Apple cider vinegar is known as a ‘health elixir’ – but, does it live up to the hype?

Apple cider vinegar is known as a ‘health elixir’ – but, does it live up to the hype?
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(NaturalHealth365) According to a 2014 review published in the Journal of Food Science, vinegar has been around for at least 10,000 years. That’s a pretty long track record.  But, today, we’re going to focus (soley) on the truth behind apple cider vinegar.

Traditionally, vinegar is used as a preservative because of its antimicrobial and antibacterial effects. Apple cider vinegar – fermented from the raw materials of crushed apples – remains one of the most popular varieties, and it’s been claimed to help with everything from unwanted bacteria, obesity and even cancer prevention

But what does modern day science have to say about it? Let’s look at three research-based ways apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help your health.

Apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity

Consuming apple cider vinegar before a carb-heavy meal blunts the sharp rise in blood sugar and insulin that carbohydrates normally elicit. This is according to at least a few studies done on humans and animals. Apple cider vinegar also appears to help the body respond more effectively to insulin, which helps further control blood sugar levels. 

This information is promising. Why? Because high and poorly controlled blood sugar is associated with problems like diabetes, systemic inflammation, joint pain, sugar cravings, weight gain, and “crash and burn” energy levels.

So, if you’re planning to ‘indulge’ with some carbs (especially refined or high-glycemic carbs like pasta or potatoes), you may want to make a toast to your health first with some ACV. 

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Apple cider vinegar gives a boost to heart health

Apple cider vinegar can give you a little heart-healthy boost, especially if you have a personal or family history of hypertension, high cholesterol, or heart disease.

Some research has suggested that consuming apple cider vinegar may lower blood pressure and lower “lousy” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  That said, we know poorly controlled blood sugar is a risk factor for heart disease.

We also know that apple cider vinegar can help control blood sugar. ACV also contains antioxidants like polyphenols, which may inhibit the production of LDL cholesterol.

So, even if we need more research showing apple cider vinegar’s effect on blood pressure and cholesterol, it’s reasonable to say that this type of vinegar could be heart healthy for plenty of other reasons, too. 

Apple cider vinegar can help you ‘chip away’ at excess body weight

If you’re trying to lose some extra pounds, consuming apple cider vinegar before a meal may help.

A 2004 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Trends in Food Science & Technology found that people who drank a mixture containing apple cider vinegar before a meal felt fuller faster. These people ended up eating less throughout the day, which over time translated to weight loss.

Of course, apple cider vinegar is no replacement for a balanced diet and regular exercise. And some critics say that apple cider vinegar can cause stomach upset, which could explain why some people eat less after drinking it.

But if you consume ACV in moderation and include it as part of a healthy active lifestyle, this natural supplement could help you lose more unwanted body weight. 

How to enjoy apple cider vinegar

These days, apple cider vinegar is affordable and readily accessible. This is true even if you’re looking for the organic, raw, and unfiltered variety, complete with the so-called “mother,” a pulp-like substance full of healthy bacteria and enzymes. 

The most convenient way to add apple cider vinegar to your daily diet is to dilute it in a glass of filtered water and simply drink it. This tonic is fine as is, though some people prefer to add a dash of stevia or another natural sweetener to cut the tart flavor. 

If drinking apple cider vinegar tonic isn’t your preference, you can try adding it to homemade salad dressing or mayo instead. 

To avoid issues like indigestion and erosion of teeth enamel, never “shoot” apple cider vinegar straight. Don’t go overboard on your intake, either. 

Start with a small amount, such as 1 to 2 teaspoons per day. If you’re tolerating it well, it’s likely safe to increase your dose to around 1 to 2 tablespoons per day. 

If you have take any medications, check with your doctor first, as apple cider vinegar may interact with certain drugs, including injectable or oral insulin, Lasix (a diuretic), and digoxin (a heart medication).

The current takeaway? Apple cider vinegar offers many health benefits and appears generally safe for most people when consumed in moderation.

Feel free to enjoy a homemade tonic once or twice per day, especially right before a carb-heavy meal. But be sure to chat with your doctor before trying it, especially if you take any prescription medications. 

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