Is apple cider vinegar a magical potion? The media and web seem overwhelmed by the numerous health benefits it claims to offer. What makes it so special? Is it the vitamins or the minerals present in it?
But the truth is, apple cider vinegar is a poor source of nutrients! But it does have acetic acid in abundance, which plays the real game!
The Active Ingredient in Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the sugars in apples which turns them into acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar.
Acetic acid can increase your body’s absorption of important minerals from the foods you eat. Acetic acid can alter the pH value of blood which is crucial in transporting minerals, allowing enzymes to work, stimulating thyroid, increasing metabolism etc.
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains “mother of vinegar” which are strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria. This gives the vinegar a murky, cobweb-like appearance, but this is healthier than the filtered clear versions.
Here are some of the scientifically proven health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar:
1. Balances Blood Sugar and Improves Diabetes
It is pretty amazing that a simple chemical like vinegar could have the benefits of three different classes of diabetes drugs, and all for a few cents a dose!
Vinegar increases insulin sensitivity. This is good news for both Type 2 and Type 1, especially for lowering postprandial glucose. A study by Arizona State University found that individuals with type 2 diabetes consuming vinegar at bedtime had reduced the fasting glucose concentration in the morning.
These indicate that apple cider vinegar helps to overcome insulin resistance by improving the way in which the liver and muscles absorb sugar from the blood. These findings show that apple cider vinegar has the potential to help regulate your blood glucose levels.
2. Suppresses Appetite and Induces Weight Loss
Who doesn’t want to be slim and fit? Here is the good news for body lovers – Apple cider vinegar does wonders in reducing body weight! It suppresses appetite and helps prevent overeating. It’s only common sense that reducing calorie intake over time leads to reduced weight.
A study on the anti-obesogenic effect of apple cider vinegar recorded that “the metabolic disorders caused by high fat diet are thwarted by taking apple cider vinegar which proves to have a satiating effect, anti hyperlipidemic and hypoglycemic effects, and seems to prevent the atherogenic risk.”
Hyperlipidemia refers to increased levels of lipids in the blood, including cholesterol and triglycerides. Hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose or low blood sugar, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below normal. Atherogenic risk is the tendency to promote the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries. So in short, apple cider vinegar helps reduce cholesterol, lowers blood sugar and prevents clogging of arteries.
Fat burning occurs in the absence of insulin in the blood. The hypoglycemic effect of apple cider vinegar is what is most effective in promoting weight loss.
3. Lowers Cholesterol and Triglycerides
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry published by American chemical society clearly states that Apple cider vinegar is a rich source of Chlorogenic Acid, a polyphenol compound. Chlorogenic acid is believed to be a super antioxidant in the medical field.
Antioxidants are a class of molecules that are capable of inhibiting the oxidation of another molecule. Antioxidants play a significant role in your health, as they can control LDL cholesterol particles from becoming oxidized, a crucial step in the heart disease process by fighting free radicals that result in oxidative stress. As stated in the Journal of Food Science,
“Polyphenols such as chlorogenic acid, which is present in high levels in apple cider vinegar, could inhibit oxidation of LDLs and improve health by preventing cardiovascular diseases.”
A scientific study by Central Research Institute of Japan on rats also proves that Apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
4. Helps Your Body Maintain a Healthy pH Level
A common belief is that our body is tends to be more acidic than alkaline. But according to recent research, our body is more inclined to alkalinity. Different parts of our body have different pH levels.
For instance, pH value of saliva, pH of urine and pH of blood all differs. It is the pH value of blood that determines the alkalinity or acidity of our body in general. As we age, the alkalinity of blood increases. Even a slight change in the pH value can bring huge effects. This is where Apple cider vinegar can do wonders.
As we already said, the active ingredient in Apple cider Vinegar, Acetic acid is extremely acidic. Its pH value is around 2.5. So the consumption of ACV can bring down the alkalinity of the blood, thus maintaining a balanced pH level of blood. This helps us maintain a healthier gut and a fit body.
5. Fights Indigestion, Heartburn and Acid Reflux
One of the main reasons for the above ailments is an imbalanced stomach pH. These are the conditions in which stomach is too much alkaline. Acetic acid in the Apple cider vinegar lowers the alkalinity of the stomach and thus maintains the balanced pH which eventually gives relief from heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion etc.
Raphael Kellman, MD, founder of the Kellman Center for Integrative and Functional Medicine in New York City, states that slow digestion can cause acid reflux, a condition in which the food consumed will get back into the food pipe and gives a feeling of fullness and uneasiness. The stomach would be too much alkaline and the valve connecting food pipe and stomach would not be closed. Acetic acid in the Apple Cider Vinegar increases the acidity in the stomach. This helps in the easy digestion of the food consumed and it is then propelled into the small intestine for further digestion and absorption.
Apple Cider Vinegar also helps in improved absorption of vitamins and minerals from the food we ingest. If the stomach is not producing the required amount of acids, the absorption of nutrients such as B6, folate, calcium, and iron from the food will be impaired.
A little Apple cider vinegar can save the day!
