy, low cost and sustainable in terms of inclusion into a lifestyle.  It should also be suitable for all, not just my cancer and end of life care patients so it’s lovely to have been asked to share a few of the suggestions I make for my patients.

Obviously many of my patients are extremely unwell but none the less, one of the first things I assess when I treat someone for the first time is their nutritional status.

Cider vinegar, also known as Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) often comes up as a suggestion for people to try as a low cost nutritional supplement.

ACV is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid.  Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to begin the fermentation process.  Ultimately, this produces what is known as ‘The Mother’ which looks like a cobweb.  It is this that gives cider vinegar its famed healing powers.  Therefore ideally, if possible, unfiltered cider vinegar is the best, although I have seen good results with cider vinegar bought in any supermarket or health food shop.

On its own, ACV tastes very strong however if it is mixed with water (hot or cold) it makes a very thirst quenching drink.  For people with a sweeter tooth, a good quality honey may be added for taste and also for the healing properties in the honey itself (antibacterial / antifungal).

There is not a lot of clinical evidence in the form of trials to support ACV however there is a huge swathe of people who, for generations swear by it from an anecdotal perspective.  ACV is high in such nutrients as phosphorus, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, chlorine, sulphur, silicon, pro-vitamin beta-carotene, pectin and malic acid

Health benefits may include:

  • Helping to stabilise blood glucose levels
  • May assist with weight loss / stabilisation
  • Help to maintain the acid / alkaline balance of the body
  • May help to manage blood pressure
  • May help with fluid balance / water retention
  • May help with inflammation in the joints / rheumatoid arthritis

Be cautious / consult a practitioner if:

  • You have osteoporosis or low potassium levels
  • Tooth enamel or digestive tract may be damaged through excessive intake

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