It has been used for thousands of years as a home remedy, sometimes in-home cooking too, and was first documented by Egyptians as a weight-loss tool. My sister swears by it because it helped immensely in her weight loss journey by cutting down on her cravings and reducing her appetite. I was introduced to it for the first time in 2014 when I stayed in Pune with my first cousin who is a doctor in the Indian Army. As soon as I had a shot of it I knew; this tastes bad which means it's good for my health.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar as the name suggests is made out of apples using a fermentation process. The apples are combined with yeast which converts the sugar of apples into alcohol; fermenting bacteria are then added to it which converts the alcohol into acetic acid (which is roughly 5% to 6% of ACV).
Along with the acetic acids, ACV contains water, other vitamins, and minerals.
One teaspoon of apple cider vinegar provides a nutritional value of 1 mg calcium, 01.mg iron, 1mg phosphorus, 15mg potassium, and zero calories. ACV lasts a long time without refrigeration as it has an indefinite shelf life. Even if the contents inside your ACV bottle look cloudier with time, it is still okay to consume it. It has no fats, carbohydrates, protein, or fiber. Over the years, it has garnered the status of a “superfood” within the health and fitness community.
Benefits of ACV
The weight loss industry is growing by the billions globally for the simple reason of easy access to unhealthy junk and processed food. These foods are habit-forming and create a craving loop in our minds. Think as soon as you enter a food court, you get a whiff of freshly baked bread from your nearby subway and start to fancy a nice piece of garlic bread with a cheesy dip, a sub sandwich, or fried chicken. It's a vicious cycle because the kind of additives and preservatives used in these food items creates a dependency for us to keep going back to them. Apple Cider Vinegar aids in reducing such cravings thereby reducing the appetite for such foods and supporting weight loss. The caveat here is, it can be achieved only on a good healthy, calorie constricted, home-based natural diet. Do not expect to continue a lifestyle of junk food and having a shot of ACV every morning to shed pounds. It will not happen. Incorporate healthy meals consisting of legumes, fresh vegetables, tofu/paneer, millets, and seeds coupled with apple cider vinegar (one to two teaspoon with honey mixed in warm water to be taken two-three times a day) to see positive results.
Controlling high cholesterol
There are preliminary research studies in mice suggesting consumption of ACV daily reduces triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol) because of its antioxidant properties. Water-soluble pectin found in AVC absorbs fats and cholesterol thus eliminating them from the body.
Apple cider vinegar is taken daily (two tablespoons) has proven to reduce blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. However, one must take care of the dosage if already on diabetic medication as it can drop blood sugar to dangerously low levels.
The acetic acid present in ACV does not allow yeast or fungal infections to grow, hence it is also used as a home remedy to treat hair and scalp issues such as dandruff. Take two tablespoons ACV, mix with one cup of water, and transfer in a spray bottle. Spray this concoction onto your scalp section-wise and let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinse your hair with plain water after.
ACV contains amino acids that neutralize the lactic acid in our bodies and sore muscles. Consuming it on a daily basis helps combat physical as well as mental fatigue & stress. The enzymes present prove to be a good source to relieve any kind of tiredness.
Side Effects & Precautions
- ACV is acidic in nature and it is known to damage your tooth enamel if consumed excessively.
- Lowers potassium level and bone loss if consumed in excessive amounts without a reason.
- Lowers blood sugar level if combined with diabetic medication or insulin, consult with your physician before consumption if you're on diabetes treatment.
- Do not apply it directly to your skin as it is known to cause burns
How to consume it?
Most people can consume ACV on a daily basis in safe amounts without any side effects. For starters, one can -
- Limit their intake and keep it to 5ml - 10ml every day mixed in warm water and honey.
- Consuming it with straw instead of directly introducing it in, will prevent tooth damage
- Intake prior to meals or first thing in the morning for maximum impact
In conclusion, ACV has immense benefits with some side effects (only if consumed excessively or without doctor's supervision); hence one must be aware of why they are consuming this superfood and do it in a limited manner.
Authored by: Padmaja Rai
About the Author: Padmaja is a healthcare consultant and avid fitness enthusiast. She holds a masters' in bio-innovation and rare diseases from University of Pennsylvania. She is a firm believer in ancient Indian holistic healing.