Friday, April 3, 2015

Birch sap - our very own superdrink

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Looks like the rest of the world is going crazy this spring about the "drink" Latvians and other Northern European nations have been using for hundreds of years - birch sap. It is such a common and well known spring cure ritual around here that nobody has even tried to look for a medical or scientifically proved beneficial explanation on that. It is just a common knowledge and tradition - spring comes, when the weather gets warmer it is time to drill a tap in a birch tree and collect the sap, drink it fresh, drink it naturally fermented, make a sparkling wine out of it etc.

Turns out that birch water is very similar to its coconut cousin but with a couple of impressive nutritional extras. It is also infused with natural sugars, protective antioxidant vitamins, hydrating electrolytes (nutrients like potassium that help the body to rehydrate itself) and trace minerals such as copper, calcium, zinc and magnesium. What makes birch stand out from coconut water are the saponins it contains. These can be useful in maintaining healthy blood cholesterol levels as well as immune supportive properties. Birch water has been associated with having anti-inflammatory effects, reducing LDL cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, having diuretic ‘flushing’ and detoxifying effects and as a beauty tonic. The other super-ingredient that birch water boasts and coconut water does not is xylitol - a sweetener with 40 per cent fewer calories than sugar - 18 calories per 100ml.

Latvian organic cosmetics company MADARA uses birch sap as a replacement for water in a range of their products which are GREAT by the way! And another thing - of course birch sap can be used instead of water or any other liquid substance in our beloved daily smoothies.

So off I go to have another glass of birch sap (my friend brought me 10 l from the country side) and say - cheers to you all, spring, nature and health!

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