Use Often for Health
Most soil is depleted of many important minerals, which means that our foodeven organic fooddoesn’t always have optimum nutritional value. One of the best ways to overcome this deficiency is to take supplements on a regular basis. There are hundreds of supplements to choose from, which can make it pretty confusing to choose which are best for you. In this chapter I cover some of the more common supplements you may want to take on a daily basis. Whenever possible, use “whole food” supplements; these contain most or all of the original components of the source from which the supplement was derived. Often, they are very “nutrient-dense,” the way nature intended.
Most natural food stores sport a “green foods” section, which makes it easy to find this type of supplement. You’ll find products such as alfalfa, barley grass, chlorella, spirulina and wild blue-green algae, as well as custom blends that contain many or all of these plants and algae. Besides offering a variety of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and essential fatty acids, they all contain chlorophylla unique and important blood builder. I’ll discuss the properties of chlorophyll first, then the benefits of drinking live wheat grass juice, and then get into some of the specific superfoods you can find in that “green” section of the supplement aisle.
Chlorophyll is the molecule that absorbs sunlight and uses its energy to synthesize carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. Known as photosynthesis, this is the basis for sustaining the life processes of all plants. Since animals and humans obtain their food supply by eating plants, photosynthesis can be said to be the source of our life also.
Interestingly, the molecular structure of chlorophyll is remarkably similar to that of hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells. The main difference is that the central atom in chlorophyll is magnesium, whereas in hemoglobin it’s iron. Hemoglobin has a strong iron bond, and chlorophyll has a weak magnesium bond. In the human body chlorophyll releases the magnesium bond and a cellular vortex starts sucking in heavy metals and cleansing the blood. Thus, chlorophyll is considered a major blood purifier, and is very beneficial for overall health.
According to Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods, chlorophyll provides numerous health benefits. It stops bacterial growth in wounds, eliminates bad breath and body odor, removes drug deposits, and counteracts all toxins, including radiation. It also builds blood, renews tissue, promotes healthful intestinal flora, activates enzymes that produce vitamins A, D, and K, reverses anemic conditions, reduces high blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, relieves nervousness and serves as a mild diuretic.[i] All of the following green products contain high amounts of chlorophyll (some more than others) to give you the benefit of its highly rejuvenating effects.
Live Naturally: Improve Your Health Today
Wheat Grass Juice
“Fifteen pounds of wheat grass is equal in overall nutritional value to 350 pounds of ordinary garden vegetables. We have not even scratched the surface of what grass can mean to man in the future.”[ii]
Dr. Charles Schnabel, Father of Wheat Grass Therapy
In 1930, American Dr. Charles Franklin Schnabelwhose background was in agricultural chemistry and soil fertilitydiscovered that feeding fresh oat grass to 108 hens helped them overcome disease. Soon afterward they doubled their egg production. Dr. Schnabel’s interest was so piqued by this discovery that he began a quest to find out if fresh grass from grains could improve the health of other animals, or of humans. For years he fed the fresh grass to both animals and humans, and had the grass analyzed at laboratories. He discovered that grass from grains, especially barley and wheat, was packed with all the necessary nutrients required to survive, overcome disease and help attain vibrant health. By 1940, Dr. Schnabel’s research proved to be so valuable to the health of Americans that cans of his grass were for sale in major drug stores throughout the United States and Canada.
Unfortunately, World War II changed that. After the end of the war, large corporations influenced American eating habits and medical choices towards chemicals and drugs, and the companies Dr. Schnabel was associated with discontinued distribution of his grass products. By 1950, Americans had been shifted from a natural to a synthetic approach to health care, and it wouldn’t be until the 1970s that natural grasses would make a comeback, largely due to a few committed individuals. Today you can find fresh wheat grass juice in most natural foods stores and juice bars because of those pioneers, and for good reason.
Grass from grains such as barley, wheat, oat, kamut and ryewhen harvested just before they produce a grainare a powerhouse of nutrition. Think of how massive cows, antelope, deer, bison, elephants and many other animals becomejust from eating grass! That’s because grass has all the major and trace minerals we require, are packed full of vitamins (including all the Bseven B-12), have all the essential amino acids, contain essential fatty acids and contain over 80 enzymes. They also provide protein in the form of poly-peptides, which are assimilated faster than meat-based protein, and are very abundant in chlorophyll.
