Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a type of vinegar made from apple with a long history of use in traditional medicine. It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Yeast and bacteria are then added to the extracted liquid to go through series of fermentation processes that convert sugars to alcohols, and subsequently, alcohols to acids (mainly malic and acetic acid – gives vinegar its sour taste). For decades, apple cider vinegar has been used for numerous household remedies, and this is in addition to its use in cooking.
The healing properties of apple cider vinegar come from no place other than its rich nutritional composition. It is filled with probiotics, enzymes, acetic acid, malic acid, magnesium, potassium, polyphenols, and much more. Many researches have proven polyphenols to have preventive roles in cases of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disorders, cancers, and diabetes. The acetic acid in ACV is effective at managing bacteria – in the sense that it kills off the bad bacteria, and encourages the proliferation of the good ones. Due to these effects and many more, apple cider vinegar has the following health benefits/medicinal uses:
- Fights diabetes
Apple cider vinegar has been proven by a lot of researches to have an anti-glycemic effect, and thus helps lowers blood sugar level. This is particularly important in patients with type-2 diabetes (insulin resistance). A particular research published in the journal of diabetes by American diabetes association in 2004, proved this claim. The research showed “how vinegar improved insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type-2 diabetes.
As researches have proved, this anti-diabetic effect is traced to the presence of acetic acid in ACV. Hence, the consumption of apple cider vinegar can be very helpful for those with diabetes, and even those willing to keep their blood sugar level at control. However, as a diabetic already on prescription, you must consult a health care professional for adequate advice before embarking upon the use of ACV.
- Weight loss
Yes! Apple cider vinegar has been proven by numerous scientific researches to help in weight loss. This has been linked to its satiating effect – meaning it makes you satisfied by eating less food, thus, reducing the total amount of food eaten. This satiating effect is in addition to ACV’s action in lowering blood sugar and insulin levels, which can typically make you lose weight.
- Lowers risk of heart diseases
Consumption of apple cider vinegar has been proven by many scientific researches to improve heart health. The journal of food science stated how polyphenols contained in vinegar such as chlorogenic acid could inhibit the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins, and improves overall health by preventing the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. As stated by the WHO, cardiovascular disease is currently the world’s biggest cause of death.
A study conducted by Kondo S et al, 2001, proved the antihypertensive effects of acetic acid and vinegar on spontaneously hypertensive rats. Another study published in 2011, also showed how vinegar was able to decrease triglyceride levels and VLDLs (very low-desity lipoproteins – a dangerous form of cholesterol) levels in rats. Although rats and humans are different, it is important to note that both are mammals and have similar physiology.
Cancer is among the deadliest diseases in the world. In 2015, about 90.5 million people had cancer (GBD, 2015). This shows why you need to do all that is in your power to prevent this deadly disease. Today, there are numerous published studies that have been trying to prove the protective effects of vinegar against cancer. A research conducted by Nanda K and his colleagues in 2014, showed how vinegar extracted from unpolished rice inhibits the proliferation of human cancer cells. Another research carried out by Shimoji Y et al, 2004, also made use of vinegar extracts from rice to stop cancerous growths in rats.
It is important to note that most of the researches carried out to prove the preventive effects against cancer were done with rice vinegar, and not apple cider vinegar, and most of them were carried out on laboratory rats and not human beings. However, we are in a progressing world, and in due time the true effects of apple cider vinegar against cancer will be made known by scientist around the world. Since there are obviously no side effects from the normal consumption of ACV, it should give you more comfort in using it in your diet.
Would you doubt this when “I say the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates actually used vinegar for wound cleaning over twenty centuries ago.” A research conducted by Rutala WA and his colleagues in 2000, confirmed the antimicrobial activity of vinegar against potential human pathogens, including selected antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In ancient medicine, vinegar was used in treating nail fungus and warts. It was also used against ear infections. Today, vinegar is extensively used in food preservation, since it inhibits the growth of most bacteria that causes spoilage (see study). So, if you are seeking a way to naturally preserve your food and prevent spoilage, then vinegar is the way to go.
- Sore throat
There are lots of publications online emphasizing the beneficial effects of ACV on sore throat. In lay a man’s explanation, most germs responsible for sore throat cannot survive in the acidic environment created when apple cider vinegar is consumed. Most home remedy publications online recommend gargling a mixture of ¼ apple cider vinegar with ¼ warm water for every hour or so. So, whenever you feel that prickling sore throat, don’t hesitate to use ACV to wind it off.
- Prevents indigestion
According to Readers Digest, consuming ACV before eating helps in preventing indigestion. A folk remedy they suggested is to add a teaspoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar to a warm glass of water, and consume 30 minutes prior to eating.
Apple cider vinegar is good for the skin, as it restores that lost acidity and provides an unfavourable environment for the growth of bacteria. In addition to killing bacteria, it removes excess dirt, oil, and dead cells from the skin. The malic and lactic acids found in ACV exfoliate the skin, and reduce the red spot formed by acne. Erica Scime from MindBodyGreen shared how she cured her acne with apple cider vinegar – read article here.
Apple cider vinegar is one thing you shouldn’t exempt from your home. It has a lot of home remedies you wouldn’t want to miss. It is often used in treating bad breath, whitening teeth, fading bruises, alleviating leg cramps, getting rid of dandruff, boosting energy, clearing stuffy nose, killing toenail fungus, killing warts, fighting allergies, soothing sunburns, treat acid reflux and heartburns, and detoxifying the body.
However, there are little scientific evidences that support most of the aforementioned claims. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make any significant difference since there are little or no side effects in the use of apple cider vinegar.