Photo by: Annelien Pienaar Food Consultant (www.annelienpienaar.co.za)

Why is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) such a highly praised food product? Due to its high content of acetic acid, pro- and pre-biotics. During the fermentation process of at least 6-8 weeks, apples, water and raw sugar ferment to a very acidic medium packed with wonderful microbes to be digested and treat a vast range of ailments and support your immune system. In this article my aim is to inform and discuss reasons why my kitchen cupboard is never without homemade ACV and other fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, sourdough, kefir and many more. The scoby derived from making your ACV will cut at least 3 weeks out of the fermentation and can be used over and over again and be shared as a starter for a friend. This information is applicable to organically produced ACV. Mass produced ACV is NOT as healthy as organic or homemade ACV, just to be clear on this, the mother must still be intact. Recipe for Apple cider vinegar

ACV helps the gut health to be restored for microbes to do their work sufficiently. Due to diets poor of fermented foods that contain good quality pro- and pre biotics the digestive system will get into a state of not working properly, nutrients is not absorbed well. Let us look into probiotics and serotonin. This is the feel good hormone and this hormone is formed in the gut with the presence of probiotics. If there is a lack of probiotics, the brain will not get enough serotonin to function well, prolonged deficiency leads to early onset dementia and later too believed now by scientists, Alzheimers. Article about Gut health and how it is connected to the brain We, really need to give attention to digesting and preparing our own fermented foods like dairy products: yogurt, that is free of preservatives and colorants that causes other problems looking like lactose intolerance but is actually in most cases due to an allergic reaction to the preservatives and colorants. The same rule applies to bread. Making your own sourdough bread will provide your gut health more intestinal flora with one slice of bread than one tablet.

Looking into preservatives and why I am opposed to chemical preservatives. The aim of preservatives is to prevent food from being attacked by microbes to improve shelf life ok? The same microbes are in your gut. I often hear people at my cooking classes complaining about the fact that they get sick and bloated from eating bread. They are gluten intolerant or allergic. Then we start the process of removing substances that may cause allergic reactions. We do straight flour like organic, stone ground with a starter and no reaction! Why? The preservatives are not present and will not kill off any of the microbes in your intestines. Did you know that commercial flours is bleached with peroxide and bromates…the stuff we use to colour our hair? The bloating is due to sugars that is not absorbed in the beginning of the digestive tract and then go to the intestines (gut) and ferment like beer…and then you have the utmost discomfort like being bloated and runny tummy or constipation. Sounds familiar? Well, let ACV and fermented foods treat your gut flora in a natural way and maintain it.

All about the goodness of ACV

  1. The Body’s Acid and Alkaline Balance

The average person’s acid-alkaline balance should be round about pH7.4 to maintain good health. A reading above pH7.4 is considered as alkaline and under pH7.4 as acidic. One needs to strive to be more alkaline to promote gut health in order to prevent diseases like cancer, gastric problems, indigestion, candida, fungal infections and other illnesses.

Anti-aging effect. Due to the high acidity problems in our body’s the acid will attack calcium and prevent absorption and demineralize bones and teeth. Striving with consuming ACV diluted, will balance out the acidity and return the body to a state of equilibrium and reach alkalinity. Achieving this will result in an anti-aging effect, having more energy due to better blood flow and enzymes in the gut will be supported to do their job efficiently. This also relate to brain functions and memory!

  1. Detox and Weight management, Improving Nutrient Absorption, Healthy Cholesterol and Insulin levels, Prebiotic and Candida, Antioxidant and Cancer

ACV acts as an appetite suppressant and controls blood sugar levels to combat cravings, prevents fat accumulation by stimulating the metabolism, could help insulin secretion and storage, detoxifies with soluble fiber, malic acid, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. ACV has the ability to rid toxins stored in fat layers around the belly and organs. Accumulation of these toxins in fat layers will cause serious health issues.

First you need to understand what Free Radicals are. These molecules are byproducts of our body’s own metabolism within each cell. After this process they lose an electron and cause it to be chemically unstable. They need an electron back and take from nearby molecules an electron and causing a chain reaction that potentially damage or harm the cell. When these free radicals become too much they can affect the DNA and all cell membranes. This will cause cells to mutate (change into something else) and could result in tumor growth that may lead to cancer. Not all tumors are cancer…but you need to know how tumors are formed. These Free Radicals forms within our bodies with the lack of good nutrition, stress, outside factors like smoke, air pollution, what we put onto our skins like make up etc.

ACV acts as an antioxidant by three factors: the properties of enzymes it adds to the diet, critical Vitamins and phyto chemicals. This is also applicable to all fermented food in your diet.

  1. First Aid and Antibacterial

Did you know that your immune system starts in your digestive tract? About 20% of your body’s immune system exists outside of your digestive tract. Your digestive system is part of the body’s neurological system, and that is why it is often referred to as the second brain. The gut is vital to every system in your body and energy is derived from the gut. When having a diet rich in processed foods, sugar and carbohydrate loads, we are giving our bodies more toxins than it can handle. The good news is that you can reverse this process by feeding your body with good microbes.

But you also need to take note about antibiotics. Because some microbes like good bacteria as lacto bacillus do get killed by the use of antibiotics. BUT don’t think taking probiotics while on antibiotics will restore the balance. After the treatment we need to take into consideration that we make use of food we purchase in store. Taking a look at meat for instance: most meat is treated with hormones (this is also another topic for another day) but also antibiotics for chickens growing in huge hangers. So antibiotics are added to the drinking water for the animals. This is where we need to understand that a chicken of 1.1 kg is raised and slaughtered on day 36-40 and the time for this antibiotic to leave the system is relatively long. Sometimes the timing is of and we digest food that has been treated with antibiotics. So, do you see how important it is to take care to supplement by means of your diet the imbalances with fermented foods containing all the goodness that Mother Nature intended for us to make use of before the chemical revolution took place!

Another problem is the usage of sugar in the diet. Sugar has no nutritional value and only impart flavor and loads of energy that gets stored as fat if not used. These sugars are the breeding ground in the digestive tract for all bad pathogenic like candida to thrive. Candida is hard to get rid of and sugar makes the situation spread like a fire! Sugar is not the only bad boy in this story, processed foods as discussed in the introduction is the main culprit! You need to understand if eating a diet rich in processed food and carbohydrates, you are starving the good bacteria in your gut. Fiber in the diet ensures that the probiotic bacteria’s get fed and be maintained. By excluding fiber, we are cutting off another food source for probiotics. Test the water you drink from a tap. Chlorine and fluoridated waters is also harmful to your digestive system.

I want to finish this article by making a statement that, by using fermented foods we will help our body to improve on nutrient absorption and healing our bodies the way nature intended. Prepare food that is unprocessed and as fresh as possible.

Hope this article made you think…

Best wishes

Annelien Pienaar

Fermented food and preserving classes

May 2019