Enjoying the Winter Season with Cider and Wassail

Enjoying the Winter Season with Cider and Wassail

Since the 1500’s, apple cider and wassail have been a tradition to behold. Though once mostly an alcoholic beverage, today’s wassail is typically enjoyed as a basic warm, non-alcoholic mixture of equal parts apple cider and orange juice, with added lemon juice, cloves, cinnamon sticks, ground ginger and nutmeg. I like using mostly apple cider, thieves essential oil and lots of cinnamon sticks. I put the oil in after the cider has been simmering for hours and enjoy the essential oil aroma all through the house!

Though it might seem like a drink packed with calories or sugar - bad for those looking to lose weight or manage their blood sugar - it's actually packed with nutrients that are beneficial, with research showing the ingredients it contains can help you escalate your health.

Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can have numerous benefits for insulin function and blood sugar levels. One study shows that apple cider vinegar improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19-34 percent and significantly lowers blood glucose and insulin responses. Another showed that it helped reduce blood sugar by 31 percent when eating 50 grams of white bread. Having two tablespoons before bedtime can even help reduce fasting blood sugars upon waking by 4 percent.

Diluting apple cider vinegar is recommended before consuming to help reduce the acidic affects imposed on the enamel of your teeth, making it the perfect ingredient to add to your wassail and cider, where the combination of other ingredients helps cook and dilute it, while maintaining its nutritional profile in tact.

The warming spices in these drinks, including cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and more, have also been shown to help lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar and fight inflammation, among other benefits.

So, while the holidays may have come and gone, you can still keep warm with a cup of cider or wassail! For those with diabetes, checking your blood sugar often becomes more important during this season, where heavy eating and lots of desserts is the norm. See how your body responds and, if you happen to notice less inflammatory pain, lower blood sugars, or improved insulin sensitivity, you're on the right track!

Eat like a Pro: Have a bit of wassail in an apple-based smoothie like this Green Apple Smoothie with a side of walnuts and cashews and some hardy cheese.

Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

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