We've all heard the wise old saying: 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away.' It's one of those idioms that we've all been familiar with since our early childhood, and fortunately one which contains more than a grain of truth. The humble apple is one of Mother Nature's miracle foods. Small in size, apples are jam-packed with life-enhancing nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Similarly potent is apple cider vinegar, which is created by the fermentation of apple juice over an extended period of time. Tangy and tart, apple cider vinegar tastes great in salad dressings and when a few tablespoons are mixed with a large cup of water it creates a refreshing and health-enhancing drink.
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Apple cider vinegar has been used throughout the world for thousands of years, not just as a cooking ingredient but also as a remedy for a wide variety of ailments and health conditions. From the ancient Egyptians to the Samurai warriors of Japan, the power of this simple natural concoction was well-known throughout the ancient world, and therefore it's hardly surprising that today its many benefits are still being lauded.
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Health While apple cider vinegar makes a tasty and nutritious salad dressing, a bottle in the fridge or pantry can also be a valuable all-round health tonic for the whole family. Amongst its many benefits, it's reputed to detoxify the body, act as an antiseptic, help maintain a healthy alkaline pH balance, aid weight loss, sooth heartburn, remedy hair loss, and act as a digestive tonic. Some enthusiasts claim that it can even help sufferers of psoriasis and other skin conditions.
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Beauty Apart from its culinary appeal and health benefits, apple cider vinegar is also a great natural beauty aid. A quarter of a cup mixed with one cup of water makes an invigorating hair rinse after you shampoo your hair. This can be used instead of a commercial conditioner, as it helps untangle knots in the hair, and gives a beautiful healthy shine and loads of bounce. Diluted 1:6 with water, it's also reputed to sooth sunburnt skin, clean stains from the teeth and is very effective as a skin-toner and acne treatment. Remember, if you've never used it before, always generously dilute it first and apply it cautiously to a small patch of skin, just in case you have an adverse reaction.
Home and garden Apple cider vinegar can also be used around your house and garden as a positive, more healthy alternative to toxic chemical cleansers and home care products. Many people swear by its effectiveness as a cleaning aid, laundry rinse, room freshener, home detoxifier, mould remover and flea repellent for pets. Remember, if you're using it on animals always water it down, and avoid getting it in their eyes. In the garden, apple cider vinegar can be diluted to improve soil acidity and to add nutrients to the soil. Undiluted, it can be used as a weed-killer.
In a nutshell, as one of Mother Nature's miracle tonics, apple cider vinegar is a product that we'd all benefit from using daily. While many people find its smell a bit strong, when diluted this is easily overlooked, and over time it quickly evaporates. Easily available from health food shops, organic retailers and most supermarkets, to optimise its health benefits try to purchase apple cider vinegar that's certified organic.
Inexpensive and immensely effective, if you're not already using apple cider vinegar, why not give it a try? Like me, you may find it becomes an integral part of your daily health and beauty routine.