You may have heard some of the claimed benefits of drinking Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV as it's known). However, to get these benefits you must be using the right ACV - which you won't find in your average supermarket. We believe that the best ACV is the one produced by Bragg, one of the oldest brands of ACV in the market. But what is ACV and why does it have so many benefits? Hopefully we will explain this below.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from apple must. You get apple must when you crush whole apples, including the skin, stem, and seeds. The apple must is then taken through the process of fermentation and oxygenation. This process converts the sugar in the apples to alcohol. With oxygenation, this alcohol gets converted to acetic acid, which is the source of the benefits and value for health and wellbeing. This value is retained in cider vinegar only if it is made by following the right process, and is marketed as the "mother" of vinegar.
So, the first thing you need to look out for is that your ACV is made with the 'mother'. However, there are three other important factors to consider:
- Unpasteurised. Your apple cider vinegar should be unpasteurised. Pasteurisation is heating, which is used to kill harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, this also kills all the good bacteria as well. This is why we need unpasteurised ACV.
- Unfiltered. Unfiltered cider vinegar ensures that it contains the "mother" of vinegar. The mother is the grainy, muddy substance that settles at the bottom of the bottle. If you shake the bottle, it will float. This is the essence of cider vinegar. This is where the enzymes are stored, which give you the health benefits.
- Organic. Whilst this is not essential, it is good to know that you are buying vinegar made from certified organic apples. This means they are pesticide free and contain natural sugar. Also, the companies that use organic apples are also likely to follow the right process for making it.
The benefits of ACV
The internet is full of so-called 'experts' promoting the benefits of ACV and claiming it will solve all manner of ills. Many of these need to be treated with care, but the good news is there is plenty of evidence for the following main benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar.
But first a word of caution: ACV is an acid so you can burn your esophagus if you don't take it in the right way. Always dilute ACV with water - roughly 1 tablespoon of ACV to a glass of water. Drinking with a straw will also minimise contact with your taste buds, which will help with the somewhat unpleasant taste. Adding a spoonful of Manuka honey gives you more nutrients and improves the taste.
1. Lowers blood sugar levels and helps fight diabetes
By far the most successful application of vinegar to date, is in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, elevated blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don’t have diabetes… it is believed to be a major cause of ageing and various chronic diseases.
So, pretty much everyone should benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels stable. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to have several benefits for insulin function and blood sugar levels, which can all be backed up by research.
For these reasons, vinegar can be useful for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or those who want to keep their blood sugar levels low to normal for other reasons.
2. Improves digestion and helps weight loss
Given that vinegar lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight. Several studies suggest that vinegar can increase the feeling of being full, which helps you eat less and in turn will assist you in losing weight.
Overall, it seems like apple cider vinegar may be useful as a weight loss aid, mainly by promoting satiety and lowering glucose and insulin levels.
But it won’t work any miracles on its own!
3. Lowers cholesterol and reduces your risk of heart disease
Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) is currently the world’s biggest cause of death. It is known that several measurable biological factors are linked to either a decreased or increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Several of these “risk factors” have been shown to be improved by vinegar consumption. There are also some studies showing that vinegar reduces blood pressure (a major risk factor). But this type of study can only show an association, it can not prove that the vinegar caused anything.
Various other benefits can be attributed to Apple Cider Vinegar, but these are not necessarily backed up by any scientific research:
- Treats varicose veins
- Prevents osteoporosis
- Cures psoriasis
- Soothes tired muscles, removes stiffness of muscles
- Strengthens bones and teeth
- Builds strong immune system
- Works are anti-aging for skin
- Gives shine to hair, removes dandruff and promotes hair growth
Just because there is no proof it doesn't mean to say it won't work for you. So go ahead and give a spoonful of Apple Cider Vinegar a try for a week or so a go and see what happens. Let us know what you think too!