Apple cider vinegar has been a staple in the household pantry for many centuries now.
It also has medicinal references. It’s been used in traditional remedies with claims it could help cure all kinds of health issues.
Apple cider vinegar is the most common type used in the naturopathic world.
There have been many claims made about the benefits of apple cider vinegar. Some of these benefits have been scientifically proven.
Weight loss, a reduction in blood sugar levels and a reduction in the symptoms of diabetes are just a few of these benefits.
Find below a brief overview of 6 scientifically proven health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar Contains High Levels of Acetic Acid
The manufacturing process for apple cider vinegar is similar to the process of making alcohol (a).
Yeast is added to crushed apples to produce alcohol, by fermenting the sugars in the apple cider.
To produce vinegar, they add bacteria to the alcohol to ferment further. This process produces acetic acid. The principal active ingredient in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid.
If you buy unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar (pictured below), it has strand-like sediments floating in it. A good example is Braggs apple cider vinegar. These strand-like sediments are very important. They are known as “the mother.” These strands contain proteins, enzymes, and other useful bacteria. It promotes healing.
There are not many calories in apple cider vinegar. So, if you are on a low-calorie diet, this is good for you.
When buying apple cider vinegar, look for high-quality ones like Bragg. It has some important micronutrients like amino acids and antioxidants.
Conclusion: Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, enzymes, protein strands, antioxidants and amino acids which are good for your health.
2. It Has antibacterial properties
The active ingredients in vinegar have antibacterial properties. It can kill bacteria and other pathogens (b).
This property has made vinegar an excellent cleaning agent. I personally use it in my laundry and for dealing fungus.
More than a thousand years ago, Hippocrates, the person said to be the father of modern medicine, cleaned wounds with vinegar.
If you want to preserve food without adding artificial preservatives, apple cider vinegar offers you a good alternative.
People with acne have also reported that they got rid of it by applying diluted apple cider vinegar to the affected area. This claim is not backed by science so you should not expect any results.
Conclusion: Vinegar contains a high amount of acetic acid. This gives it antibacterial properties. It can be used to stop the growth of bacteria. For thousands of years, it has been used as a preservative and a disinfectant.
3. It Can reduce the level of blood sugar
Vinegar is commonly recommended for people who have type 2 diabetes.
People with type 2 diabetes often have high levels of blood sugar. They are either unable to produce insulin or experience insulin resistance.
High blood sugar levels are not only a problem for those who have diabetes. It is also known to be a factor in aging. It can also contribute to risks of contracting some chronic illnesses.
So, it is important for all of us to keep our blood sugar at recommended levels.
The best way to do this is to avoid consuming refined sugar and carbs. Consuming apple cider vinegar also helps in regulating blood sugar levels.
There have been several studies that show vinegar to have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels and insulin functions:
- It improves sensitivity to insulin for those on a high-carb diet. This improvement can be between 19% and 34%. Vinegar can also significantly reduce blood glucose (g).
- It reduces glucose response by as much as 31.4% after consuming white bread (h)
- You can decrease your fasting blood sugar by as much as 4% if you drink two tablespoons of vinegar before going to bed (h).
- There have been many other studies carried out on both animals and humans that show that vinegar can raise insulin sensitivity and greatly reduce blood sugar response during meals (i, j, k, l, m, n).
For those fighting diabetes, vinegar proves to be useful in regulating blood sugar levels.
A word of caution to those already on blood sugar lowering medication. You should consult your medical practitioner before taking apple cider vinegar for lowering blood sugar.
Conclusion: Many studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar response.
4. Promotes the feeling of being full, which helps in weight loss.
One reason we put on a lot of weight is that we often overeat. There have been numerous studies that conclude vinegar promotes the feeling of being full. This translates into the consumption of fewer calories. Lowering your calorie intake can help you lose weight.
And eating fewer calories translates into losing weight in the long term.
In a recent study on obese people, subjects were shown to have lost some belly fat after consuming vinegar daily. They also saw a reduction in their waist size and a lowering of their blood triglycerides. Individuals also saw an overall weight loss (q).
Subjects who took one tablespoon (about 15ml) vinegar per day saw their weight reduced by 2.6 pounds. Subjects who took two tablespoons (approximately 30ml) of vinegar per day saw an average weight loss of 3.7 pounds.
