In my experience, health coaching and otherwise, the most common “health-enhancer” that I hear about is Raw Apple Vinegar. True enough – I recommend it often for different conditions, but I also hear about it from others when I’ve had nothing to do with their regular use of it. What is it about this most familiar of pantry items that makes it such an all-time star in so many households?
Vinegar, first used as a disinfectant, has been a known health-aid since the Stone Age. Greek and Roman soldiers and Japanese Samurai warriors used vinegar as a source of strength and power.
Historical records show that the juice from apples has been fermented into vinegar since before 5000 B.C. Through the ages, apple cider vinegar has been used to stimulate circulation, aid in the detoxification of the liver, to purify the blood, cleanse lymph nodes, and improve the response the immune system. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is said to have prescribed it for coughs and colds, mixed with a little honey, and also used it for wound cleansing.
Like all fermented foods, apple cider vinegar is made using active yeast that is combined with sugar. In this case it is naturally occurring sugar from crushed apples. The yeast actually consumes the sugar and uses it to grow healthy bacteria, hence causing the fermentation process to happen.
For promoting health and wellness, the best Apple Cider Vinegar should come from organic apples, in a process that does not include pasteurization. Pasteurization requires heat, which kills all of the delicate nutrients and particularly enzymes. Vinegar is acidic enough to prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria (including E.coli) . When the fermentation is completed, acetic acid is formed. This is the main beneficial compound found in Apple Cider Vinegar.
The Appearance, Qualities, and Where to Find It.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, the unpasteurized variety, can appear murky and have cobweb-like strings, which may be initially off-putting. These are bits of live, active yeast, and are clues that the cider is of good quality, and contain the bacteria that provide many healing benefits in our bodies. Amazing!
Although sugar is used in its making, the sugar is consumed during fermentation, so not much is actually ingested in the final product. Apple Cider Vinegar contains about 3-5 calories per tablespoon, so it provides a pretty big health bang for a very little sugar buck.
Not all Apple Cider Vinegar is created equally! Absolutely, the variety of choice is the raw one with the “mother” intact – all those bits of active yeast mentioned above. That is where the beneficial compounds reside, including probiotics, which are very helpful for good digestion. The cloudy vinegar is best, and the bottle should be labeled “raw”. A very reliable brand is Bragg’s and it is available in all health food stores and many grocery chains.
Either added to food preparation, if you keep the heat off of it, or taken by itself as a tonic, it is quite likely to add to your good health. I have heard nothing of a bad report about it.
There are lists and lists of the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, just as there are testimonies from most people who are asked about it. Let’s look at just a few of them.
5 Benefits and Remedies of Apple Cider Vinegar
1. It helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. This is good news for people with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. Elevated blood sugar is also believed to be a major cause of aging and various chronic diseases. Apple Cider Vinegar cannot do all the heavy lifting here, but can certainly help other efforts like eating a healthy diet and avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugar.
2. It assists weight-loss efforts. The acetic acid suppresses the appetite, increases metabolism, and reduces water retention. Scientists also theorize that Apple Cider Vinegar interferes with the body’s digestion of starch so that fewer calories enter the bloodstream. Clearly, it’s the entire diet and lifestyle that counts in weight loss, and it takes several actions to see results. Apple Cider may be a good help. See more here.
3. It aids digestion. Some of the main causes of acid reflux and heartburn are an imbalanced stomach pH and a lack of enzymes and probiotics, all of which are plentiful in Apple Cider Vinegar. Although it is acidic in nature, it has an alkaline effect in the body. Taking 1 tablespoon of it in a cup of water five minutes before a meal may be helpful. Also, millions of people around the world struggle with candida and yeast overgrowths in their guts which cause digestive issues, along with bad breath, reduced energy, and uterine tract infections. A tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar taken three times a day, along with removing sugar from the diet will help to cleanse the intestine.
4. It fights seasonal allergies and nasal congestion. Apple Cider Vinegar supports the immune system and helps to break up mucous in your body and support lymphatic drainage, clearing the sinuses. Its contains potassium, which thins mucous, and the acetic acid in it prevents germ growth. Again, a teaspoon or a tablespoon in a glass of water will help.
5. It can solve many skin disorders. There are reports of it helping with acne when applied topically. Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water makes a good home remedy toner. The antibacterial properties help keep acne under control, and the malic and lactic acids soften and exfoliate skin, reduce red spots, and balance the pH of the skin.
Warts can be cured by putting Apple Cider Vinegar on them, covering with a band-aid, and leaving overnight. Results may occur in one application, or it may take several.
Dr. Oz has recommended Apple Cider Vinegar as a dandruff treatment. Its acidity curbs the yeast growth. He recommends mixing ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar with ¼ cup water in a spray bottle and then spritzing it onto the scalp. Wrap the head in a towel and sit for 15-60 minutes, then wash the hair. Twice a week applications of this should bring good results.
Give It a Try
It may be true that the claims made on behalf of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar far outweigh the actual benefits. With some of them there is a lack of scientific proof. Still, I tend to think that some of the old-time remedies, such as this one, which have been around for millennia and still are thought well of, ought to be given a chance.
At the very least, Apple Cider Vinegar seems to be safe. There are no side effects noted with normal consumption. The best way to use it is to incorporate it into daily food preparation, (but don’t cook it), or to simply dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage, perhaps with a little honey. Common dosages range from 1-2 teaspoons to 1-2 tablespoons per day.
At the end of the day, combined with other healthy practices, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is a health promoter – possibly not of the “cure-all” variety, but with some definite benefits in various applications. Try it!