Switchel, the centuries-long beverage, currently a favorite in “hipster” markets and upscale cocktail bars, has been present around long before the invention of vitamin water, energy drinks, and sugary sodas. This insanely healthy and tasty beverage is all the rage among hipsters and health-conscious individuals, due to its nutrition profile, energizing, and thirst-quenching properties.
Although it is believed to have derived from the Caribbean, switchel was a popular refreshment in the American colonies, having been consumed by sailors, politicians, laborers, and everyone regardless of their social class. The reason is very simple, though: this beverage is ideal for fighting long days in the heat, allowing the person to stay hydrated and keep cool.
Switchel is made of four ingredients: water, vinegar, ginger, and sweetener. In fact, it was initially prepared with water, vinegar, and honey, molasses, or maple syrup as a sweetener, and ginger was eventually added to prevent bloating, as drinking cold drinks on hot days was believed to cause indigestion.
How To Make Traditional Switchel
- 4 cups of water or club soda
- 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp of pure maple syrup
- 6 ounces of fresh ginger root
- Run the ginger root through a food processor or grate it, until you have 1/3 of a cup
- Mix the water, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and ginger in a container
- Pour over ice or keep the jug refrigerated and let it steep for 24 hours
The Benefits of Drinking Switchel
It seems that early American settlers knew something when they created this beverage. While they may have been aware of its revitalizing and refreshing properties, they certainly didn’t have a deeper understanding of human biology and the therapeutic activity of plants.
1. It Restores Electrolytes
Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electrical charge and are found in bodily fluids like urine and the blood. As such, they transmit the voltage required for bodily functions like nerve signaling and muscle contractions.
We lose electrolytes during a workout, sweating, or going to the bathroom. Electrolyte imbalance typically occurs when we lose fluids through strenuous physical activity or when we get the flu, meaning during times of dehydration. The most common signs of electrolyte imbalance include fatigue, joint pain, anxiety, headaches, muscle aches, stomach cramps, dizziness, trouble concentrating, and heart palpitations. To restore electrolytes, you need to consume things containing electrically charged minerals like sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which are found in switchel.
2. It Helps Ease Pain and Inflammation
The fact that farmers and laborers used switchel as a refreshment doesn’t come as a surprise, as it fights pain and inflammation, allowing them to work as hard and efficient the next day. It is ginger content that makes it an ideal post-workout tonic, suppressing inflammatory enzymes linked to pain that comes with an intense workout. Additionally, it helps with other inflammation-related conditions, such as depression, eczema, acne, and arthritis.
3. Get Your Daily Dose of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apart from restoring electrolytes, there are many reasons to include apple cider vinegar in your daily diet. This beverage is known to promote weight loss, protect the heart, improve digestion by stimulating the growth of healthy gut bacteria, keeps blood sugar levels in check, and balances the body`s pH levels.
Since taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar along with a cup of water is not the tastiest beverage, switchel provides a delicious way to get your daily dose of apple cider vinegar.
4. Enjoy the Healthful Effects of Ginger
Apart from ginger`s well-known health benefits, it has also been found to improve blood circulation, lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, and relieve symptoms of indigestion like nausea, bloating, and heartburn. Given that gingerol in ginger possesses antioxidant properties, it can also boost brain function by improving attention span, reaction time, mental processing, and working memory.
5. The Hidden Wonders of Pure Maple Syrup
Pure maple syrup is a healthier option for refined and artificial sugars. It has a robust nutritional profile, containing a substantial amount of minerals like riboflavin, calcium, potassium, zinc, and manganese. In addition to this, since maple syrup comes from tree sap, it also contains antioxidants- 63 different types of free radical fighters, including quercetin, catechins, and gallic acid.