Apple cider vinegar is a health tonic praised for its antiseptic and antibiotic benefits. The popularity of apple cider vinegar has seen a surge since its now touted as a weight loss aid, but this vinegar does so much more for the body.
Apple cider vinegar tops the list as the most popular vinegar and for good reasons. Its health benefits have been known for centuries. A traditional herbal remedy that is claimed to be a cure for many ailments a true healing elixir! Research worldwide supports the amazing properties of this natural vinegar.
Before you rush out and start drinking apple cider vinegar there are some key points to know about this food. Do you choose organic or nonorganic, what do you use it for, and how do you use it safely?
Let’s look at apple cider vinegar in depth and why you need this humble ingredient in your kitchen and medicine cabinet.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made by fermentation of apple cider by the naturally occurring yeast and bacteria. The resulting liquid has converted the sugars first to alcohol then to acetic acid. The fermentation process means that apple cider vinegar is full of health-promoting probiotics and enzymes.
ACV contains pectin, acetic acid, malic acid, live enzymes, amino acids and many other beneficial nutrients.
A single serving (15g of apple cider vinegar) contains 3 calories, zero fat, and minimal sugars. Natural apple cider vinegar contains trace minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, manganese, iron and selenium.
As a food, apple cider vinegar is low in salt content and a good source of manganese. 1
You can find many different apple cider vinegars for sale at your local convenience store. Labelled organic, raw or filtered there are differences between these vinegar the most obvious is the appearance.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Diet Plans
Where does apple cider vinegar fit into your diet? As discussed it is a food that’s full of natural bacterias, probiotics and 100% natural. Apple cider vinegar fits many dietary restrictions and is suitable for anyone on the following diets:
A healthy balanced diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, protein, and healthy carbohydrates is recommended for optimal health. There are many diet plans that people follow to improve their health and today many people are choosing popular diets like the Keto diet, Paleo diet and AIP diet.
[color-box color=”yellow”]Read our guide to the Keto diet[/color-box]
These diets often restrict certain food types so knowing what foods are allowed and what foods are omitted can make be hard.
[color-box color=”yellow”]Read our guide to the gluten-free diet[/color-box]
Apple cider vinegar has a low sugar content and is allowed in most diets. Its ability to improve gut flora means its suitable for the AIP diet which focuses on healing the immune system and reducing gut inflammation caused by an unbalanced gut flora.
[color-box color=”yellow”]Read our guide to Autoimmune Protocol[/color-box]
Another diet, the Candida, diet is again an anti-inflammatory diet designed to reduce your sugar intake, improve and rebalance good gut floras – thus reducing the overgrowth of candida in the digestive system. Fermented foods are allowed on this diet and as stated above apple cider vinegar contains friendly bacteria which inhibit the growth of the fungal candida.
Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was the first to promote the health benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar. Scientific evidence backs up many health claims showing that apple cider vinegar is beneficial for your health helping fight disease, infection and improving overall health. Here’s the lowdown on how apple cider vinegar is a good food for our bodies.
Aids Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar is recommended as an aid to weight loss. Already promoted by alternative therapists now diet gurus are highlighting the power of apple cider vinegar in your diet to help you shed weight quickly.
Studies have shown that vinegar does help reduce body mass index (BMI). One of the compounds found in apple cider vinegar acetic acid helps suppress the buildup of body fat.
Another study where participants took a daily dose of 15 or 30 ml vinegar diluted in water resulted in a significant reduction in waist size and total abdominal fat. 2
Improves Healthy Gut Flora
The abundance of healthy bacteria in apple cider vinegar help promote healthy gut flora growth. The high acetic acid content of apple cider vinegar helps balance pH in the body. The fermentation process of organic apple cider vinegar retains the mother which makes the vinegar have a cloudy appearance. The mother is the natural occurring pectins and proteins which aid in helping break down food in the digestive tract by stimulating the natural gut enzymes. 3 4
Probiotics have been shown to have a positive effect on health they help boost the immune system and feed healthy bacteria thus improving the digestive tract, helping decrease allergy symptoms and aiding in the absorption of nutrients from food. 5
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Studies show apple cider vinegar effective antifungal properties against candida infection. Candida fungus overgrowth is one of the most common digestive tract problems. It is known to cause gastrointestinal symptoms including gas, bloating, nausea and diarrhea 6
The antibacterial properties of vinegar are well known and proven to be helpful in the prevention of food poisoning from E. coli bacteria. Apple cider vinegar is also shown to be effective as an alternative treatment for thrush infection. 7 8
Diabetes is a big health issue in modern life, worldwide prevalence is increasing year on year. Hyperglycemia or raised blood sugar levels is a common symptom of diabetes and can lead to serious health problems. 9
The antiglycemic effect of acetic acid, an active ingredient in apple cider vinegar has been well researched. Apple cider vinegar has been studied with individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
One study, where individuals ingested vinegar with bread resulted in an average 31% decrease in blood sugar levels. The study concluded that a minimal amount of vinegar such as the amount used in a salad dressing was sufficient to significantly affect the glycemic response in the body. 10
Small scale studies on adults with type 2 diabetes, looked at food in the diet that can have a positive effect on helping manage diabetes. Vinegar positive effect on glycemic levels was studied in a trial where vinegar was digested in the evening to see the effect on next morning fasting glucose levels. The outcome showed a 6% reduction although not a high level it is positive to look at further trials with vinegar helping as an antidiabetic therapy. 11
Another study shows that apple cider vinegar may also have an effect on insulin sensitivity. The conclusion of the study showed that ingestion of vinegar improved fluctuation of insulin levels in people with both type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance. 12
The external application of apple cider vinegar on the skin has many benefits. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties can help cleanse the skin’s surface, helpful for acne and wounds.
