Guest post by Charlotte Faure Green, Reg. Nutritionist DipCNM | mBANT, CHNC
As we move into warmer weather, it’s easy to imagine the joy of the upcoming months: finding the last slither of waning sunlight, tilting your head to allow it to rest on your face, whilst holding a glass clinking with the oh-so-familiar sound of ice cubes.
In your glass you have placed a sprig of rosemary and a slice of orange (highly recommend), a measure of Mother Root and a splash of your soda or tonic of choice (we all have our favourites). Preferably served after a long but satisfactory day as a pre-dinner aperitif, whilst someone else stokes the barbecue - one can but dream! Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? What if I told you that whilst not only tasting utterly delicious, this alcohol-free switchel is secretly good for you? Let’s break it down, nutritionist-style:
ORGANIC APPLE CIDAR VINEGAR
The acetic acid component of apple cider vinegar (lovingly known as ACV) may aid digestion and blood glucose control. Studies suggest that in a meal following ACV the carbohydrates consumed are slower to break down and enter the bloodstream, and the uptake of glucose into peripheral tissues (from the bloodstream) is stimulated. Rather than a steep blood sugar spike, followed by a steep drop, we get slowly undulating levels – improved blood sugar balancing, and avoiding the “blood sugar rollercoaster”, is a key factor in the pursuit of physical and mental wellness. So not only the ritualistic joy of a pre-dinner drink, but some secret health benefits that extend into the evening and beyond.
You may have used honey in the treatment of a cold in the winter months, but did you know its usage stems from its numerous anti-inflammatory antioxidant properties? Amongst the many antioxidants in honey is quercetin, well-known for its inhibition of histamine release – nature’s antihistamine. Hayfever can really put a dampener on outdoor living, so if you suffer from the changes of season and become sneezy with new spring life, ensuring you have plenty of quercetin containing foods in your diet is vital.
GINGER JUICE AND EXTRACT
The question should be rather: what doesn’t ginger do? Gingerol is the primary bioactive compound found in ginger and is responsible for the majority of ginger’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory medicinal properties. Let’s focus on just one of those – ginger as a natural pain-reliever. A meta-analysis of randomised control trials showed ginger to be comparative to over-the-counter pain relief in some conditions, including osteoarthritis and menstrual cramps, when compared with an analgesic control group. Ginger has been shown to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme that is responsible for producing the prostaglandins that cause pain and inflammation, potentially reducing how we experience pain.
The final ingredient is the one that gives a gentle heat, and lingering kick to your taste experience. And again, its secretly good for you! There are over 200 species of the genus capsicum, and it has been used worldwide for its numerous wellbeing properties for centuries. Capsicum is rich in vitamin C, an important vitamin for many physiological functions. The adrenal glands, an integral part of our stress response, are thought to hold the highest concentration of vitamin C in the body. We burn through and excrete vitamin C at very high rates when stressed, making replenishing those stores very important for our mental health and stress resilience. A Mother Root Ginger Switchel is self-care at its finest!
Shishehbor, F., Mansoori, A. and Shirani, F., 2017. Vinegar consumption can attenuate postprandial glucose and insulin responses; a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 127, pp.1-9.
Mlcek, J., Jurikova, T., Skrovankova, S. and Sochor, J., 2016. Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response. Molecules, 21(5), p.623.
Van Breemen, R., Tao, Y. and Li, W., 2011. Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors in ginger (Zingiber officinale). Fitoterapia, 82(1), pp.38-43.
Bartels, E., Folmer, V., Bliddal, H., Altman, R., Juhl, C., Tarp, S., Zhang, W. and Christensen, R., 2015. Efficacy and safety of ginger in osteoarthritis patients: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 23(1), pp.13-21.
Padayatty, S., Doppman, J., Chang, R., Wang, Y., Gill, J., Papanicolaou, D. and Levine, M., 2007. Human adrenal glands secrete vitamin C in response to adrenocorticotrophic hormone. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86(1), pp.145-149.
Charlotte Faure Green is a BANT Registered Nutritionist, speaker, writer and brand nutritional advisor. She provides one-to-one expert guidance both online and in person at her Brighton clinic. She helps stressed bodies and minds regain balance through real-world sustainable changes. You can find her on Instagram @charlottefauregreennutrition or through her website at charlottefauregreen.com.