Learn About the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Plus, apple cider vinegar consumption works great for the keto diet.
But is apple cider vinegar good for you? And what is Bragg’s apple cider vinegar good for?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) uses range from soothing sunburns to giving your gut health a boost. Some even suggest that ACV cures cold symptoms and seasonal allergies as well as acid reflux.
With at least 30 potential uses and a host of proven health benefits, this is a must-have item in your medicine cabinet.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from apple cider that has undergone fermentation to form health-promoting probiotics and enzymes, giving it significantly less sugar and fewer calories than apple cider or apple juice.
In fact, it only takes one to two tablespoons of ACV to take advantage of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and each tablespoon clocks in at just 3–5 calories and contains minimal sugar.
ACV has been consumed for thousands of years. In fact, records show that we’ve been fermenting apple juice into vinegar since well before 5,000 B.C.
Historically, ACV has been used for a variety of different purposes, such as helping to detoxify the liver, purifying blood, cleansing the lymph nodes and boosting immunity.
In ancient Greece, Hippocrates even prescribed it mixed with a bit of honey to help cure coughs and colds.
In the 17th century, Europeans began using vinegar medicinally. They started preparing it in syrups and antiseptics and even used it as a gargle to kill off germs.
Today, ACV has re-entered the spotlight and is beginning to gain some well-deserved recognition for its potent health-promoting properties.
Not only can it be used as a natural remedy to treat a variety of ailments, but it can also be added to salad dressings and marinades or used as an effective all-natural household cleaner and disinfectant.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits vs. Apple Cider Benefits
So what distinguishes apple cider from apple cider vinegar, and can they be used interchangeably?
Apple cider is made from fresh pressed apples. It’s similar to apple juice but it’s not filtered or processed in the same way.
ACV, on the other hand, is actually made from apple cider that has been fermented by yeast and bacteria, which turns the sugars into alcohol. It then undergoes a second fermentation process in which the alcohol is converted into acetic acid.
This fermentation process accounts for the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar and is the reason why ACV is able to lower cholesterol, keep blood sugar levels stable and relieve acid reflux.
Apple cider, on the other hand, may taste great but doesn’t provide the same wealth of benefits.
1. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
The ability of ACV to help maintain normal blood sugar is one of the most well-studied apple cider vinegar benefits.
In one study, vinegar consumption was found to decrease blood sugar levels by an average of 31 percent after eating white bread.
Similarly, an animal study showed that giving diabetic rats ACV for four weeks was found to significantly reduce blood sugar levels.
ACV may also increase insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting sugar from the blood to the tissues where it can be used as fuel. Sustaining high levels of insulin can cause insulin resistance, which reduces its effectiveness and leads to high blood sugar and diabetes.
A study in Diabetes Care showed that vinegar ingestion helped significantly improve insulin sensitivity by up to 34 percent in those with either type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
To keep blood sugar levels stable, try diluting one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water and consuming before meals.
Additionally, be sure to moderate carbohydrate intake, increase your consumption of fiber and protein foods and get in plenty of regular physical activity to drop blood sugar levels even more.
2. Enhances Weight Loss
ACV has been in the limelight recently with fitness gurus and natural health experts alike recommending an apple cider vinegar diet to help drop unwanted pounds quickly.
But is apple cider vinegar good for weight loss? And how much weight can you lose by drinking apple cider vinegar?
There is a plethora of research out there confirming the benefits of apple cider vinegar for weight loss.
In one study, consuming just two tablespoons per day of ACV over 12 weeks resulted in nearly 4 pounds of weight loss with no other modifications to diet or lifestyle.
Studies show that ACV may also increase satiety, which can help reduce intake and amp up weight loss.
In fact, one study showed that drinking apple cider vinegar actually decreased total caloric intake by up to 275 calories over the course of the day.
However, just because apple cider vinegar benefits weight loss doesn’t mean that it should be used as a quick fix all on its own.
In fact, if just drinking it alone, the amount of ACV weight loss will be minimal.
To really see results, be sure to use it in combination with a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that can build up in the arteries, causing them to narrow and harden.
High blood cholesterol puts a strain on your heart, forcing it to work harder to push blood throughout the body.
Apple cider vinegar can promote heart health by helping to keep cholesterol levels low.
An animal study out of Iran showed that supplementing rats with ACV was able to reduce bad LDL cholesterol while also increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol.
Besides including a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar in your diet each day, other ways to lower cholesterol fast include minimizing your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, including a good variety of healthy fats in your diet and eating a few servings of fish per week.
4. Improves Skin Health
ACV doesn’t just affect your internal health; it has also been shown to treat acne and reduce scarring.
Certain strains of bacteria often contribute to the development of acne.
Vinegar is well-known for its antibacterial properties and has been shown to be effective against many strains of harmful bacteria.
ACV also contains specific components like acetic acid, lactic acid, succinic acid and citric acid, all of which have been shown to inhibit the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, the specific strain of bacteria responsible for causing acne.
These beneficial components may also reduce scarring.
A study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology showed that treating acne scars with lactic acid for three months led to improvements in the texture, pigmentation and appearance of treated skin as well as a lightening of scars.
Adding some probiotic foods into your diet, using healing masks and toners and keeping your skin well-moisturized are some other effective home remedies for acne as well.
5. Reduces Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It forces the heart to work harder, causing the heart muscle to weaken and deteriorate over time.
Apple cider vinegar benefits your blood pressure levels, helping to keep your heart healthy and strong.
An animal study in Japan showed that giving rats acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, resulted in reduced levels of blood pressure.
Another animal study had similar findings, demonstrating that vinegar effectively blocked the actions of a specific enzyme that raises blood pressure.
Other natural ways to lower blood pressure include increasing your intake of magnesium and potassium, upping your fiber intake and swapping the salt and processed foods for whole foods.
6. Relieves Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD or acid reflux, is a condition characterized by acid backflow from the stomach up into the esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn, belching and nausea.
Acid reflux is often a result of having low levels of stomach acid.
If this is the case for you, drinking apple cider vinegar may help provide relief from acid reflux symptoms by introducing more acid into the digestive tract to prevent acid backflow.
For best results, dilute one to two tablespoons of ACV in an 8 ounce glass of water and drink just before eating.
Additionally, remember to follow an acid reflux diet rich in vegetables, healthy fats and fermented foods to slash symptoms even more.
All data from this article can be found here.