For health maintenance, 1 to 2 ounces of wheat grass juice (often taken in “shots”) is plenty; four or more ounces a day is recommended during cleansing and/or for overcoming health challenges. The sweetness of the juice is part of its powerthe sugar in the grass helps deliver the chlorophyll into the bloodstream quickly. The sugars crystallize in the intestinal tract, which draws toxins out of the tissues. One ounce of wheat grass juice can contain up to 18,000 units of beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A, an immune builder), has abundant vitamin E (which fights cancer growth) and a large amount of vitamin K (for proper blood clotting). The juice is loaded with enzymes that help detoxify harmful substances and that participate in thousands of the constant chemical changes taking place in the body.
Although it is a nutritional powerhouse, the most unique aspect of fresh wheat grass juice is probably its “aliveness.” This “liquid sunshine” abounds with an electromagnetic life force (sometimes referred to as “prana,” “chi” or “qi” energy, see Chapter 9). When the concentrated energy of wheat grass enters the body, it has a profound healing effect on everything it contacts. Freshly picked vegetables, especially leafy greens, have this energy as well, but it’s so concentrated in fresh wheat grass juice that you can feel it as soon as you drink it.
In his book, Wheat GrassNature’s Finest Food, Steve Meyerowitz documents dozens of people’s stories about the healing effects of using fresh wheat grass juice as an adjunct to their healing process. Real-life stories of people overcoming breast, bladder, prostate, colon, throat, lymph and liver cancers, as well as candidiasis, irritable bowel and leaky gut syndromes, lyme disease, lupus and more are documented in his book.
Generally, wheat grass juice is taken on an empty stomach at least half an hour before a meal. You can find it at your local juice bar or natural food store, or buy a wheat grass juicer (different from a vegetable juicer) for around $200 and juice wheat grass at home. Purveyors of wheat grass juice can usually sell you trays of the grass for home juicing as well. Everything in my book is important, but drinking wheat grass juice on a regular basis, in my opinion, is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
Taken as a liquid extract, alfalfa has a rich mineral profile and contains abundant chlorophyll. Alfalfa roots can dig down over 100 feet, giving the plant access to minerals and trace minerals that other plants can’t acquire.
The Arabs were the first to name alfalfa, which means “father of all foods.”[iii] Alfalfa cleans and tones the intestines and removes harmful acids from the blood. Alfalfa is rich in protein, carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, sulfur, silicon, cobalt and zinc. Alfalfa provides these minerals in a balanced form, which promotes absorption. Alfalfa also contains eight enzymes that help assimilate protein, fats and carbohydrates. Alfalfa alkalizes and detoxifies the body, especially the liver.
Barley is an annual cereal plant that has been cultivated for hundreds of years. Although the barley grain is most often used, the plant’s true nutrition is found in the leavesthe young green shoots that form before the grain sprouts. This green grass is reputed to be the only vegetation on earth that could supply our sole nutritional support from birth to old age!
Barley grass contains an astounding amount of vitamins and minerals, including five of the B vitamins (the often hard to obtain B12 being among them). It also contains folic acid, pantothenic acid, beta carotene, C and E. Recent laboratory analysis on green barley grass has turned up traces of more than 70 minerals, among them calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus (which is determined, in part, by soil conditions).
Barley grass also contains 18 amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Green barley grass is also said to have a highly alkalizing effect, because it contains buffering minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Spirulina, chlorella and wild blue-green algae are the most common commercial micro-algae. All three contain the highest sources of chlorophyll, protein, beta-carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food, making them some of the best possible supplements you can take on a regular basis.
Spirulina is a naturally digestible food that helps to protect the immune system, lower cholesterol and facilitate mineral absorption. Spirulina is high in chlorophyll, protein, beta-carotene and nucleic acids. Interestingly, the protein digestibility of spirulina is rated at 85%, versus about 20% for beef.[iv]
The cell wall of spirulina is composed entirely of mucopolysaccharides (MPs), which are complex sugars interlaced with amino acids, simple sugars and sometimes protein. MPs are fully digestible and help strengthen body tissues, especially the connective tissues, making them more elastic and resilient. MPs also help reinforce the tissues of the heart and guard against deterioration of the arteries.
Spirulina is packed with other nutrients, including vitamin B12, one that many believe is only available from animal foods (although some scientists dispute just how bio-available the B12 is in spirulina). It has a rich supply of the blue pigment phycocyanin, a light-harvesting pigment that has been shown to inhibit the development of cancer.
