Apple cider vinegar, or ACV for short, is a type of vinegar made from fermented apples. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of health issues, ranging from digestion to weight loss. In recent years, ACV has gained popularity as a superfood due to its potential health benefits. In this article, we will explore 10 remarkable benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar is, how ACV is made, and how to incorporate it into your diet.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting crushed apples with yeast and bacteria, turning the sugars into alcohol. The alcohol then undergoes a second fermentation process, which turns it into acetic acid, the main active ingredient in ACV. This process also creates other beneficial compounds, such as probiotics and enzymes, that contribute to its potential health benefits.
Apple cider vinegar has a strong, sour taste and can be consumed in a variety of ways, such as diluted in water or used as a salad dressing. It is important to note that not all apple cider vinegar is created equal. Look for organic, unfiltered ACV with the “mother” still intact, as this contains the beneficial bacteria and enzymes.
10 Remarkable Health Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking apple cider vinegar can provide a multitude of benefits, including improved digestion, weight loss, heart health, immune system support, better skin health, blood sugar control, stronger bones, mental health benefits, reduced inflammation, and improved hair health.
- Helps with Digestion
One of the most well-known benefits of apple cider vinegar is its ability to aid digestion. The acetic acid in ACV can help stimulate the production of digestive enzymes, which can improve the breakdown of food and absorption of nutrients. It may also help balance the pH levels in the stomach, reducing the risk of acid reflux and heartburn.
- May Help with Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar may also aid in weight loss efforts. Studies have shown that consuming ACV can increase feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake, leading to weight loss over time. It may also help regulate blood sugar levels, which can reduce cravings and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Improves Heart Health
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar may also have potential benefits for heart health. It has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. ACV may also help lower blood pressure, although more research is needed in this area.
- May Boost Immune System
The probiotics and enzymes found in apple cider vinegar may also have immune-boosting properties. They can help stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections and diseases. Additionally, the acetic acid in ACV has antimicrobial properties, which can help kill harmful bacteria and viruses.
- May Improve Skin Health
Apple cider vinegar can also be used topically to improve skin health. Its antibacterial properties can help reduce acne and other skin infections. It can also help balance the pH levels of the skin, which can improve overall skin health and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
- May Improve Blood Sugar Control
Several studies have shown that consuming apple cider vinegar before meals can help improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance. It may also improve insulin sensitivity, which can help lower blood sugar levels.
- May Improve Bone Health
ACV contains several minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are important for bone health. Consuming ACV may help improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- May Improve Mental Health
ACV has been shown to have potential benefits for mental health. It may help reduce stress and anxiety levels by regulating cortisol levels in the body. Additionally, some animal studies have shown that consuming ACV may improve cognitive function.
- May Reduce Inflammation
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. This may help improve symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
- May Improve Hair Health
Apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural hair conditioner. Its acidic properties can help remove build-up from hair products and improve the overall health of the hair. It may also help reduce dandruff and improve scalp health.
How to make apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made from apple cider or apple juice that has undergone fermentation to convert its natural sugars into vinegar. Here are the general steps to make apple cider vinegar:
- Select apples: Choose fresh apples with no bruises or brown spots.
- Wash and chop: Rinse the apples and chop them into small pieces.
- Crush: Crush the apples using a food processor or a cider press to extract the juice.
- Ferment: Pour the apple juice into a glass jar or a barrel and add yeast to kickstart fermentation. Cover the jar with a cheesecloth to allow air circulation and prevent dust and insects from getting in. Store the jar in a warm, dark place for at least a month, stirring the mixture daily to promote fermentation.
- Second fermentation: Once the apple cider has fermented into hard cider, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth to remove the solids and pour it back into the jar. Cover the jar and let it sit for another 3-4 weeks to allow the alcohol to turn into acetic acid.
- Age: Once the apple cider vinegar has formed, you can age it for several months or even years to develop its flavour and complexity.
- Bottle: After aging, strain the apple cider vinegar one more time and store it in sterilized bottles or jars.
The final product should be a tangy, acidic vinegar with a distinct apple flavour.
How to Incorporate Apple Cider Vinegar into Your Diet
There are many ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet. Here are a few ideas:
- Mix one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with water and drink before meals to aid digestion and reduce appetite.
- Use apple cider vinegar as a salad dressing, mixed with olive oil, herbs, and spices.
- Add apple cider vinegar to marinades for meat or vegetables to tenderize and add flavour.
- Use apple cider vinegar as a substitute for other vinegars in recipes for a tangy, acidic flavour.
While apple cider vinegar has many potential health benefits, it should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment. If you have any underlying health conditions
Side effects of apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is generally safe to consume for most people when taken in moderate amounts, however, excessive consumption or misuse may lead to some potential side effects, including:
- Tooth enamel erosion: The high acidity of apple cider vinegar can erode tooth enamel and increase the risk of tooth decay and sensitivity.
- Digestive issues: Excessive consumption of apple cider vinegar may cause digestive discomfort, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhoea.
- Interaction with medications: Apple cider vinegar may interact with some medications, including insulin and diuretics, affecting their efficacy, or increasing the risk of hypokalaemia (low potassium levels).
- Skin irritation: Undiluted apple cider vinegar may cause skin irritation, burning, and itching, especially in people with sensitive skin.
- Reduced bone density: Chronic consumption of high amounts of apple cider vinegar may lead to reduced bone density due to the high acetic acid content.
- Low potassium levels: Excessive consumption of apple cider vinegar may decrease potassium levels in the blood, leading to symptoms such as muscle weakness, fatigue, and abnormal heart rhythms.
It is important to dilute apple cider vinegar with water or other fluids and consume it in moderation. People with pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, digestive disorders, or osteoporosis, should consult their healthcare provider before consuming apple cider vinegar regularly.