Apple cider vinegar content of acetic acid is used as an alternative to conventional antibiotic creams. Many harmful bacteria strains have become resistant to antibiotic creams and management of wound healing looks to organic acids that can help fight infection causing bacterias. 13 14
Varicose veins can cause many undesired side effects such as pain, leg cramps, leg fatigue and itching of the skin. A study looked at the topical application of apple cider vinegar on the reduction of associated symptoms of varicose veins and showed very positive effects. 15
Apple cider vinegar has been researched for its potential to lower cholesterol levels and reduce high blood pressure. At the current time, all studies have been done on animals and they do show potential for apple cider vinegar to help at the moment no human trials have been conducted.
What works for animals may not works for humans so we await further research in this area to confirm the other health benefits of apple cider vinegar for the body.
Organic vs Non-organic
Choosing organic products is the healthier option, pesticide-free, non-GMO and a 100% natural product that hasn’t been processed. Apple cider vinegar is available as an organic or inorganic product so what’s the difference and does it matter which you choose.
Organic apple cider vinegar is a cloudy vinegar because it contains all the nutritional natural enzymes and bacteria. The cloudy appearance is due to the presence of what is known as the ‘mother’ this refers to the natural bacteria that is present.
Non-organic apple cider vinegar is clear as it has been clarified through a pasteurization process which removes the healthy enzymes.
A study analyzing the two types of apple cider vinegar showed that organic fermentation process resulted in a more diverse range of microbiota compared to non-organic apple cider vinegar. Organic apple cider vinegar had 96 different bacteria whereas conventional apple cider vinegar has only 72 bacteria present. The researchers also found that organic fermentation had an influence on the aroma of the vinegar. 16
How Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar?
There is a myriad of ways to use apple cider vinegar in your food and drinks. Vinegar works as a marinade, salad dressing, as a preservative for pickling and adding flavor to your dishes.
Apple cider vinegar is a popular kitchen staple and a versatile ingredient as a replacement or substitute for other ingredients.
Apple cider vinegar is most popularly taken as a drink prior to eating – the recommended dosage is 5 ml diluted in an 8 ounce glass of water. You can add apple cider vinegar to your juicing recipes; its tart flavor is hidden and more palatable when blended with sweeter fruits.
You can also use apple cider vinegar as a household cleaner. It is great for washing fruit and vegetables prior to consuming, as it kills bacteria.
Apple cider vinegar is considered safe. There are no noted side effects.
People with diabetes might see a lowering of their blood sugar levels whilst taking apple cider vinegar. It’s best to consult your doctor about using apple cider vinegar as your medication may need to be adjusted.
There are some prescribed medications that interact with apple cider vinegar. Digoxin (Lanoxin) side effects are increased with low potassium levels and apple cider vinegar can lower potassium levels. Insulin and diuretic drug medications both affect the potassium levels in the body and large quantities of apple cider vinegar should be avoided. 17
Definitely, use caution when drinking apple cider vinegar. It should never be drunk neat as it’s too acidic and can damage dental enamel. 18
The bottom line is apple cider vinegar is beneficial to health, helping aid digestion, fight infections and improve healthy gut flora. Containing many natural enzymes and healthy probiotics it’s certainly a healthy food for the body.
Choose organic apple cider vinegar to avoid GMO-food and pesticides that are often used found in commercially grown apples. Opting for organic apple cider vinegar you will reap the most health benefits of this natural vinegar.
As with all foods use apple cider vinegar in moderation alongside a healthy balanced diet.
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