Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, has gained a lot of popularity recently as a health tonic. Proponents claim it’s useful for controlling blood sugar and boosting weight loss, improving digestion, and even reducing systemic inflammation. And while some health claims might be unrealistic — for example, apple cider vinegar won’t do much for serious illnesses, like cancer — apple cider vinegar does have health benefits.
ACV contains vital nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, and E and minerals magnesium, iron, and potassium. Additionally, apple cider vinegar also contains fiber. Apple cider vinegar also contains shreds of the “mother”, a substance that contains yeast, bacteria, and cellulose and which forms as fruit juice ferments into vinegar. These strands of the mother contain healthy probiotics.
Thanks to the nutrients it contains and its acid content, apple cider vinegar can be good for controlling blood sugar, supporting weight loss, and improving digestion. You can even make your salad safer by killing salmonella bacteria on your lettuce. Let’s take a look at the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, and how you can add more of it to your diet.
What can apple cider vinegar do for your health?
Control Blood Sugar
Study participants dined on a bagel with butter and orange juice, then chased it with 20 grams of apple cider vinegar (or a placebo). Those who took the ACV had significantly lowered blood glucose levels when researchers checked them 30 and 60 minutes post-meal.
That doesn’t mean you should throw out your insulin — ACV won’t take the place of blood sugar medication. But it can be a safe and effective part of managing diabetes or pre-diabetes. Just don’t take it if you have kidney disease, as your weakened kidneys may not be able to cope with the excess acid.
Supports Weight Loss
Who doesn’t want to lose weight? Apple cider vinegar won’t take the place of regular exercise and a healthy diet, but if you’re already on a weight loss plan, it might give you the little extra oomph you need to take off those last five or 15 pounds, according to a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods.
Participants ate a reduced-calorie diet that offered 250 calories less than their recommended daily requirement and drank about two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with both lunch and dinner. When compared with the control group, participants who drank apple cider vinegar after eating lunch and dinner lost 3.8 more pounds over a 12-week period, and also came out of the study with lower cholesterol.
Do you suffer from bloating and slow digestion? Apple cider vinegar might help. It’s believed that low stomach acid levels are one factor that contributes to bloating, so eating or drinking apple cider vinegar, or taking supplements like apple cider vinegar gummies, can boost stomach acid levels to relieve bloating and even ease the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease. The probiotics in apple cider vinegar can help keep you regular.
It seems like there’s a new recall on produce, lettuces, and leafy greens every other week these days. But could using an apple cider vinaigrette protect you from salmonella and other bacteria responsible for these recalls? According to research published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology, using apple cider vinegar in your salad dressing can neutralize bacteria found on the lettuce.
Researchers tested this by contaminating arugula with salmonella. Then they dipped the leaves into lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or water. Both lemon juice and apple cider vinegar reduced bacterial growth on the leaves, with apple cider vinegar bringing bacterial presence down to undetectable levels.
Get More ACV in Your Diet
So, how can you get these benefits for yourself? Lots of people drink shots of apple cider vinegar, but be careful — undiluted vinegar can give you a stomachache and ruin your teeth. It’s much better to eat vinegar in foods by adding it to salad dressings, sauces, and marinades.
Apple cider vinegar is an ingredient in many barbecue sauces, and you can also use it to make home-made ketchup. It’s perfect for meat marinades and sauces since the acid breaks down and tenderizes the meat. And for a quick morning pick-me-up, add a tablespoon or two to hot tea with honey, cinnamon, and cardamom, or make a hot toddy with ACV, hot water, honey, and spices.
The bottom line
Apple cider vinegar’s health benefits aren’t entirely a myth. While it can’t treat disease on its own, it can support your journey to better health. What’s more, it can add a tasty, tangy kick to sauces, drinks, and marinades. Be sure to add some apple cider vinegar to your diet today.
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