This amazing whole food detoxifies the liver and kidneys, builds and enriches the blood, cleanses the arteries, enhances intestinal flora, and inhibits the growth of fungi, bacteria, and various strains of yeast. A number of manufacturers make it available as a powder, capsule or tablet, and you may want to buy it less expensively in the bulk section. Just stir a heaping teaspoonful into your favorite juice drink.
Chlorella contains 10 to 100 times more chlorophyll than leafy green vegetables. Chlorella is grown in controlled mediums where minerals are added to optimize it for human consumption. Its small size requires centrifuge harvesting and special processing to improve the digestibility of the tough outer wall, which makes it more expensive than spirulina. However, the cell wall binds to heavy metals, pesticides and carcinogens such as PCBs and escorts the toxins out of the body, making it a particularly valuable supplement.
Chlorella has less protein and a fraction of the beta-carotene than spirulina, but more than twice the nucleic acid and chlorophyll. Nucleic acid (RNA/DNA) in the body is responsible for cell renewal, growth and repair. Insufficient nucleic acid causes premature aging and a weakened immune system. Chlorella is also abundant in iron, zinc and vitamin A, which helps boost the immune system.
Wild Blue-Green Algae (Aphanizomenon flos-acquae)
Whereas spirulina and chlorella are grown in man-made tanks, wild blue-green algae grows naturally in Upper Klamath Lake in Southern Oregon, making it a particularly unique whole food supplement. This single-celled micro-algae was first discovered over 15 years ago in one of the most diverse and rich wetland habitats in North America. It is harvested at the peak of its bloom in summer, and then quickly freeze-dried to preserve its nutritional profile and enzymatic activity.
Upper Klamath Lake has an average depth of about eight feet, yet the algae feeds on mineral rich sediment that is believed to be at least 35 feet deep. It’s estimated that just one inch of this mineral rich sediment, generated over 10,000 years ago from a volcanic explosion, is able to produce enough algae to feed every person on the planet one gram a day for the next sixty years!
Many believe it is the “wild” nature of blue-green algae that gives it such an excellent nutritional profile. The chlorophyll content is twice as high as that of spirulina.
Aphanizomenon flos-acquae (AFA) is a nutritional powerhouse. Over 98% of its nutrients are bio-available, which means they can be used directly by the body in the same form in which they naturally occur. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins (and muscle tissue), and AFA contains all eight essential amino acids, in the correct profile for optimum absorption. AFA contains up to 68% more protein by weight than any other whole food. It also has high neuropeptide concentrations to help repair, rebuild and strengthen neurotransmitters in the brain so that neurons can communicate optimally with the rest of the body. Nearly 50% of AFA’s lipid content is the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). Omega-3 fatty acids support the immune system and build the white fatty myelin sheath on connective neural fibers in the brain. People who eat AFA on a regular basis report an overall increase in mental alertness and stamina, improved short and long-term memory, enhanced creativity and problem-solving abilities, as well as a greater sense of well being.
AFA has a full spectrum of naturally chelated minerals and trace minerals, as well as a wide range of vitamins. One gram of wild blue-green algae supplies 48% of the recommended daily requirement of Vitamin B1 (beta-carotene), 133% of Vitamin B12 and significant amounts of all the B complex vitamins. The protein rich cell wall of AFA is a source of glycogen, used by the liver for energy, which is one reason people often report an increase in energy after adding it to their daily diet.
Probiotics (Friendly Microflora)
“Probiotic,” literally meaning “for life,” is a term used to describe the friendly bacteria and fungi which inhabit both the large and small intestines. There are at least 400 different species of micro-flora that live in the human gastrointestinal tract. There are billions of these microbes, amounting to approximately three pounds per adult! Some of the most important of these bacteria are acidophilus (Lactobacillus acidophilus), which inhabit the small intestine and bifidus (Bifidobacterium bifidum), which inhabit the large intestine.
All of our organs are important, but as you’ll learn in the detoxification section, the colon requires your attention first, because when it doesn’t function properly, it affects the ability of all other organs to function optimally. I suggest taking daily supplements of acidophilis and bifidus because they are easily destroyed by factors such as antibiotics, stress, alcohol, high meat/fat diets, drugs and poor diet in general.
