ACV is something we all know; if not tried, then we heard about it. You will find this bottle of wellness in every fitness enthusiast's cabinet; in the form of shots or gummies (the latest trend).
For thousands of years, it was used as a home remedy, sometimes in-home cooking too. Egyptians first documented it 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. For the first time in 2014, I was introduced to it when I stayed in Pune with my first cousin, 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 is then added to it, which converts the alcohol into acetic acid (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 and various health benefits. 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 fibre. Over the years, it has garnered a "superfood" status within the health and fitness community.
Unfiltered and organic apple cider vinegar consists of a substance called mother, which contains strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give apple cider vinegar a murky appearance.
Some folks believe that the mother is responsible for most of its health benefits; however, there are currently no studies to support this claim.
While apple cider vinegar does not contain many vitamins or minerals, it offers traces of potassium. Good quality and brand of apple cider vinegar will also have some vitamins and antioxidants.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
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 eating junk food and having an ACV shot every morning to shed belly fat and reduce obesity. It will not happen. Incorporate healthy meals consisting of legumes, fresh vegetables, tofu/paneer, millets, and seeds. Consume apple cider vinegar (one to two teaspoon with honey mixed in warm water two-three times a day) to see a drop in body weight.
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, which eventually maintains heart health. Water-soluble pectin found in AVC absorbs fats and cholesterol, thus eliminating them from the body.
Controlling Blood sugar
Apple cider vinegar consumed daily (two tablespoons) has proven to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, one must take care of the dosage if already on diabetic medication to 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 every day helps combat physical and mental fatigue & stress and keeps the immune system functioning at an optimum level. The enzymes present prove to be an excellent source to relieve any tiredness.
It can help kill harmful bacteria
Vinegar, at times, can help kill harmful pathogens and bacteria.
It has been traditionally used for cleaning and disinfecting because of its antibacterial properties and antimicrobial properties. It used in treating nail fungus, lice, warts, and ear infections, and sore throat.
The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, used vinegar to clean wounds more than 2,000 years ago. It is also a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria like E. coli from growing in and spoiling food. Apple cider vinegar could help in naturally preserving food for an extended period.
Some reports suggest that diluted apple cider vinegar may help with some skin conditions such as acne when applied to the skin in undiluted forms, but there isn't substantial research to confirm this.
Overall Health Benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar
It helps control blood sugar level
It is antibacterial and prevents infections
May aid in weight loss by changing how gut bacteria process fat
It May help reduce high blood pressure if consumed in controlled amounts daily
Reduces high levels of cholesterol
Regulates body PH
Improves heart health and prevent heart diseases
It helps reduce swelling of the vagina in vaginitis
Helps in achieving clear skin
Help treat acidity and indigestion
Side Effects & Precautions
- ACV is acidic, and it is known to damage your tooth enamel if consumed excessively.
Lowers potassium level and bone loss if consumed in excessive amounts without reason.
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 use apple cider vinegar?Most people can consume ACV daily 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 a straw instead of directly introducing it will prevent tooth damage.
- Intake before meals or first thing in the morning for maximum impact
- One can even consume it in the form of salad dressings mixed with olive oil
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.