Apple cider vinegar has been used to promote health for centuries. A little touch of apple cider vinegar for flavor and to boost the immune system has been a folk remedy in some parts of the world for so long it is simply accepted as a fact.
Beyond the tang that apple cider vinegar can add to foods, it also contains elements that have been shown to help boost health and even help people lose weight. As with so many other traditional medicines and folk remedies, medical science is catching up on what apple cider vinegar can offer.
What is apple cider vinegar, as opposed to the myriad other types of vinegar? How does it work in the human body? What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar? And how can you incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet to promote weight loss? This guide will explore these questions and give you sound scientific information to begin losing weight with apple cider vinegar.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Vinegar is made by a method that is similar to how wine is made. Simple fermentation releases both alcohol and acetic acid. The acetic acid is what gives vinegar its signature flavor and aroma and its medicinal properties.
The process of making vinegar dates as far back as 3000 BCE with the ancient Babylonians and can be traced through Asia, the Middle East, and Europe where, in all three cases, the making of vinegar became specialized and refined.
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apples in the same fermentation process that gives us all vinegar types. The juices are fermented to produce alcohol and then a second bacteria is introduced that produces acetic acid. The particular nature of apples, as with any other source material, provides specific chemical constituents.
Traditional apple cider vinegar takes about one month to produce. Modern methods can accelerate this process. Apple cider vinegar is about 5-6 percent alcohol and trace amounts of other acids such as malic acid. A single tablespoon of apple cider vinegar as three calories and no carbohydrates.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
While any apple cider vinegar will contain the active ingredients that provide health benefits, experts generally recommend unfiltered apple cider vinegar. This will contain what is called the mother, or the great bulk of long strands of proteins, enzymes, and healthful bacteria. Some believe that it is the mother that is the real miracle cure contained in apple cider vinegar.
Here are some of the healthy benefits of apple cider vinegar:
Can kill dangerous bacteria
Apple cider vinegar has been used as an antiseptic for centuries. Hippocrates, considered the founder of modern medicine, recommended using apple cider vinegar to treat wounds against infection. Consider that Hippocrates discovered this benefit, centuries before the discovery of bacteria.
Apple cider vinegar is used as a preservative to stop the growth of harmful bacteria like E Coli.
There are even some reports that a dilute solution of apple cider vinegar as a topical cleanse can be used to help clear up acne.
Can help treat diabetes
Some research shows that apple cider vinegar may help fight high blood sugar associated with type 2 diabetes. Apple cider vinegar introduces small levels of sugar into the bloodstream but since it contains no carbohydrates, it seems to have the effect of controlling blood sugar levels.
Research suggests that vinegar offers the following benefits for blood sugar and insulin levels:
- A small study suggests vinegar may improve insulin sensitivity by 19–34% during a high carb meal and significantly lower blood sugar and insulin response.
- In a small study in 5 healthy people, vinegar reduced blood sugar by 31.4% after eating 50 grams of white bread.
- A small study in people with diabetes reported that consuming 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime reduced fasting blood sugar by 4% the following morning.
- Numerous other studies in humans show that vinegar can improve insulin function and lower blood sugar levels after meals.
May reduce the risk of heart disease
Some studies have demonstrated that small amounts of apple cider vinegar in your diet can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are markers of heart disease which is one of the leading causes of death around the world.
Other studies show promise for apple cider vinegar to reduce blood pressure which is another risk factor for heart disease and for kidney problems.
Apple Cider Vinegar Weight Loss
The benefits listed above are enough to validate apple cider vinegar as natural medicine. But perhaps the most significant benefit to apple cider vinegar is to help with weight loss.
The acetic acid prevalent in apple cider vinegar is a short-chain fatty acid. When it dissolves in the digestive system it breaks down into acetate and hydrogen. This metabolic process provides a number of benefits to weight loss. These include:
- Lower blood sugar levels. Acetic acid improves the liver’s ability to absorb and break down sugars.
- Decreased insulin levels. Studies show that acetic acid in apple cider vinegar reduces the ratio of inulin to glucose in the bloodstream. This is great for people with type-2 diabetes and it causes a boost to burn fat for the rest of us.
- Boosts metabolism. The acetate that comes with the natural breakdown of acetic acid from apple cider vinegar also increases the production of specific enzymes which boosts metabolism and the body’s ability to burn fat.