The small intestine is involved in the digestion, absorption, and transport of food. After passing through the stomach, food is further broken down in the small intestine; and vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, and fat are absorbed. Microvillihair-like projections along the wall of the small intestineperform two important functions: they provide necessary surface area for the absorption of nutrients and they help move food through the small intestine. Acidophilus helps to keep the spaces between the microvilli clear so they can function efficiently. Thus, acidophilus helps to promote normal peristalsis (movement of food) through the small intestine.
Acidophilus plays a role in the prevention of and defense against disease, especially of the gastrointestinal tract and vagina. As part of the “normal flora,” they inhibit the growth of harmful organisms by competing for nutrients, altering the pH to a more acidic level, and shifting oxygen levels to the detriment of pathogens (disease- causing organisms). They also attach to sites otherwise preyed upon by pathogens.
Other benefits of acidophilus include: production of vitamins (which are absorbed into the blood); the synthesis of many B vitamins, including biotin and folic acid; an increase in the absorption of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium; normalization of cholesterol levels in the blood and production of digestive enzymes. Acidophilus also helps maintain bowel regularity. Acidophilus supplements have been shown to help reduce or eliminate intestinal, vaginal and urinary tract infections. Because this friendly bacteria promotes healthy intestinal functioning, it has been found to be useful in helping overcome many other diseases.[v]
Bifidus helps repopulate the large intestine with friendly bacteria, creating a favorable environment for large intestine health. Bifidus lowers the pH of the intestines, manufactures specific B vitamins, ensures regular bowel movements, and can help stop gas and bloating while promoting proper immune function and overall health. Finally, eating a diet rich in plant foods will help to naturally cultivate a healthy balance of probiotic organisms.
Enzymes are considered the “sparks of life.” Even with appropriate levels of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, water and other nutrients, without enzymes, life ceases to exist. For this reason, they are said to possess life force energy. These energized protein molecules play a necessary role in virtually all biochemical activities. They are required to digest food and to repair cells, tissues and organs. In fact, they regulate and govern all living cells in plants and animals, and are responsible for providing the energy for all biochemical reactions that occur in nature. Fruit ripening, seeds sprouting, flowers blooming and people healing are all examples of enzymatic activity. Enzymes cannot be made from synthetic (non-plant) sources, as many vitamins and minerals are made.
Enzymes and coenzymes (molecules that help enzymes do their job) work together to either join molecules together or split them apart by making or breaking chemical bonds. Most enzymes are composed of a protein coupled with an essential mineral, and sometimes a vitamin, which act as the co-enzyme.
There are three major enzymatic classifications: metabolic, digestive and those obtained from food. Metabolic and digestive enzymes are produced in the body, but food enzymes are notthey only come from food. Processing or cooking food above 112 degrees destroys food enzymes.
“Metabolic enzymes” build the body from proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and break them apart when they are old. All our cells, tissues and organs function because of these enzymes. They are responsible for chemical reactions within cells, such as energy production and detoxification. Each body tissue/system produces its own specific set of metabolic enzymes. Metabolic enzymes cannot be supplied through supplementation.
“Digestive enzymes” are secreted along the gastrointestinal tract and help break down foods, enabling nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Our bodies manufacture and secrete about 24 different digestive enzymes depending on the type of food we eat. Digestive enzymes break down food particles for storage in the liver or in muscles. This stored energy is later converted by other enzymes for use by the body when needed.
“Food enzymes” come from plants, and are vulnerable to processing and temperatures above 112 degrees. These vital helpers predigest our food and aid greatly in the absorption of nutrients. Without them (either from food or supplementation), the natural process of full digestion is lost, which puts an undue strain on the digestive system.
The three major food enzymes are: amylase, which breaks down starches into sugars; lipase, which breaks down fats into fatty acids, and protease, which breaks down proteins into amino acids. Protease is also used therapeutically for digesting viruses and bacteria, and for eliminating allergies.
Enzymes can be found in many different plant foods, but the plant must be fresh and whole in order to contain live enzymes (unless it’s been specifically processed to retain the enzymes). Some foods that contain lots of enzymes include avocados, papayas, pineapples, bananas and mangos. Sprouts are one of the richest sources of enzymes. Many companies process these foods into enzyme supplements. Many pickled (or fermented) foods, as well as miso paste, also contain enzymes. Unless at least 50% of your diet consists of organic, whole, raw plant foods that contain naturally occurring food enzymes, you may want to take a daily enzyme supplement for better absorption of the food you eat.
