We’ve all seen a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) in the kitchen or pantry at one time or another in our life. But not many of us know much about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
In medieval times, ACV was used to treat numerous medical conditions. For instance, back in 400 BC, Hippocrates, who is considered to be the father of modern medicine, used to treat his patients using ACV due to its natural antibiotic and antiseptic properties along with its beneficial nutritional content.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar ?
Apple Cider Vinegar is either made directly from apples by crushing them or from apple cider. Bacteria and yeast are added to start the alcoholic fermentation process, which turn the sugars in the apple juice into alcohol and then into a pale or light amber-colored vinegar.
The presence of acetic acid and malic acid gives apple cider vinegar a sour taste. On the other hand, organic ACV or other forms, such as raw ACV, contain a soft skin or a cobweb like compound called ‘mother of vinegar’, which makes its appearance slightly hazy.
Apple vinegar is a bona fide member of folk medicine and although substantial scientific evidence is missing on the health benefits of ACV, the few researches carried out on the sour liquid have shown promising results. For instance, one study showed that a daily intake of two ounces of ACV improved fasting blood glucose by 4% in patients with type 2 diabetes, apropos to only 2% in the control group.
What Does ACV do for your Health?
There are numerous uses for ACV in the domestic setting, but some health benefits of ACV are:
Soothes Upset Stomach
Drinking a glass of water with a little bit (2 tablespoons) of ACV soothes your diarrhea, which is particularly beneficial for patients who are convalescing from an upset stomach. ACV is believed to have mild antibiotic properties; drinking the concoction can help deal with the bacterial infection responsible for stomach infection. Likewise, apple cider contains pectin which is a bioactive compound known as flavonoids, that can soothe the intestinal spasms.
Directly drinking one teaspoon of cider vinegar can stop hiccups due to the presence of sour taste-inducing acids. Theoretically, ACV has a soothing effect on the nerves in the throat which produce hiccup spasms. It is because of this property that hiccup stopping lollipops are usually made from ACV.
Soothes Sore Throat
Gargling with water containing ACV can effectively soothe the tickles of a sore throat since the majority of germs cannot survive in an acidic environment. Eventually, the germ-fighting quality of ACV takes effect and treats the infection responsible for the sore throat in the first place.
ACV is believed to lower blood cholesterol levels due to its antioxidant activity. A study carried out in rats found that the type of acetic acid present in ACV can lower blood cholesterol levels. Furthermore, a cohort study in Japan found that consuming half an ounce of ACV every day lowered the participant’s cholesterol.
Lowers Glycemic Index
Research has shown that ACV greatly reduces starch digestion which in turn lowers the rate of hyperglycemia i.e., a spike in the blood sugar levels, and even delays gastric emptying by influencing the hormone insulin which leads to better management of the glycemic index in people with type II diabetes. Moreover, consuming ACV before bedtime can assist in managing your blood glucose in the morning.
Sipping a drink made from or containing ACV before eating can prevent indigestion. However, the best way to avoid indigestion is to consume ACV and honey in a drink. Just add 1 teaspoon of ACV and 1 teaspoon of honey to warm water and drink 30 minutes before eating.
Helps Lose Weight
The acetic acid present in ACV can suppress your appetite and boost metabolism, which can aid in weight loss. Another theory states that the vinegar interferes with starch digestion in the body, suppressing the release of calories in blood.
Who Should Be Using ACV?
Almost everyone can add apple cider vinegar to their diet in moderation, unless or until they have a particular medical condition which prohibits them from consuming the blend.
Is there Scientific Evidence that ACV Helps with Weight Loss or Detox?
There are many sides to the ACV weight loss debate. While some conventional health experts swear by its benefits, others argue that there is no scientific basis to the theory.
Although ACV lowers the levels of cholesterol in the blood, the evidence is restricted to animal models while evidence relating to human trials is sorely missing.
For additional data, in another Japanese study, 175 obese individuals were given vinegar or water on a daily basis, at the end of which people who were given vinegar lost slightly more weight i.e., 1-2 pounds, more than the others. The researchers claimed this was due to vinegar containing genes which break down fat faster.
According to Debbie Davis, a renowned dietician from Chicago, “It may have some benefits in terms of weight loss and weight management, but it is definitely not a quick fix.”
What are the Best Ways to Incorporate ACV in your Diet?
Keep in mind that drinking ACV directly from the bottle is not a good idea since even the mild acids present in it can damage teeth and the food pipe. Adding small amounts of the cider to pickles, marinades, chutneys and on salads as dressing, however, is the best way to consume the vinegar. Yet there are still many benefits of drinking ACV in moderation — one way to consume it is to make an ACV drink with honey as mentioned before.
Many health and hair experts believe ACV can get rid of dandruff and the acidity of the vinegar can effectively prevent the yeast malady from growing back by changing the pH of the scalp.
ACV is a very popular home remedy for treating acne. Applying just a little bit of the vinegar on the skin surface or adding a few drops to boiling water to steam the face can control the spread of acne. It is believed that malic and lactic acids present in vinegar reduce the inflammation caused by acne.
ACV is also a natural teeth whitener as the acid in the vinegar helps remove stains and whitens the teeth. Gargling with ACV water or rinsing the mouth with it also kills all bacteria.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the apple cider vinegar also work by healing bruises. Dabbing a little bit of the vinegar on the bruised area with a cotton ball can discolor the bruise effectively.
Homemade Salad Dressing Recipe
One of the best ways to incorporate ACV in your diet is to make your own salad dressing at home.
- 5 tablespoon honey
- 5 tablespoon ACV
- 5 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon shredded basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon shallots
- 5 tablespoon olive oil
- black Pepper
Whisk the honey, apple cider vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, basil leaves and shallots together. Then add the olive oil to get a balanced and emulsified texture. Finally, sprinkle a dash of salt and black pepper for seasoning. And, the dressing is ready to be served with any salad.
Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Water
If you don’t have time to make your own dressing, you can also consume ACV in the form of detox water. Simply add 2 tablespoons of ACV and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in 1 glass of water along with a few mint leaves, and gulp it down to enjoy a thorough cleansing of your body.