The anti-inflammatory digestive tonic is great if you’re looking to improve your general morning ritual or you currently suffer from digestive issues (bloating, cramping, acid reflux, heartburn, burping, gas, IBS, infrequent bowel movements, nausea after eating etc.) as all three ingredients: lemon, apple cider vinegar (ACV) and cayenne pepper, have their own independant but digestive-supporting properties.
Lemon juice and ACV physically stimulate the production of stomach acid which is really important for digestion and also to keep your immune system in check. When you watch this video, you’ll see I’ve made the drink a “long” drink and put all the ingredients into a large glass of water. As you get used to the flavours, you can reduce the amount of water and eventually work up to just 200ml or 100ml of water with the lemon juice and ACV to concentrate the benefits – though when you’re first starting out, you’ll find this potentially far too acidic so work up to this gradually!
If you haven’t consumed either of these before, as I said it is best to dilute them and ideally consume them five to twenty minutes before breakfast (or all of your main meals if that appeals). For example, you might begin with half a teaspoon of ACV in as much water as you like. Over the coming days and weeks, gradually work up to having one tablespoon of ACV while you gradually decrease (or not) the amount of water. If you would prefer lemon juice, start with the juice of half a lemon diluted to your tastes with warm water and gradually work up to having the juice of a whole lemon in less warm water. Lemon water in warm water is one of my favourite ways to start the day, just ensure it is not boiled water as boiled kills the goodness of everything, including the vitamin C in the lemon juice.
Top tip: Make sure you do a quick mouth rinse with water afterwards as whilst the lemon and apple cider vinegar have an alkalising and acid buffering effect within the body, in your mouth the acid can rub away at your enamel so be sure to do a water rinse, especially if you’re enjoying this tonic daily.
Problems with having too low stomach acid levels:
- Proper levels of stomach acid are needed to adequately absorb many nutrients including minerals (iron, copper, zinc and calcium), vitamin B12, folic acid and proteins.
- Stomach acid is also a crucial part of the body’s immune system. The acicity of the stomach when it’s adequately acidic quickly kills bacteria and other bugs that enter the body. It also prevents bacteria in the intestines from migrating up and colonizing the stomach.
If your experience digestive issues, then it is a sign that your digestive system may not be best equipped to deal with the food you’re eating. This can be for many reasons but I would recommend paying special attention to the food you eat to see if there are any obvious connections and remove the suspected food culprits from your diet for a period of four weeks and monitor your symptoms, but at the same time, boost your body’s digestive toolkit.
Adequate stomach acid is required to break down your food, in particular the proteins in our foods. Many people take antacids, believing the acid reflux they experience is due to too much acid, but often it’s the other way round. When there aren’t adequate stomach acid levels, then food can’t be broken down properly so our body regurgitates it in an attempt to re-digest it again and when it does this, the stomach acid is briefly exposed to the delicate lining of the oesophagus which favours a much less acidic environment. This acidic burning sensation is what we call “acid reflux”. If there was adequate acid in the stomach in the first place, this wouldn’t happen. Rather than masking the issue with antacids to reduce acid production, it’s always best to explore why the acid reflux is occuring in the first place and fixing the cause i.e. potentially too little acid, rather than too much acid.
Lemons help to kickstart the digestive system and stimulate those gastric enzymes to help break down your subsequent meal, particularly if drunk 15 minutes before a meal. They also can help to reduce indigestion, bloating, heartburn and constipation.
Lemons are naturally rich in vitamin C which assists the body at fighting colds and flu’s, perfect for this time of year. Their antioxidant properties help combat free radicals within the body, known to be responsible for the signs of ageing. The antioxidants act as radical quenching scavengers and reduce wrinkles and blemishes.
The vitamin C content of lemons also promote collagen synthesis for healthy looking skin and they enhance the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food more efficiently, in particular iron, which is an important factor for a healthy immune system.
Apple cider vinegar
Make sure ACV is raw, unpasteurized and made from quality organic apples and contain the “mother” which are the enzymes, bacteria and living nutrients that makes ACV so good. I use a brand called Biona or Braggs.
Let me know below how you get on in the comments section below and keep me posted if you notice improvements in your digestion, skin or other areas of your health.
All the healthy best,