Flaxseed Oil (For Omega-3/6 Essential Fatty Acids)
Flaxseed oil is one of the best sources for essential fatty acids, which are the basic building blocks of fats. Essential fatty acids are considered essential because they are needed for normal cell structure and function, yet our bodies do not manufacture them. They are categorized as omega-3 (n-3) and omega-6 (n-6) (the number describes the place of the first double bond in these poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)) and are required for proper functioning of nerve cells and cell membrane walls.
All our cells are enveloped by a membrane composed mostly of essential fatty acid compounds called phospholipids, which play a major role in determining the integrity and fluidity of the membranes. The type of fat we consume determines the type of phospholipid in the cell membrane. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) severely lacks essential fatty acids. Instead, it is high in animal fats, which are high in saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and trans-fatty acids (also formed by chemical extraction or high-heat processing and hydrogenation of unsaturated plant oils), giving our cells the wrong ratio of fatty acids. This imbalance leads to cell membranes that contain less fluid, making it difficult for them to perform their primary function: acting as a selective barrier that regulates the passage of nutrients and wastes in and out of the cell.
Without a healthy membrane, cells lose vital nutrients, electrolytes and their ability to hold water. They also lose their ability to communicate efficiently with other cells and respond appropriately to regulating hormones. Diminished cellular function is one of the primary causes of degenerative disease. A diet high in animal foods, combined with improperly processed oils, puts us at great risk.
On the flip side, research has shown that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids help prevent heart attacks, lower blood pressure, reduce allergies and inflammation, relieve or reverse symptoms of multiple sclerosis, offer anti-cancer properties, and may help combat a host of degenerative diseases.[vi] This is because the essential fatty acids 3 and 6 are also transformed into regulatory compounds known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins regulate steroid production and hormone synthesis; they also regulate pressure in the eye, joints and blood vessels. Additionally, they mediate immune response, regulate bodily secretions and their viscosity, dilate or constrict blood vessels, regulate the rate at which cells divide and regulate the flow of substances in and out of cells. There’s still more the busy prostaglandins do: they transport oxygen from red blood cells to bodily tissues, regulate nerve transmission and assist in other vital functions. As you can see, essential fatty acids are, well, essential, in our diet. Yet few of us get enough of them, because most of us don’t eat foods high in essential fatty acids, and we do eat foods that diminish or neutralize them.
Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in raw nuts, seeds, and legumes, and in unsaturated (cold-pressed) vegetable oils such as flaxseed, borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in deepwater fish, fish oil and vegetable oils such as canola, walnut and flaxseed.[vii] Based on my research, I believe that organic, expeller-pressed flaxseed oil is an excellent source of both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. Flaxseed oil contains 58% omega-3 fatty acid, which is twice the amount found in fish oil, which may be contaminated by pesticide and/or chemical residue (such as mercury).
Two tablespoons of flaxseed oil a day seems to be the recommendation by most sources. I pour some on my morning miso soup (see the Appendix), and the nutty flavor of flax oil is also delicious on salads, baked foods such as potatoes, and on bread. You’ll find it in the supplements/refrigerator section of the natural foods store. Check both the “pressing” and expiration dates to be sure the product is fresh.
Additional note: As explained in Chapter 2, I suggest avoiding all hydrogenated oils (margarine) as well any oil that is not organic and expeller-pressed. The best oils will be found in opaque bottles to reduce potential rancidity. The only company I’m aware of which has a full line of oils bottled in opaque containers is Omega Nutrition. The two most popular flax seed oils are made by Omega Nutrition and Barlean’s. And, one of my favorite manufacturers is Foods Alive, who produce three flavors: Mike's Special Red, Sweet Mustard, and Pure Goldenthey're all excellent!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Pure, organic, uncooked and non-pasteurized apple cider vinegar is another indispensable item you’ll want to have on hand. Although not a supplement per se, it offers multiple (and inexpensive) benefits. It is a natural antibiotic and antiseptic that fights germs, bacteria, mold and viruses.
Apple cider vinegar has been referred to as one of nature’s most perfect foods. Made from fresh, crushed apples (look for those allowed to mature in wooden barrels, as wood seems to boost natural fermentation), apple cider vinegar (ACV) has a long, fascinating history. From the beginning of recorded history, all ancient civilizations have utilized vinegar (often with wine). Vinegar was used as a healing elixir by Hippocrates (the “Father of Medicine”) and it has been found in Egyptian urns as far back as 3000 BCE. The Babylonians are said to have used it as a condiment and preservative, while the Greeks and Romans used it both for flavoring and healing purposes. Parisians used it in the Middle Ages as a deodorant and healing tonicit was even touted as a preserver of youth! Columbus had vinegar barrels on his sailing vessels to prevent scurvy. Japanese Samurai warriors drank ACV for strength and power, and it was used during the Civil War to disinfect and heal wounds.
