Despite its recent surge in popularity, the extensive list of apple cider (AC) vinegar benefits has been well-known for centuries. It’s been shown to keep blood sugar in check, amp up weight loss and even improve the appearance of acne and scarring.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR VS APPLE CIDER?
So what distinguishes apple cider from apple cider vinegar and can they be used interchangeably?
Apple cider is made from fresh pressed apples. It’s similar to apple juice but it’s not filtered or processed in the same way.
Apple cider vinegar is actually made from apple cider that has been fermented by yeast and bacteria, which turns the sugars into alcohol. It then undergoes a second fermentation process in which the alcohol is converted into acetic acid. This fermentation process accounts for the many health benefits of apple cider vinegar and is the reason why it is able to lower cholesterol, keep blood sugar levels stable and relieve acid reflux.
Normal apple cider, on the other hand, may taste great but doesn’t provide the same wealth of benefits.
6 APPLE CIDER VINEGAR BENEFITS
1. Regulates blood sugar levels
The ability of apple cider vinegar to help maintain normal blood sugar levels is one of its most well-studied benefits.
In one study, AC vinegar consumption was found to decrease blood sugar levels by an average of 31% after eating white bread. It may also increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting sugar from the blood to the tissues (where it can be used as fuel). Poor insulin sensitivity can cause insulin resistance, which reduces the ability of sugar to move to the tissues, so it builds up in the blood, leading to high blood sugar and diabetes.
A study in Diabetes Care showed that AC vinegar ingestion helped significantly improve insulin sensitivity by up to 34% in those with either type 2 diabetes / insulin resistance.
To keep blood sugar levels stable, try diluting 1-2 tablespoons of AC vinegar in 1 cup of water and drink before meals. Additionally, be sure to moderate carbohydrate intake, increase your consumption of fibre and protein foods and get in plenty of regular physical activity to drop blood sugar levels even more.
2. Enhances weight loss
There is a ton of research out there confirming the benefits of AC vinegar for weight loss. In one study, consuming just 2 tablespoons/day over 12 weeks resulted in nearly 1.8kg of weight loss with no other modifications to diet or lifestyle.
Studies show that AC vinegar may also increase satiety, which can help reduce intake and amp up weight loss. In fact, one study showed that drinking AC vinegar actually decreased total caloric intake by up to 275 calories over the course of the day.
However, just because AC vinegar benefits weight loss doesn’t mean that it should be used as a quick fix all on its own. In fact, if just drinking it alone, the amount of AC vinegar weight loss will be minimal. To really see results, be sure to use it in combination with a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
3. Lowers cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that can build up in the arteries, causing them to narrow and harden. High blood cholesterol puts a strain on your heart, forcing it to work harder to push blood throughout the body.
AC vinegar can promote heart health by helping to keep cholesterol levels low. An animal study out of Iran showed that supplementing rats with AC vinegar was able to reduce bad LDL cholesterol while also increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol.
Besides including a tablespoon or 2 of AC vinegar in your diet each day, other ways to lower cholesterol fast include minimizing your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, including a good variety of healthy fats in your diet and eating a few servings of fish per week.
4. Improves skin health
AC vinegar doesn’t just affect your internal health; it has also been shown to treat acne and reduce scarring. Certain strains of bacteria often contribute to the development of acne. AC vinegar is well-known for its antibacterial properties and has been shown to be effective against many strains of harmful bacteria.
AC vinegar also contains specific components like acetic acid, lactic acid, succinic acid and citric acid, all of which have been shown to inhibit the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, the specific strain of bacteria responsible for causing acne.
These beneficial components may also reduce scarring. A study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology showed that treating acne scars with lactic acid for three months led to improvements in the texture, pigmentation and appearance of treated skin as well as a lightening of scars.
Adding some probiotic foods into your diet, using healing masks and toners and keeping your skin well-moisturized are some other effective home remedies for acne as well.
5. Reduces blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. It forces the heart to work harder, causing the heart muscle to weaken and deteriorate over time.
AC vinegar benefits your blood pressure levels, helping to keep your heart healthy and strong. An animal study in Japan showed that giving rats acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, resulted in reduced levels of blood pressure. Another animal study had similar findings, demonstrating that AC vinegar effectively blocked the actions of a specific enzyme that raises blood sugar.
Other natural ways to lower blood pressure include increasing your intake of magnesium and potassium, upping your fibre intake and swapping the salt and processed foods for whole foods.
6. Relieves symptoms of acid reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD or acid reflux, is a condition characterized by acid backflow from the stomach up into the esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn, belching and nausea.
Acid reflux is often a result of having low levels of stomach acid. If this is the case for you, drinking AC vinegar may help provide relief from acid reflux symptoms by introducing more acid into the digestive tract to prevent acid backflow.
For best results, dilute 1-2 tablespoons of AC vinegar in 1 cup of water and drink just before eating. Additionally, remember to follow an acid reflux diet rich in vegetables, healthy fats and fermented foods to slash symptoms even more.
Although apple cider vinegar is healthy and safe for most people, consuming large amounts can lead to some negative effects on health. These may include erosion of tooth enamel, burning of the throat or skin and decreased levels of potassium.
Be sure to always dilute AC vinegar in water instead of drinking it straight to prevent negative side effects. You should also start with a low dose and work your way up to assess your tolerance.
If you’re taking blood sugar medications, talk to your doctor first before using AC vinegar. Because AC vinegar may help reduce blood sugar levels, you may need to modify your dosage of diabetes medications to prevent hypoglycemia symptoms.
Finally, while there are a wide range of apple cider vinegar uses, it shouldn’t be viewed as a quick fix or cure when it comes to your health. Instead, it should be paired with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle to really see results.
Source: Link, R. 20 Unique Apple Cider Vinegar Uses + 6 Major Health Benefits. Dr Axe Food is Medicine. Available at https://draxe.com/apple-cider-vinegar-uses/. March 2018.