Apple cider vinegar is used in many different ways today, it is often incorporated in cooking to tenderize meat or to add a little bit of bite to a salad dressing. I actually add a splash to boiling water when cooking poached eggs to stop them from separating too much. I’m sure someone at some point in your life has told you that vinegar does this. It is also a preservative and has been used as such for over 2000 years.1
If you have spent any time hunting around in the world of health and wellbeing you’ll have seen it being hailed as quite the superfood, and much more than just a simple culinary addition.
What Exactly Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (also known as ACV) is a vinegar made from a cider or apple ‘must’. Must is the juice that has been squeezed from the fruit and includes the skin and seeds. The vinegar is either kept in its raw form or pasteurised. When it is pasteurised it is clear in colour and when it isn’t it is cloudy in appearance.
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, an acid shown to suppress body fat accumulation, and therefore may be helpful in reducing obesity.
The vinegar is cloudy in appearance because it still contains what is known as ‘the mother’ – in fact you’ll be able to see slightly ‘stringy’ pieces floating around within the vinegar. The mother is made up of strands of proteins, enzymes, and good bacteria. Promoters of the consumption of apple cider vinegar insist on buying brands with the mother as they say this is where all of the health benefits lie. Unfortunately I see no studies to fully support the specific benefits of the mother, nevertheless if you are going to consume something like this, my rule is as long as it isn’t dangerous, the more raw and unprocessed the food the better.
The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Here are 5 amazing health benefits of apple cider vinegar (according to science):
- Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, an acid shown to suppress body fat accumulation, and therefore may be helpful in reducing obesity.2
- Acetic acid has also shown promise with increased absorption of certain minerals such as, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.3
- When produced from crushed apples and fermented, apple cider vinegar acts as an anti-tumour agent and could therefore help to prevent certain cancers.4
- Apple cider vinegar lowers glucose and insulin response even when eating high glycemic foods such as white bread. It also helps with satiety levels.5
- Apple cider vinegar could help to support heart health by helping to prevent oxidisation of LDL (bad) cholesterol.6
From the majority of these studies it seems that acetic acid is the main component associated with all of the health benefits toted by apple cider vinegar.
Regarding anecdotal discussions on the topic, there are lots of interesting experiences with ACV. It is said to help with digestion, today a lot of people suffer from acid reflux or heart burn, and often reach for the over the counter remedies thinking they have an excess of acid. More often than not it is quite the opposite. A lack of stomach acid reduces the pressure that is needed to keep the stomach opening closed, less pressure equals the leaking out of any acid we do have up the oesophagus. A little bit of diluted ACV before a meal could help the stomach do its job.
I would say it is probably best not to drink it neat out of the bottle, first of all it’s not going to taste too delightful that way. Secondly you may damage your tooth enamel or worse still your oesophagus due to the acidity.
Personally I have taken it with a bit of raw honey, cayenne pepper, and hot water to ward off a cold. I’m not entirely sure it did the trick, it felt good, cleansing to a certain extent. Any cold I do get these days is very mild due to my whole foods diet. Every now and again I do take ACV in the morning with hot water before eating anything just to get my digestive system activated. We are often quite dehydrated in the morning, so why not add a little zing to your morning hydration ritual.
If I had digestive stress or insulin resistance I would definitely be experimenting with it much more. I would love to hear if any readers have had success with including apple cider vinegar in their diet.
At the end of the day, we are all very different and it always comes down to the fact that we need to work out what suits us the best. What works for one may not work for another, but sharing the knowledge and science at least gives us a head start.
Have you experienced any health benefits from adding apple cider vinegar to your diet? We’d love to hear your thoughts so why not leave a comment below.
- Johnston, C.S., Gaas, C.A. (2006). Vinegar: Medicinal uses and Antiglycemic effect. In MedGenMed, 2006; 8(2): 61. Retrieved 8 April, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1785201/
- Kondo, T., Kishi, M., Fushimi, T., Ugajin, S., Kaga, T. (2009). Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects. – In Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Aug;73(8):1837-43. Retrieved 8 April, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19661687/
- Kashimura, J., Kimura, M., Itokawa, Y. (1999). The effects of isomaltulose, isomalt, and isomaltulose-based oligomers on mineral absorption and retention. In Biol Trace Elem Res. 1996 Sep;54(3):239-50. Retrieved 8 April, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/8909697/
- Abe, K., Kushibiki, T., Matsue, H., Furukawa, K., Motomura, S. (2008). Generation of antitumor active neutral medium-sized alpha-glycan in apple vinegar fermentation. In Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Sep;71(9):2124-9. Retrieved 8 April, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/17827702/
- Ostman, E., Granfeldt, Y., Persson, L., Björck, I. (2000). Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects. In European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005 Sep;59(9):983-8. Retrieved 8 April, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/16015276/
- Budak, N.H., Aykin, E., Seydim, A.C., Greene, A.K., Guzel-Seydim, Z.B. (2014). Functional properties of vinegar. In Journal of Food Science, 79(5), pp. R757–R764. Retrieved 8 April, 2016 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1750-3841.12434/full