Modern day use includes spot and stain removal as well as color preservation. Save the popular white, distilled vinegar for carpets and the laundry. Our society has come to equate clear/white products with purity and cleanliness, yet often that means toxic bleach and byproducts. In the case of distilled white vinegar, powerful enzymes, trace minerals and natural malic and tartaric acids (which fight toxins and bacteria) are destroyed by heat during the distillation process. Distilled white vinegar also contains acetic acid, which is detrimental to the health of the body. This acid is known to rapidly destroy red blood cells, interfere with digestion and contribute to liver and intestinal problems.[viii] You want undistilled, naturally fermented and organic ACV with a rich, brownish color. Don’t be turned off by the “cobweb-like” substance you may seethose are important strands of protein molecules and pectin. This life- giving substance is called “the mother” by Paul Bragg, N.D.one of America’s original “health food” advocates. He and his daughter Patricia are authors of Apple Cider Vinegar.[ix]
Also beware of “sanitized” ACVs and malt vinegars that lack the health giving properties of the real thing, and avoid imitations made (here’s a designer food for you) from coal tar (the product, since it’s cheaper than distilled or malt vinegar, is the most popular vinegar in supermarkets today).
As those sophisticated Middle Age Parisians knew, apples are a rich source of potassium, which is necessary for the soft tissues of the body, just like calcium is required for our bones. Potassium is the “mineral of youthfulness,” keeping the arteries flexible and resilient. Potassium is also responsible for good skin and muscle tone. Before you turn to plastic surgery for drooping eyelids, reach for a bottle of apple cider vinegar. You may be suffering from a potassium deficiency, which can be easily and inexpensively corrected by a daily dose. Potassium helps give rigidity to plant stems and assists them to grow and blossom. When a plant suffers potassium deficiency, it yellows, withers and dies. Potassium makes the flesh of farm animals healthier and tender. The main function of potassium in people is to keep the tissues healthy, soft and pliable, and to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Our bodies are meant to be self-cleansing, self-correcting, self-repairing and self-healing. With potassiumthe master mineraltoxic poisons are literally placed “in solution” so they can be flushed out of the body.
A fresh, organically grown apple contains living enzymes, phosphorus, chlorine, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, fluorine, silicon, along with vitamins and minerals, and over 10,000 micro-nutrients! It also contains oxygen, water, and many other important trace elements and compounds in the proper ratio for the body to use. The saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may well be true. There’s usually little we can do to improve on nature, but fermenting those fresh apples seems to be an exception. ACV truly seems to be of benefit in almost any condition imaginable.
Even the healthiest of us needs to clear the body of “acid crystal” buildup, easily done by drinking a cocktail of distilled water, ACV and honey every day. Gabriel Cousens M.D., author of Conscious Eating, says “Organic apple cider vinegar is the #1 food I recommend for maintaining the body’s vital acid/alkaline balance.” The following list illustrates some of the other benefits of apple cider vinegar.
• Relieves dandruff, itchy scalp, thinning hair and even baldness (add royal jelly and leave on overnight)
• Soothes tired, aching muscles and joints (take a warm bath containing 1 cup ACV)
• Strengthens the heart and reduces arrhythmia
• Aids blood vessels, arteries and veins
• Improves digestion
• Relieves chronic fatigue
• Zaps sore throats and laryngitis (gargle)
• Treats insect bites
• Combats gallstones
• Is an effective aid for female discomforts and can help shrink an enlarged prostate
• Helps control and normalize weight
• Helps lower blood pressure
• Eases arthritis (by flushing toxic crystals from joints)
You can also make hot & cold vinegar compresses or vaporize ACV to help relieve headaches. Apple cider vinegar supplies the eyes with needed tissue mineral salts, and two or three drops of a solution of ACV and water two to three times daily has been said to remove cataracts! Breathing the steamy vapors of heated ACV can clear nasal passages for 12 to 24 hours, while gargling with it can relieve sore throats. Sipping a mixture of ACV and water can relieve a tickling cough as well as relieve laryngitis and asthma. Sipping ACV with water every five minutes will help alleviate nausea, food poisoning and diarrhea, while a teaspoonful can eliminate hiccups. Swishing a mixture of ACV and water can eliminate “morning breath.” As a mouthwash, it helps prevent tartar deposits. Brushing your teeth with the same solution will whiten them as well as protect them from decay. Applied to the skin it soothes sunburn and can relieve eczema and shingles.[x]
Whew! What a bang for your buck. I prefer Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, found at all natural food stores. If drinking the liquid mixture doesn’t appeal to you, most health food stores have ACV tablets. Each tablet is usually equivalent to one teaspoon (±) of ACV.