6. Maintains Optimum Blood Pressure Levels
A research published in the journal of Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry studied the effects of vinegar on blood pressure when it is introduced into the diet.
One of the top reasons for high blood pressure is the increased alkalinity of the blood. The high alkalinity causes potassium loss, which in turn, increases the blood pressure. Low potassium levels can also cause fatigue and irregular heart beat. In these cases, Apple cider vinegar helps in the retention of potassium in the blood and thus helps lower the blood pressure.
Apple cider vinegar also helps in breaking down fat and phlegm deposits in the body. This improves the blood circulation and lowers the pressure against the arterial walls. A study by the Department of Nutrition of Arizona State University recorded the evidence linking vinegar consumption to reduced risks for hypertension.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s a good idea to incorporate foods into your diet that will help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. An easy way to introduce Apple cider vinegar in your diet is to mix a tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm water and have this twice a day, just before your meals. Both Apple cider vinegar and honey contain potassium, which helps in maintaining the sodium levels of our body.
7. Improves the Immune System
Apple Cider Vinegar improves the immune mechanism of our body. It is a well known remedy for the common cold and sore throat. The acidity of the vinegar decreases the pH of the tissue, which helps prevent the growth of disease causing micro organisms.
- Raw ACV contains prebiotics which increase the white blood cells and T cells count and strengthen your immune system.
- The natural expectorant nature of it loosens and thins the mucus or phlegm present in the throat. This helps to breathe better and swallow more easily.
The acetic acid in vinegar may kill the bacteria or prevent them from multiplying to harmful levels. Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a disinfectant and a natural preservative. It has been used extensively for treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections.
Apple cider vinegar is the cheapest and quickest answer for natural preservation of food. Studies show that it inhibits the growth of bacteria like E. coli. Studies by Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences in Florida and the Nakano Central Research Institute of Japan provide further evidence to this claim.
8. Antifungal Agent
A study from Brazil observed that ACV could be a possible therapeutic alternative for patients with denture stomatitis because of its anti fungal properties. Baby wipes soaked up in apple cider vinegar and refrigerated can be used as an anti fungal agent under arms, on your feet, etc. This helps treat and prevent bacterial and fungal infections.
The over presence of Candida bacteria, a naturally occurring yeast, in the human gut has been linked to many different health issues, like yeast infections, fatigue, poor memory, depression, headaches, sugar cravings etc.
Candida overgrowth can lead to symptoms like yeast infections, fatigue, poor memory, depression, headaches and sugar cravings. Candida overgrowth usually happens with the excessive intake of processed foods or sugar, or if there’s insufficient good bacteria in your system. ACV is fermented with beneficial yeast. So it can serve as a pre-biotic that helps the good bacteria flourish.
Apple cider vinegar is a hot cake came among beauty freaks as well. It is one of the best remedies for dandruff on the scalp and can also be used as a natural hair conditioner. ACV can also be used as a facial cleanser due to its anti bacterial cleansing effect.
9. Healthy Detoxification of the Liver
Apple cider vinegar is a liver and lymphatic tonic.In other words, it can help in the detoxification of liver. Waste from high protein diets is called Guanidine. This is a very alkaline chemical. ACV works as an antidote to the residue of high protein. It flushes the system and cleanses it. It stimulates the cardiovascular circulation, mobilizes the bowel activity and balances body’s pH level.
As we age, the alkalinity of the stomach tends to go higher and higher. The body becomes unable to digest proteins and absorb the minerals, especially the calcium from the food. These result in the calcification of soft tissues as calcium starts getting deposited throughout the body.
Research has found that ACV specifically removes harmful environmental toxins that build up in the body, especially in the liver. It helps to flush out toxins and improve the natural blood filtration process while boosting energy levels.
Another way ACV detoxes the body is by breaking up mucus and cleansing the lymph nodes, which allows for better lymph circulation. When your lymphatic system is healthy, it can remove toxins from cells and improve the immune system response.
How to Consume Apple Cider Vinegar
Is it a good idea to consume Apple cider vinegar as it is ? The answer is ‘No’.
It is best if you dilute a tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar in warm water and have this mixture before meals. The maximum effective dose recommended is two tablespoonfuls of apple cider vinegar, three times a day. You can add honey, ginger, lemon juice and many other ingredients to make it tastier and even more beneficial.
You can try out these 7 Apple cider vinegar drinks recipes to see which suits your taste buds and you can try adding them to salads to incorporate both apple cider vinegar and healthy vegetables into your diet.
Apple Cider Vinegar is an answer to many health issues, for sure. But when you include it in a diet combined with a natural healthy lifestyle, it does wonders to your overall health.
A balanced diet of unprocessed, natural foods will provide the body with the nutrients to detox itself. Raw, uncooked foods supply important enzymes which will help you detox your body. Choosing organic foods in your diet will help reduce your exposure to toxins.
With a Masters in Food Science and Nutrition, Tilottama has carved a niche for herself in the Health Writing Industry. She is passionate about helping her readers make informed decisions about the food they eat. She believes in the healing power of food and in food as medicine. Tilottama is an editor and writer at Fitnesshacks.org.