I strongly support getting our essential vitamins and minerals from whole and natural foods, so having found out what these two can do for us, I have made them staple parts of my diet. The health benefits (see below) have been noticeable and you may be wondering whether you should incorporate them into your diet too…
Cider Vinegar – Stomach the flavour and you could be onto a winner!
It is a vinegar typically produced from the fermentation and oxidation of apples. If you do use it already it is probably as a salad dressing or for cooking. I’l agree that the blend of acids in the vinegar make its flavour quite unpleasant to drink straight but it is a healthy habit to pick up if you can!
This cider packs a health punch without the alcohol and calories
It has historically been a home remedy for a number of ailments including: acne, high cholesterol, allergies (including food and pet allergies), sinus infections, flu, chronic fatigue, acid reflux, sore throats and arthritis. Scientific studies have shown that acetic acid is one of the key abundant components of cider vinegar that is responsible for these benefits.
The health market has jumped onto the apparent fat loss benefits of cider vinegar, promoting cider vinegar tablets. There is only limited scientific research to support this and one example includes a study which showed that obese subjects consuming acetic acid for 12 weeks had significant weight loss and reduced abdominal fat. That said, I prefer to incorporate cider vinegar into my diet for its all-round health benefits than relying upon it for fat loss. Plus it’s cheaper in the bottle than in pill form!
The awareness of cider vinegar’s health benefits is growing rapidly so I’ll just suggest some easy (but not necessarily tasty) ways to incorporate it into your diet. The acidity level of cider vinegar may not be to everyone’s taste and those whose stomachs are upset by acidic may have to forego it altogether unfortunately (however some have suggested it has an alkalanizing effect on the body altough this hasn’t been proven!):
-1/4 cup cider vinegar with ice cold water for a cleansing drink.
-Switch it for balsamic vinegar on your salads.
-A small shot of cider vinegar – down in one!
-Combine a shot of cider vinegar with a fresh smoothie, the stronger the other flavours the more the vinegar will be disguised.
Don’t forget to keep your cider vinegar in a cool dark place for proper storage.
Blackstrap Molasses (BSM) – sweet and good for you!
Blackstrap molasses are a byproduct of the refining process of the sugar beet or cane into common table sugar. A thick black sweet syrup liquid is the result and unlike the more refined products from natural sugar cane (white sugar, high fructose corn syrup and glucose syrup) it retains the natural goodness from the cane.
It’s sweet and it’s healthy – what more could you want!?
In a nutshell blackstrap molasses can provide minerals and vitamins that naturally occur in the sugar cane including: Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, B Vitamins, Vitamin E, Chromium, and other trace minerals.
For example 2 teaspoons of black molasses can offer 13% of of our daily allowance of iron and 11.8% of our daily Calcium allowance. Typical health benefits that are acknowledged include helping anemia, eczema, constipation, psoriasis, fatigue, hair and nails. In addition numerous women have reported beneficial side effects for their menstrual cycle from regularity to pain relief! The alkaline property of molasses may be the solution to many of our health problems which occur when our bodies tip too far to an acidic state.
1-2 tablspoons per day will be sufficient to get any health benefit from black molasses. I have a become a big fan of putting black molasses into my porridge for some quickly assimilated carbohydrate and replenishing my iron stores before and/or after a tough training session. It can basically be used to sweeten aything that takes your fancy from your coffee to your stiry fry vegetables. I would only note that it does tend to add a slight treacle taste to your food and drink – but in my opinion that is a positive thing!
BSM can be found in a jar in most health stores or supermarkets and is not expensive. When buying your BSM, look for the unsulphured product (ie free from preservatives and sulphites). Opened containers can usually keep for upto 3-4 months, so buying a cheaper, bigger jar is not really a problem.