Top Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar & Side Effects

Apple-Cider-VinegarIf you were to think that apple cider vinegar is a modern day culinary item then you are absolutely wrong and be ready for surprises. People have been using apple cider vinegar for hundreds of years for culinary as well as other household purposes. What is so special about apple cider vinegar and why should it be part of your food? There are number of scientifically proven benefits of apple cider vinegar including but not limited to diabetic treatment, obesity treatment and much more. You might want to know some of the key benefits of apple cider vinegar that are actually backed up by scientific validation.

Acetic Acid – Blessing in Disguise in Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar production involves two stages namely exposure of the fruit pulp to yeast and addition of bacteria culture to the fermented pulp. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24811350)

Yeast is added to crushed apples set the fermentation process in motion. As the fermentation continues, bacteria culture is added to the fermented alcoholic solution which takes the fermentation process to the next level. This changes the alcoholic solution to acetic acid, the major active component of vinegar which results in its sour taste. Besides acetic acid other beneficial components of apple cider vinegar include, loads of friendly bacteria, enzymes and proteins. Before the filtration process, the solution will be cloudy.

The vinegar is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals. However, its calorific value is very low and it does not exceed 3 calories per tablespoon. Apple cider vinegar has very high antioxidant property.

High Antimicrobial Quality of Apple Cider Vinegar

Researches indicate that apple cider vinegar has very high anti-bacterial quality and it can kill many pathogens. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10656352)

For ages people have been using vinegar as a disinfectant and for the treatment of conditions such as nail fungus, warts, ear infections and lice. All these shouldn’t be disregarded as uninformed home remedies because such uses are today scientifically backed. We have references dating back to Hippocrates for the use of vinegar as disinfectant for wounds.

Because of its antimicrobial qualities, apple cider vinegar is used as a natural preservative in number of places. It blocks the growth of malevolent bacteria such as E.coli which is responsible for degradation of food. We have plenty of research data to support this fact. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9713753; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12597475; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15698693; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12380754)

While discussing about the antimicrobial qualities of apple cider vinegar, we cannot forget the use of this vinegar in acne treatment as a home remedy.

Controls Blood Sugar Levels

Apple cider vinegar is found to keep the blood sugar levels under check and found to be useful in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes whereby the condition results in insulin resistance. If the blood sugar levels shoot up among people with no diabetic symptoms, it results in other ageing symptoms and chronic ailments. This is where apple cider vinegar is found to be helpful.

Ample research data is available to support how this vinegar is helpful in stabilizing insulin levels and blood sugar levels. For example, if you go on a high-carb meal, then apple cider vinegar will increase the insulin sensitivity in your body close to 35% and thereby reducing the blood sugar levels. (Source: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.long)

Other interesting scenarios where apple cider vinegar plays a vital role in controlling blood sugar levels include, reduction of blood sugar level by 34% while consuming 50 grams of carbohydrate rich white bread (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7796781); reduction of fasting blood sugars by 4% when 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar is consumed prior to going to bed (Source: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/11/2814.full).

It is also noted that there is a significant reduction of blood sugar responses by increasing the insulin sensitivity during meal time. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20068289; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9630389; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16034360; http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/30/11/2814.full.pdf; https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bbb1961/52/5/52_5_1311/_pdf; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1750-3841.12434/full)

If you are required to work with your body’s insulin and blood sugar dynamics, then apple cider can help you regardless of whether you have diabetes or not. It is however important to consult your physician before self-prescribing apple cider vinegar as any form of diabetes control treatment.

Effective Weight Loss Agent

Do you know vinegar can make you feel full when you use it with your meal and reduce your food consumption by 250 calories in the subsequent meals? Vinegar has high satiation qualities thereby you tend to eat less because you feel less hungry. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16015276; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16321601)

People who consumed 15ml of vinegar daily lost as high as 1.2 kg and those who consumed 30ml of vinegar daily lost up to 1.7kg (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661687). Even though apple cider vinegar has positive impact on your body fat and weight loss, you need to take a holistic approach with your weight loss diet. Apple cider vinegar alone could not get you the desired weight loss results when you do not cut down on your fat consumption and on your calorie consumption. However, it is found to have very high level of satiation capabilities.

Heart Disease Risks Reduced

According to WHO heart diseases constitute the world’s highest death causing factor. (Source: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/). When conducted experiments with rats, research shows that apple cider vinegar reduces the cholesterol level and triglyceride levels. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16611381; https://authoritynutrition.com/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar/)

The anti-oxidant properties of apple cider vinegar is also responsible for preventing the oxidization of the cholesterol particles which when unchecked could result in heart diseases (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8068036; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20387813).

