Apple Cider Vinegar is a popular culinary ingredient and is often used in household cleaning however it also has some potent health benefits.
Are some brands better than others?
You should look for vinegar made from actual cider or apple juice rather than concentrate. The vinegar should be a pale to medium amber color.
Any brand will do but Bragg and Heinz are two of the better known ones. Raw, organic and unpasteurized is the best type of vinegar to use as it retains the important healthy proteins and enzymes. Although unpasteurized has a short shelf life and is difficult to find.
The Proven Health Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar
- High Acetic Acid Content To Fight Off Infections
Vinegar is made in a similar way to alcohol. For apple cider vinegar, the first step is to crush apples and expose them to yeast. This allows the sugars to ferment and an alcohol to form.
Next, bacteria are added to this solution which ferments the alcohol itself converting it into acetic acid – the active compound in vinegar.
Organic and unfiltered apple cider vinegar will also contain ‘mother’ or strands of proteins, enzymes and good bacteria’s. The acetic acid in vinegar works to fight infections both internally and topically.
- Makes You Feel Fuller For Longer
While apple cider vinegar won’t make you lose weight on its own, the combination of increasing your satiety and lowering your blood sugar – is a helpful tool to shed extra pounds.
There have been a few studies on humans which suggest that apple cider vinegar increases satiety which in turn helps you eat fewer calories. Eating in a caloric deficit is a sure fire way to lose weight.
Another study in obese individuals resulted in daily apple cider vinegar consumption led to a reduction in blood triglycerides, smaller waist circumference and overall weight loss.
Over 12 weeks participants who consumed 15ml or 1 tablespoon lost 2.6 pounds and those who consumed 30ml of 2 tablespoons lost 3.7 pounds.
While these losses are modest, combining a supplement of apple cider vinegar with a healthy diet and exercise routine will see much bigger changes.
Remember changing one single food is not likely to make a noticeable difference. Improvements to your overall lifestyle is what will get those results.
All in all, apple cider vinegar appears be a useful weight loss tool, through promoting satiety and lowering glucose and insulin levels in the body.
- Fights Diabetes By Lowering Blood Sugar
The most successful use of apple cider vinegar on health is for those suffering from type 2 Diabetes. This disease is categorized by high blood sugar and either being insulin resistant, or unable to produce insulin.
High blood sugar is also unhealthy in people who do not have diabetes and can be managed through a good diet that is low in added sugar and refined carbohydrates. You can also use apple cider vinegar to improve your blood sugar levels.
Apple cider vinegars benefits include:
- Significantly reducing insulin sensitivity during meals high in carbohydrates and lowers blood glucose and insulin responses.
- Fasting blood sugars can be reduced by 2% overnight by taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime (Source).
- Reduces blood sugar by up to 34% while eating 50 grams of white bread.
- Other studies, in animals and humans have shown that apple cider vinegar can significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals.
This is why apple cider vinegar is beneficial for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, or everyone to keep their blood sugar levels at healthy levels.
If you are on medications for blood sugar, consult your doctors before changing your dietary intake.
- Lowers Cholesterol And Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Currently, cardiovascular disease – strokes and heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the world (source).
There are several measurable biological factors that show a decreased or increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood triglycerides are all risk factors in developing these deadly diseases.
While several of these risk factors can be improved by consuming apple cider vinegar, all of the studies focus on rats so the effects on the human body are not confirmed.
This study concluded that apple cider vinegar lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels in rats. In more details – the dietary acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar reduced total cholesterol and triacylglycerol.
Firstly by inhibiting the lipogenesis in liver and secondly due to the increase in the faecal bile acid excretion in rats fed a diet containing cholesterol.
Another study in rats showed an improvement in both obesity and glucose tolerance when the rats were injected with acetate – the acid found in apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar contains the antioxidant compound chlorogenic acid,. This has been shown to prevent LDL cholesterol particles from oxidising which is a crucial step in the heart disease process (3, 4).
Unfortunately these studies have not been conducted on humans and the results may not cross over.
Harvard had an observational study where women ate salad dressing with vinegar showed a reduced rate of heart disease but this study is thin at best and much more work needs to be done.
- Can Have Positive Effects Against Cancer
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to reduce the size of tumors as well as slowing the growth of cancer cells.
The studies have all been either on isolated cells in test tubes or on rats which doesn’t correlate to humans, however it is promising.
This study saw increased cancer cell death in leukemia cells with a solution of fermented acetic acid bacteria. Whereas this study saw a link between vinegar extracts and inhibiting cancer cells of the colon in rats.
More research is needed but there is potential for cancer reducing properties in apple cider vinegar.
6. Strong Anti-bacterial Qualities
Studies have found that apple cider vinegar is an antibacterial suitable for household cleaning as it kills bacteria and harmful pathogens.
It has also been used to treat nail fungus, head lice, topical warts and ear infections of the outer canals.
There are also anecdotal evidence of acne sufferers applying apple cider vinegar to their skin to reduce instances and severity of acne breakouts but no solid studies have been executed in that field.
If you are looking for natural food preservatives – apple cider vinegar is a good option.
Its anti-bacterial nature means it can be used as a natural preservative as well because the acids prevent bacteria like E Coli growing in foods and spoiling it.
In summary – effects and dosage
While here are a lot of wild claims about the uses for apple cider vinegar on the internet – there are some real benefits.
Apple cider vinegar appears to be very safe with no side effects noted during normal consumption. In fact apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a useful anti bacterial tonic. Apple cider vinegar is also a popular and helpful weight loss supplement.
You can include the vinegar in cooking or drink it – both methods can help you feel full so you eat less as well as slowing digestion.
One of the best ways to start including it into your diet is in your meals. It is a popular salad dressing – mix together the vinegar with a splash of lemon juice and red pepper, slowly pour in some olive oil whisking to emulsify and season with salt and pepper. This dressing is delicious and great for your health.
It is not recommended to drink apple cider vinegar straight as it is acidic – that means it will have an unpleasant burning sensation as it goes down. You can try mixing it with warm water – normally one to two teaspoons per glass of water. If the taste puts you off, you can mix it with some juice for a more pleasant flavor.
Apple cider vinegar is a popular natural beauty product as well. It can be used to clean your skin and hair. Its anti bacterial properties can help with skin conditions all while using a product which is free from chemicals and additives.
The acids found in apple cider vinegar help to both soften and exfoliate skin, reduces visible red spots, and balances the pH of your skin for a healthier complexion.
It is also a great substitute for conditioner – leaving your hair feeling soft and silky.
The acidity of apple cider vinegar also helps to change the pH of your scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow. This stops dandruff caused by yeast infections.
To use apple cider vinegar as a wash, mix 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/2 cup water in a spray bottle, and spritz on your scalp or skin. Let the solution sit for up to 30 minutes before rinsing in warm water. You can do this everyday for your skin and several times a week for your hair.