Apples and Sage Organic Wholefoods | health benefits

5 health benefits of apple cider vinegar

Photo credit: Phongnguyen1410

There are a lot of wild claims about apple cider vinegar on the internet. It’s been touted as the liquid gold that can do everything from increasing your energy to making your skin glow. Here, we take a look at 5 of the more credible health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

1. Regulate blood sugar and aid in diabetes

Studies done in humans have shown that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels – after sleep and in response to a meal.

These findings show that apple cider vinegar can help people with Type 2 Diabetes, a disease that’s characterised by insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.

Despite this benefit, however, it doesn’t mean you can neglect your diet.

2. Weight loss

Since vinegar can lower blood sugar and insulin levels, it’s plausible that it could also help you to lose weight.

A study in 175 obese Japanese individuals showed that daily vinegar consumption reduced belly fat, waist circumference, blood triglycerides and weight. However, as with diabetes, you still need to exercise and eat healthily if you want to lose weight and maintain it.

3. Lower cholesterol and blood pressure

Studies done in rats have shown that apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol, triglyceride levels and blood pressure.

As results in animals are not always translated to Homo sapiens, we need research in humans to confirm these cardiovascular benefits.

4. Shiny, healthy hair

Even though there isn’t any formal research in this area, many advocates swear that apple cider vinegar makes their hair glossy and scalp dandruff-free.

Beauty bloggers of all things natural purport mixing one part vinegar with one part water, then applying it to your hair and leaving it in for 5–15 minutes before rinsing.

5. Digestion

It’s been long known that drinking apple cider vinegar, diluted in water, can help to improve your digestion. Taking diluted apple cider vinegar before a meal is believed to stimulate digestive juices and breakdown food.

These digestive benefits only apply if you use unpasteurised (raw) and unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’. Commercial brands are pasteurised and devoid of the enzymes and healthy bacteria that help with digestion.

Which apple cider vinegar to use

We believe it’s important to use real apple cider vinegar – the raw, unpasteurized kind, with the ‘mother’. With its brown, murky strands, which rest at the bottom of the bottle, the mother is full of good bacteria and, therefore, is beneficial for your gut. While Bragg is the most widely available and, perhaps, the cheapest, we love and highly recommend the local, biodynamic brand Mock Red Hill. Both are available in store.

How much?

Apple cider vinegar seems to be safe. Even though some people also drink it diluted in water, the most delicious way to consume it is in salad dressings. Common amounts range from 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 mL) to 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 mL) per day.

Do you take apple cider vinegar? How has it helped you?

 

Watermelon granita

Big and juicy, watermelons make for a messy treat. Yet, it’s a treat worth its size – despite watermelon juices running down your chin. 

Why? Because watermelon packs a mighty nutritious punch. Think nutrients such as lycopene (a powerful antioxidant), and vitamins A (for your eyes), B6 (for your nerve and immune health) and C (to boost your immune system). 

And being made up of a whopping 92% of water, watermelons are super cooling and cleansing too. Just what you need for the long summer days. 

Here’s a delicious watermelon granita recipe that is sure to keep the kids (and adults) happy and cool this summer.

Watermelon granita recipe

 

Adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion.

  • flesh from 1 x 500 g piece watermelon
  • juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • torn mint leaves for serving (optional)

 

Roughly chop watermelon flesh and puree in a blender or food processor – you need 1½ cups of puree.

In a bowl, mix the puree with the lime juice and maple syrup. Then pour into a shallow tray and freeze.

To serve, scrape the granita with a metal spoon or fork, and piled loosely into chilled glasses with mint leaves scattered on top. (Or you can pulse the granita quickly in a food processor, before spooning into an airtight container and freezing until needed. The trick is not to delay serving for too long as the granita will become a slushy mess – or too icy when you go to refreeze).

Tip: Don’t know what to do with the leftover watermelon rind? Well, don’t toss ‘em out. There are plenty of things you can do, from pickling them to making chutneys and salads. Once you're done making the granita, why not try this watermelon rind, carrot and pineapple slaw recipe from the Watermelon Board, and reduce your food waste at the same time?

[Photo source: Flickr]

5 reasons to eat glorious stone fruit

There are only 18 sleeps to summer, and you know what that means, right?

Yep, summer’s treasure trove of fruits is upon us.

Summer’s fruits are the season’s way of telling us that we need a quick source of energy and hydration to get through its long, hot days. And stone fruits get our pick!

The mighty stone fruit family includes peaches, cherries, nectarines, apricots and plums. And we think they’re all delicious, but that’s not the only reason to eat them.

Here are 5 body-loving reasons to get some stone fruits into you this summer:

1. Keeps you regular

With the soft skin and flesh, stone fruits are full of fibre. Fibre helps you to cleanse your insides by encouraging healthy bowel movement. It also keeps you feeling full for longer, and, for this reason, has shown to benefit diabetes (see below) and control weight.

2. Protects your eyesight

The vibrant yellow-fleshed nectarines and peaches, and especially apricots are rich in beta-carotene — an important antioxidant and the precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A can help to protect your eyesight. It’s also required for healthy skin and mucus membranes, and for night vision.

3. Reduces inflammation & boosts the immune system

Stone fruits are full of phytonutrients that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants have been shown to prevent oxygen damage to fats, which helps to reduce chronic inflammation and protect against many modern lifestyle diseases. Also high in the antioxidant Vitamin C, stone fruits also give a boost to your immune system.

4. Promotes nerve and muscle health

Bananas are not the only fruit with high levels of potassium. Stone fruit contain high amounts of this mineral too, which is essential nerve and muscle health. Potassium deficiency can lead to fatigue, irritability and increased blood pressure.

5. Fights-off obesity-related diabetes

Research has shown that peaches, plums and nectarines have bioactive compounds that can potentially fight-off obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease. To us, this makes sense, since these fragrant and juicy fruits are full of fibre and antioxidants.

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Now that you know how healthy stone fruits are, why don’t you enjoy them while they’re in season?

You can grill them, bake them, poach them — or eat them messily over the sink with the juice running down your chin and arm. They’re also great in cakes, flans and muffins too.

Just remember to go organic, as stone fruit are known for retaining pesticide residue.

So come in store and get your favourite stone fruit for a delicious, peachy summer! 

[photo credit: http://bit.ly/1wcPvXc]