All these experiments are conducted on rats. Human testing is yet to be performed except for an observational inference from Harvard which talks of reduced risk of heart disease with a woman who included vinegar in her salad dressings. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10232627). All these researches could only go to the extent of indicative association which could not be considered a good enough proof.

Anti-carcinogen Properties

Vinegar has the potential to destroy cancer cells and also thwart tumor growth. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15489210/; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630262/; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630260/; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15149153/)

It needs to be borne in mind that these tests were conducted either on non-human subjects or on isolated cells. Live human testing is pending these tests. One cannot therefore blindly buy the disproportionate hype regarding the anti-carcinogen properties of vinegar.

There are various indicative studies that point us to the direction that apple cider vinegar could destroy cancer cells.

Are there any side effects in using Apple Cider Vinegar?

Even though apple cider vinegar has number of health benefits, we cannot and should not use it indiscreetly. Whatever you come across online including the most convincing hypes, should be taken with a grain of salt.

You can safely experiment various qualities of apple cider vinegar. No major side effects are reported provided the consumption level remains to sane levels. It could be safely used in cooking, for your salad dressings and in any other way you see appropriate. It is not uncommon to see it being used as beverage in diluted form. It is recommended that your consumption does not go beyond 30ml per day.

Apple cider vinegar is available in the form of pills but it is not a recommended way to consume this product as they do not contain true vinegar and hence questionable. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15983536).

Apple cider vinegar has number of uses in the cosmetology as well such as hair care, skin care, dental health and more. If you are looking for chemical free cosmetic treatments then you should include apple cider vinegar in your beauty care products.

There are countless benefits to apple cider vinegar both known and unknown. It is safe to use apple cider vinegar and it is healthy too as long as its dosage is kept under control.

Some more interesting facts about Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar Has Over 2000 Years Of History 

If you have been thinking that apple cider vinegar is an ingredient of modern day cooking then you are wrong. We have evidences that indicate the use of fermented apple juice which turns into vinegar even before 5000 BC. The uses and benefits of Apple cider vinegar are constantly being explored and it is effective in stimulating blood circulation, detox and purification needs of blood and liver. It is also extremely effective in the lymph nodes. Apple cider vinegar is also found to increase the overall immune system of the body. There are also records that show that Hippocrates, father of medicine used it as a regular prescription to coughs and colds, blended with honey.

Made Through Regular Fermentation Process

Apple cider vinegar is also produced like the other fermented drinks that are known to us such as wine, kefir or kombucha. Active yeast is used to ferment apple juice. Unlike the other fermented drinks, sugar is not added separately to the mix but the sugar content of apple itself supports the fermentation process. Like it happens with other fermented drinks, the fermentation process is kicked in when the yeast starts acting on the sugar releasing healthy bacterial growth. It has to be noted here that apples to be used for the production of vinegar need to be selected with care and only certified organic apples are to be used if the vinegar is to be prescribed for therapeutic purposes.

The fermentation process does not include pasteurization process as it could destroy the benefits of the vinegar by stripping the vinegar of its nutrient and enzymes that are beneficial. The unhealthy bacterial growth is kept under check by the acidity content of the fermenting vinegar. Fully processed vinegar will have acetic acid which contributes to most of the beneficial qualities of apple cider vinegar.

Establishing The Quality Of The Apple Cider Vinegar

If you are seeing some shady strings in your apple cider vinegar then you should know that the apple cider vinegar is of good quality because these strands host live yeast and beneficial bacteria. You need these beneficial bacteria to give you the positive benefits of apple cider vinegar that we have been discussing above.

Low calories and sugar

You will be surprised to learn that the apple cider vinegar has just 3 to 5 calories per spoon. Even more interestingly, the sugar level of apple cider vinegar is very low because all the sugar is consumed by the yeast during the fermentation process. Not only that, the solution is used to control blood sugar levels and the risks of diabetes or hypoglycemia are kept at bay.

Anti-microbial Qualities

One of the known and very common uses of apple cider vinegar comes from its anti-microbial qualities. It is used to control fungal growth. It kills malevolent bacteria and other harmful elements that result infections. It was used for cleansing body and also homes in the past. The anti-fungal and anti-infection use of apple cider vinegar continues even today.

Mother in the Apple Cider Vinegar

Like all the other products, you will find variety of grades from bad, not so good, very good to extremely good quality apple cider vinegar. If you are planning to buy apple cider vinegar then you need to get it raw along with the “mother”. This ensures that all the benevolent compounds of apple cider vinegar are intact. Look for apple cider vinegar in its most natural form. It is best if it has cloudy strands which is called the “mother” in apple cider vinegar.

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