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Healing Foods: A Spotlight on Apple Cider Vinegar and Kombucha
You may be aware of the concept of “food is medicine”. This is the idea that certain foods may have the power to nourish and heal the body to help prevent and manage disease. In this way, consuming these healing foods may reduce the need for over-the-counter and even some prescriptions medications. A couple of examples of common healing foods include berries and leafy green vegetables. Healing foods are often high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals which may help prevent or fight disease. They are recommended to be consumed as part of a healthy diet. This post will highlight two less common, yet possibly just as powerful food items: apple cider vinegar and kombucha.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar is created by exposing crushed apples to yeast and bacteria. This process ferments the fruit and produces its strong sour taste. The benefits of consuming ACV happen both inside and outside the body.
Some of these known and possible benefits include:
- Helps improve insulin sensitivity to lower blood sugar in people with diabetes
- Supports the immune system due to its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties
- May improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels
- Could help with weight control by reducing body fat and increasing levels of fullness after eating
- May also be used to treat wounds, acne and other skin infections. However, the data on these reports is not as strong
How to include ACV in your diet:
Most people would find drinking plain ACV to be intolerable due to its sour taste. Including it in recipes such as dressings, teas and sauces is a more enjoyable way to reap the benefits of ACV.
Here are two simple recipes:
As a beverage*:
- 1-2 tablespoons raw ACV
- 4 to 8 ounces filtered water
- 1-2 tablespoons sweetener (honey, maple syrup) or a few drops of stevia
*May enjoy hot or cold
As a dressing:
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup raw ACV
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- black pepper to taste
For both recipes, simply add all ingredients together in a jar, mix well and enjoy!
Kombucha is type of fermented tea made from tea, sugar and a bacteria and yeast culture called a “SCOBY”. It is then flavored with fruit and spices to take on a wide variety of flavor profiles. Kombucha has become widely popular and is found in most retail grocery, health food and even drug stores.
Health benefits of kombucha include:
- Excellent source of probiotics, which may aid proper digestion and supports gut health. Probiotics have been shown to help treat disorders such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease
- Rich source of antioxidants when made from green tea, which is believed by many to be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet
- Contains antibacterial properties due to the presence of vinegar from the fermentation process. This is a benefit similar to that of ACV
Some brands of kombucha contain a high amount of sugar. Be sure to check the sugar content and choose those with the lowest amount. Alternatively, kombucha can be brewed at home. There are recipes and starter kits available online.
Both apple cider vinegar and kombucha are acceptable to consider as an addition to your kidney diet. Check with your physician and dietitian to learn more about how to incorporate these items into your lifestyle.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.