Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made via a two-step process. First, the manufacturer exposes crushed apples to yeast, which ferments the sugars and turns them into alcohol. Next, they add bacteria to further ferment the alcohol, turning it into acetic acid which is the main active compound in vinegar.
Acetic acid gives vinegar its strong sour smell and flavor. Researchers believe this acid is responsible for apple cider vinegar’s health benefits. Cider vinegars are 5–6% acetic acid.
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains a substance called “mother”, which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance.
The “mother” is a cobweb-like amino acid-based substance found in unprocessed, unfiltered vinegar, indicates your vinegar is of the best quality. Most manufacturers pasteurize and filter their vinegar to prevent the mother from forming, but the “murky” kind is actually best.
Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is easily one of the most economical and versatile remedies around. I recommend keeping it in your home at all times. Some of the health benefits associated with apple cider vinegar include:
- Blood sugar control – Vinegar is said to be anti-glycemic and has a beneficial effect on your blood sugar, likely due to its acetic acid content. Acetic acid prevents the complete digestion of complex carbohydrates. Another theory is that vinegar helps inactivate digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates into sugar, thus slowing the conversion of complex carbohydrate into sugar and preventing a spike by giving you more time to pull sugar out of your blood. A small study suggests vinegar may improve insulin sensitivity by 19–34% during a high carb meal and significantly lower blood sugar and insulin response. In another small study in 5 healthy people, vinegar reduced blood sugar by 31.4% after eating 50 grams of white bread.
- Apple cider vinegar can improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels after meals. There are studies supporting the use of vinegar as a diabetic treatment. One study found vinegar treatment improved insulin sensitivity in 19 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes and 34 percent of those with prediabetes. One study with diabetics reported that consuming 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime reduced fasting blood sugar by 4% the following morning.
- Heart health – Polyphenols such as chlorogenic acid help inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol and acetic acid helps lower blood pressure. Vinegar has also been shown to lower triglyceride levels and VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) cholesterol in animals.
- Weight management – Vinegar may aid weight loss by increasing satiety, another effect attributed to acetic acid. When volunteers consumed a small amount of vinegar along with a high-carb meal (a bagel and juice) they consumed less food for the remainder of the day. The reduction equated to about 200 to 275 calories a day.Furthermore, a study in 175 people with obesity showed that daily apple cider vinegar consumption led to reduced belly fat and weight loss:
- taking 1 tablespoon (12 mL) led to a loss of 2.6 pounds
- taking 2 tablespoons (30 mL) led to a loss of 3.7 pounds
- Sinus congestion – Apple cider vinegar’s ability to break up and reduce mucus in your body can help clear your sinuses. It also has antibacterial properties, making it useful for infections. Here’s what to do: Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm filtered water. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Using a neti pot, pour the mixture into one nostril at a time, while plugging the other nostril with the other hand.
- Sore throat – The antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar may be useful for sore throats as well. Gargle with a mixture of about one-third cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water as needed.
- Digestive ailments – Acid reflux typically results from a lack of stomach acid. You can easily improve the acid content of your stomach by taking 1 tablespoon of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a large glass of water daily. The pectin in apple cider vinegar may also help to soothe intestinal spasms. For everyday gut health, a mixture of 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup in 1 cup of warm water can help.
- Skin irritations and warts – Apple cider vinegar is a common remedy for skin conditions like dry skin and eczema. The skin is naturally slightly acidic. Using topical apple cider vinegar could help rebalance the natural pH of the skin, improving the protective skin barrier. Given its antibacterial properties, apple cider vinegar can help prevent skin infections linked to eczema and other skin conditions. Some people use diluted apple cider vinegar in a facewash or toner. The idea is that it can kill bacteria and prevent spots.People have traditionally used vinegar for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, and ear infections.Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar to clean wounds more than 2,000 years ago.
Apple cider vinegar also works for a variety of skin ailments, from bug bites and poison ivy to sunburn and even warts. You can either apply it directly to the irritated area or try soaking in a bath with about 1 cup of vinegar added. For warts, soak a cotton ball in vinegar and apply it to the wart, covered, overnight. Repeat until the wart disappears.
- Energy boost – Apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes to help with fatigue. Plus, its amino acids may help prevent the buildup of lactic acid in your body, further preventing fatigue.
- Detox and immune support – Studies have shown apple cider vinegar can be beneficial for liver detoxification and helps cleanse your lymphatic system, which can contribute to improved immune system response. According to The Truth About Cancer: “Cider vinegar was … determined to be a strong antimicrobial agent … One of the most fatal bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is resistant to disinfectants but is found to be killed by acetic acid. Especially in patients who are immunosuppressed, apple cider vinegar is an excellent natural antimicrobial tonic to rid of harmful bacteria and provide immune support.”
- Candida – Candida overgrowth in your gut has been linked to many different health issues, including yeast infections, fatigue, poor memory, depression, headaches and sugar cravings. Candida overgrowth usually happens when your body is too acidic from excessive consumption of processed foods or sugar, or if there are insufficient healthy bacteria in your system. Because apple cider vinegar is fermented with a beneficial yeast, it can serve as a prebiotic for healthy bacteria, essentially helping good bacteria grow.
How to Buy
Bragg’s seems to be the most popular option, which is available in most markets. Always buy condiments, including apple cider vinegar, in glass bottles. If you cannot find something in glass. Keep it out of the sun on your way home from the store and transfer it to a glass container.
How to Store
The acidity of the vinegar effectively ensures that no bacteria will grow in it. Plus, vinegar is itself a preservative, which negates any need to preserve it by putting it in the fridge. It is recommended, however, that you store it in a cool place away from direct sunlight to keep the quality and flavor.
To maximize the shelf life of apple cider vinegar, keep the bottle tightly sealed after opening. Properly stored, apple cider vinegar will generally stay edible for about 2 years, but will stay safe indefinitely.
How to Cook
The best way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet is to use it in cooking. It’s a simple addition to foods like salad dressing.
Some people also like to dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage. Common dosages range from 1–2 teaspoons to 1–2 tablespoon per day mixed in a large glass of water.
It’s best to start with small doses and avoid taking large amounts. Too much vinegar can cause harmful side effects, including tooth enamel erosion and potential drug interactions.