Antioxidants are a group of chemicals that devour free radicals. Many of these antioxidants are phytochemicals (plant products) that are obtained by a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. However, there are animal antioxidants, such as Co-Q10, and minerals such as selenium, that act as antioxidants. Free radicals are created when cells are under attack from various toxins, viruses, germs or fungi. They are caused by tobacco smoke, pollution, stress, and hydrogenated, overheated or rancid oils; and they are almost always produced by fried foods.
If left unchecked, free radicals damage cells, leading to a suppressed immune system and, subsequently, to degenerative disease. They are a primary cause of wrinkles and sagging skin. Combat them with the high concentration of antioxidants found in wheat grass juice, barley grass, sprouts and dark green vegetables. For added protection, you may want to take a daily supplement. Three popular antioxidants found in natural foods stores are: coenzyme Q10 (Co-Q10), grape seed extract and pycnogenol. The later two are oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), substances that are related to tannins and have benefits in addition to their antioxidant properties. Pycnogenol is a trade name for OPCs derived from a pine tree. Other supplements with antioxidant properties include the herbs bilberry and Ginkgo biloba, and green tea. And don’t forget vitamins A, C, and E, all of which have important antioxidant functions.
Garlic has been used since biblical times and has an amazing array of healing properties. It contains an amino acid derivative called alliin. When you eat garlic, the enzyme alliinase converts alliin into allicin, which has an antibiotic effect. Another component of garlic is methyl allyl trisulfide, which dilates blood vessel walls. Garlic also contains many sulfur compounds that promote healing.
Garlic is known to increase circulation; remove abdominal obstructions; eliminate parasites, yeast, worms and bad bacteria; relieve the stinging of insect bites, nettles, poison ivy and oak; clear ear infections; detoxify the body; enhance immune system function; lower blood pressure and help promote healing of virtually all diseases.
One drawback to garlic, according to some Oriental traditions, is that it can stimulate excessive emotional/sexual desire, an effect those on a spiritual path may want to avoid or minimize. Garlic can also thin the blood, so care must be taken if you are already on an anticoagulant. Garlic can be eaten raw, or taken as an encapsulated supplement. Cooked garlic does not retain the properties of raw and supplemental garlic.
For superior health, I suggest taking a whole green superfood (e.g., alfalfa, barley grass, chlorella, spirulina and/or AFA), probiotics, enzymes, antioxidants and flax seed oil every day. Add wheat grass juice and garlic every day if you are working to heal a condition, or on occasion if you are in fairly good health and have no specific health problems. If price is a factor and you can’t afford everything I’ve listed, give probiotics (intestinal health) first priority, then flax oil, then bulk spirulina.
There are hundreds of other supplements available, but the ones listed above will give you a good start towards attaining and maintaining vibrant health. To learn more about nutritional supplements, I recommend the exceptionally well- written and researched book, Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements by Michael T. Murray, N.D. Another awesome resource book is Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James Balch, M.D. and Phyllis Balch, C.N.C.
>>> Continue To Chapter 7: Detoxification
[iii] Healing With Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford, page 529.
[v] Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, Michael T. Murray, N.D., pp. 359-364; The Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies, Louise Tenney, M.H., pp. 176-177; “Probiotics Balance Digestion & Improve Overall Health,” Anthony Cichoke, D.C. (reprint), Nutrition Science News, August 1997, pp. 380-382.
[vi] Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, Michael T. Murray, N.D., pp. 249-268.
[vii] Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James Balch and Phyllis Balch, p. 51.
[viii] Fresh Vegetable and Fruit JuicesWhat’s Missing in Your Body?, N.W. Walker, p. 65.
[ix] Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System, Paul C. and Patricia Bragg, N.D., Ph.D. See www.bragg.com.