- Reduces fat storage. Some studies revealed that apple cider vinegar activates a type of gene that prevents the body from storing fat.
- Natural fat burner. Research has shown that the combined effects generated by apple cider vinegar all work toward burning fat. If you are looking for a natural fat burner, apple cider vinegar may be one of the best.
- Suppresses appetite. Finally, the acetate released during the breakdown of apple cider vinegar sends chemical signals to the brain that reduce hunger. Taking a small amount of apple cider vinegar in your diet makes you feel less hungry.
Apple cider vinegar turns out to be one of the most effective natural supplements for a weight loss plan.
Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects and Risks
Apple cider vinegar is basically food and as such, has few side effects and risks. The only side effects and risks that do come from using apple cider vinegar are associated with taking it as a supplement in addition to what you eat. While these are rare, they do occur.
Slows emptying of the stomach
Because apple cider vinegar alters blood sugar levels, it can slow down the rate at which the stomach empties. This can lead to stomach upset.
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can upset your stomach and digestive system. This is generally in the form of stomach pains or mild heartburn.
May lower potassium levels and lead to bone loss
Both of these side effects are extremely rare. In some rare cases, people who take apple cider vinegar as a supplement daily over a period of years have developed seriously low potassium levels and even developed osteoporosis.
Erosion of tooth enamel
Again, this is caused by the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar. Simply by exposing your teeth to the corrosive effects of acid can erode the enamel of your teeth.
Do not take apple cider vinegar as a supplement if you are taking any of the following medications:
- Diabetes medication: People who take insulin or insulin-stimulating medications and vinegar may experience dangerously low blood sugar or potassium levels.
- Digoxin (Lanoxin): This medication lowers your blood potassium levels. Taking it in combination with apple cider vinegar could lower potassium too much.
- Certain diuretic drugs: Some diuretic medications cause the body to excrete potassium. To prevent potassium levels from dropping too low, these drugs shouldn’t be consumed with large amounts of vinegar.
Again, most of these side effects and risks for apple cider vinegar are quite rare, but you should be advised before including apple cider vinegar among your regimen of supplements.
Apple Cider Vinegar Dosage
The best way to start using apple cider vinegar is to include it in your cooking. Apple cider vinegar can be used in just about any recipe that calls for vinegar. If you make fresh salad dressings or homemade mayonnaise, start using apple cider vinegar in place of the other types of vinegar commonly sued for these purposes. Eating apple cider vinegar is simply the most effective and the most delicious way to use it.
If you choose to drink apple cider vinegar just as a diet supplement, mix about 1-2 teaspoons up to 1-2 tablespoons into a large glass of water. This will reduce the acid as it comes in contact with your teeth, stomach, and digestive tract but will preserve the healthy effects.
Start with small amounts and work your way up, but do not exceed two tablespoons in a large glass of water.
Most experts say that you get the most benefits from apple cider vinegar is to use raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Bragg is the most common brand that comes this way, but the rising popularity of apple cider vinegar has brought new brands of unfiltered vinegar on the market.
Apple Cider Vinegar FAQs
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apples in the same fermentation process that gives us all vinegar types. The juices are fermented to produce alcohol and then a second bacteria is introduced that produces acetic acid.
What is apple cider vinegar used for?
The most common use of apple cider vinegar is in cooking. However, apple cider vinegar may also be used as a natural medicine and health supplement.
What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar? Apple cider vinegar is used as a natural antimicrobial. It can help fight diabetes and heart disease, and it can be used to help lose weight.
How does apple cider vinegar help with weight loss?
Apple cider vinegar helps you lose weight by burning fat, helping you feel full longer, controlling blood sugar, and breaking down fats in the body.
Are there dangers associated with apple cider vinegar?
Taking apple cider vinegar as a supplement can cause stomach and digestive problems. It may break down tooth enamel. And it can in rare cases lead to low potassium and bone loss.
What is the best way to use apple cider vinegar?
The best way to include apple cider vinegar in your diet is simply to use it in your cooking. Use apple cider vinegar in any recipe that calls for vinegar. It is delicious. You can also take apple cider vinegar in a dilute solution of about 1- 2 teaspoons in a large glass of water.
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