We’ve all bought or tasted apple juice in our lives and know how pleasant it feels, as well as how healthy it can be if consumed regularly. A less known fact is that when adding yeast to this type of juice, you actually manage to turn the sugar in this drink into alcohol, thus obtaining the famous apple cider vinegar. This process is called fermentation and, in this case, it results in the famous apple cider vinegar that you can find in many supermarkets around the world.
Apple cider vinegar has an interesting array of ingredients, such as acetic acid, malic, lactic and citric acids, as well as bacteria. But are there any health benefits to apple cider vinegar? The most common of its uses has been a home remedy to treat many health issues, as well as a natural preservative and disinfectant.
There is evidence that promotes apple cider vinegar as a great health aid in many conditions and afflictions. Its vitamin composition is very much similar to that of the regular apple juice, making it pretty rich in B vitamins and polyphenols. Apples are, after all, at the core of both apple juice and apple cider vinegar, enriching them both with healthy nutrients.
Having said this, apple cider vinegar is impressive when it comes to the nutrients it packs. When drinking it, you can expect to benefit from antioxidants, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and amino acids – all this while having only 3 calories per tablespoon.
Although more research is required, it’s recommended that we consider the health claims already made for this now popular product around the home:
1. May Help With Belly Aches
One of the most popular uses for apple cider vinegar is to treat uncomfortable tummy issues. It’s been passed on from generation to generation that if you sip apple cider vinegar mixed with water, you may alleviate the symptoms of an upset stomach. It’s also been claimed that apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that will do you a world of good if you present symptoms of a bacterial infection or of diarrhea.
On top of this, it’s also been said that one of its components, pectin, may soothe intestinal spasms. Of course, if your symptoms are severe or still persist after ingesting apple cider vinegar, it’s recommended that you see a doctor that can point to a more complete treatment.
2. It May Reduce Cholesterol Levels
A study conducted on rats in 2006, Dietary acetic acid reduces serum cholesterol and triacylglycerols in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet, analyzed the effects that dietary acetic acid, the main component in apple cider vinegar, had on them. This study showed that the rats that were administered apple cider vinegar did show a modest drop in cholesterol levels.
However it’s indicated that you consult your doctor before settling on a dosage of apple cider vinegar, especially if you’re suffering from heart conditions. Although these studies were conducted on rats, the results indicate that more research should be done on humans too. Having said this, cholesterol levels are nothing to play with, so be sure to ask for professional advice before following any kind of treatment.
3. It May Decrease Blood Sugar Levels
Another study conducted on rats also showed that this home remedy also has a positive impact in reducing blood sugar levels. It’s been shown that consuming apple cider vinegar can have a positive impact in preventing diabetes, so it’s recommended that you introduce it in your lifestyle, especially if you have a history of diabetes running in the family.
A study, Vinegar Ingestion at Bedtime Moderates Waking Glucose Concentrations in Adults With Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes, showed that if you have trouble regulating your blood sugar levels and are fasting, by ingesting apple cider vinegar you can actually positively impact these levels.
The benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar before bed also manifest in terms of lowering blood sugar levels, which is especially beneficial to those suffering from diabetes.
However diabetes is a serious disease and treatment needs to be coupled with the recommended diet, as well as with moderate exercising, in order to safely keep blood sugar levels under control. Always talk to your doctor first if you suffer from diabetes and would like to also try home remedies, such as apple cider vinegar, as a supplement to your regular medication.
4. It May Boost Weight Loss
Weight loss is currently present on many people’s lips and there’s an entire industry developed around it. Gyms and workout programs, as well as pharmaceutical and organic supplements are all there to help boost weight loss for those interested.
Apple cider vinegar has also made a name for itself in boosting weight loss, especially after one randomized clinical trial, Beneficial effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on weight management, Visceral Adiposity Index and lipid profile in overweight or obese subjects receiving restricted calorie diet: A randomized clinical trial, showed modest weight loss in the participants that consumed it.
To go in greater detail, the participants drank a total of two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with lunch and dinner over a period of 12 weeks, while also having a restricted diet, in terms of calories. They lost an average of 8.8 lbs during this time, compared to people who were not administered apple cider vinegar at all and who lost only 5 lbs over the 12 weeks.
The results are modest and more research is needed, so it’s not recommended that you rely solely on apple cider vinegar for your weight loss plans. On the contrary, a balanced diet is required, as well as moderate exercising after consulting a physician.
5. It May Help Eliminate Bad Breath
As mentioned before, apple cider vinegar is known for its antifungal properties, which made it ideal as part of a study looking at Candida species involved in Denture Stomatitis, Antifungal Activity of Apple Cider Vinegar on Candida Species Involved in Denture Stomatitis. It showed that this home remedy has antifungal properties that proved to be very efficient in the fight against oral mucous membrane inflammation that can appear under a denture.
It’s also been said that if you dilute apple cider vinegar with a bit of water and use the mix to gargle or to drink, you may notice a decrease in bad odours when it comes to your breath. Apart from using mouthwash, you can also try using this home remedy in order to eliminate bad breath.
6. It May Improve Overall Digestion
Sometimes our digestion issues can be attributed to poor acid levels in the stomach, which prevents nutrients in our food from being absorbed. This, in turn, can lead to developing uncomfortable digestion problems, especially right after eating a meal. Since apple cider vinegar is acidic, it easily gives a helping hand with this issue.
Having said this, regularly drinking a bit of apple cider vinegar can help with troubles like unpleasant heartburn or uncomfortable bloating. It’s a simple home remedy that can easily bring us relief with minor digestive pains and discomfort.
These are only some of the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar, but claims about its overall positive impact on the body’s well-being do not stop here.
Some people have found apple cider vinegar to also be efficient when it comes to treating their problematic scalp that’s prone to dandruff, itchiness, irritation or flakes. It’s its main component, acetic acid, that makes all the difference here in the sense that it can alter the scalp’s pH. This in turn makes it more difficult for yeast to flourish and implicitly for dandruff to appear. Seborrheic dermatitis is also claimed to be one of the conditions that apple cider vinegar can help with. Use a spray bottle in which you can mix ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and then spritz this combo on your hair.
One 2005 study, Effectiveness of household natural sanitizers in the elimination of Salmonella typhimurium on rocket (Eruca sativa Miller) and spring onion (Allium cepa L.), looked at how Salmonella bacteria can be reduced to a minimum with the help of apple cider vinegar.
To this end, the study proved that if you mix it with a bit of lemon and sprinkle it on your salad, which in this case contained rocket and spring onion, the Salmonella bacteria was, in fact, reduced to undetectable levels. So adding this mix to your salad may actually do a lot more than simply add flavor to it – it may truly keep you healthy.
It’s amazing to see how apparently common antioxidant fruits, such as apples, can yield so many positive health effects when processed and fermented.
Apple Cider Vinegar Shelf Life
Having said this, does apple cider vinegar go bad though? Every bottle of apple cider vinegar should have a best-by date printed on the label and it only indicates that the liquid will only be at its best quality until that date. Apple cider vinegar should last for 5 years at least, but this also depends on the way you store it.
If you store it tightly sealed in a cool and dark place, you should be able to still use it in pristine condition. If changes do appear, you should be able to tell when it comes to its odour and color, which will suffer alterations in time, especially after opening the bottle.
When all is said and done, it’s important to remember that you need to test apple cider vinegar on your own to see how your body interacts with it. As a result of its high acidic profile, it may cause nausea or can damage your tooth enamel. So test it out by yourself in order to find the rhythm your body most agrees with.