But considering that this study was over a 3-month period, one wouldn’t consider the weight losses to be that significant.
But then again, it takes more than just one ingredient to make a significant weight change.
It may take an entire lifestyle change which sometimes includes a complete change of diet. In most cases, you’ll have to combine exercise and diet to achieve the desired result.
In the end, whether significant or not, apple cider vinegar may help you lose weight. It does this by making you feel full and reducing the levels of insulin and blood sugar.
Conclusion: Consuming vinegar daily can help you lose weight by making you feel full and, therefore, eating fewer calories than you normally would.
5. It can lower the risk of heart disease and reduce blood cholesterol.
You may not know it, but the biggest contributor to early death is cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack (r).
Many biological factors indicate an increased or decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
On recent studies carried out on rodents, vinegar was shown to improve some of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
There is CGA (Chlorogenic Acid) present in apple cider vinegar. This is an antioxidant that can protect low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from oxidation. Oxidizing LDL is a major step in the development of heart disease (u, v).
Although these results show promise in rodents, this has yet to be tested on humans.
Harvard University carried out an observation on women who ate salad with dressings containing vinegar. They found that these women had a lower risk of developing heart disease (y).
It wasn’t a sturdy on vinegar so one could not definitively say that vinegar was the cause. The relationship here is only an association.
Conclusion: There have been studies carried out on rodents that show that vinegar may help fight against cardiovascular diseases. However, this has not been definitively confirmed in humans.
6. It could help prevent Cancer
We are all aware of the devastating effects of cancer. Abnormal cells divide and grow uncontrollably, leading to the destruction of body tissues.
You may have come across a lot of talk on the web about how apple cider vinegar possesses some anti-cancer properties.
This may sound so wonderful, but the tests were not carried out on actual cancer patients. These tests were carried on isolated cancerous cells in a controlled environment and on rodents.
And the vinegar used for most of these tests was of the rice variety and not apple cider vinegar.
There has been an observational study in China which showed a link between vinegar and a reduced esophageal cancer. A different observational study in Serbia, however, showed an increase in bladder cancer (d1, e1).
So, there is a possibility that apple cider vinegar might help prevent cancer. But there can’t be any concrete links from current studies.
Conclusion: There have been a few studies that show that vinegar (from rice) might help the fight against cancer. But these tests have not been carried out on actual human cancer patients.
Dosage, Usage and Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar
When you browse the web, you’ll come across a wide range of wild assertions about apple cider vinegar.
There have been many claims about its many health benefits. It is even claimed to give increased energy.
You won’t be surprised to know that a lot of this assertions are unproven.
I am not saying that these claims are false. Just because there isn’t a scientific study to prove a claim does not mean that it does not work. And science, eventually, ends up proving most anecdotal claims.
But, don’t be surprised if you never find any scientific proof to back up these claims. This is because there isn’t a lot of scientific studies carried out on naturopathic products like vinegar.
But the few research that exists suggests that apple cider vinegar does hold some health benefits. If consumed in the right dosage, it certainly isn’t going to cause more harm than good. You can safely experiment on many of the claims out there without worrying about side effects since there isn’t any.
Perhaps the safest way to consume apple cider vinegar is to add it to your diet. Use it in salad dressings and your homemade mayonnaise recipes.
Alternatively, you can just add it to water and drink it.
And when it comes to dosage, you can safely consume between 1 to 2 teaspoons and 1 to 2 tablespoons daily. This corresponds to between 5 to 10 ml and 15 to 30 ml daily.
I don’t recommend consuming more than that suggested dosages above. This may cause some harmful effects.
Vinegar is also produced in the form of pills and tablets. However, there was a study that questioned the actual vinegar contents of these pills and tablets (f1).
It was also reported that a woman got the tablet stuck in her throat and this led to the burning of her esophagus.
So, I suggest you consume the bottled ones and stay away from the pills or tablets.
There are other uses of apple cider vinegar that are not health-related. You’ll find them by going to the link.
Those who want to avoid chemicals and find natural remedies for hair, skin, and teeth would find it useful.
Whether it offers any substantive health benefits or not, apple cider vinegar does have many benefits and no harmful effects if consumed in the right dosage.
It may not cure every illness under the planet, as some are alluding to, but it does not some health benefits.
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