Apple Cider Vinegar: Ancient and Functional

I have been a health coach for more than a decade now, so often when I’m asked about this ingredient or that spice, or some remedy, I can often say a little about whatever it is and then add, “I wrote a blog about that – check on my website,” or “I’ll send you a link to a piece on my website that I wrote about that very thing.”

Of all the ingredients in raw food preparation and otherwise healthy eating and living, raw apple cider vinegar is surely among the ten most used and widely acclaimed of them. Here’s some information in addition to what I have written on the subject in the last few years. Check those pieces out here and again here.

A Little Background

Apple Cider Vinegar comes with an illustrious past as a home remedy. People have used it for centuries in cooking and, as a medicine it was used to treat sore throats, varicose veins and many other ailments. The ancient Greeks, for example, treated wounds with it. Even Hippocrates himself, the father of modern medicine, is said to have used it to clean wounds over 2000 years ago with apple cider vinegar.  In modern times, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t claim that ACV isn’t wonderful for something!

Popularity through the Ages

Apple Cider Vinegar has stood the test of time as a valuable “go-to” because it started and remains a rather simple process in it’s becoming what it is. Simply put, it is apple juice that has been fermented twice. (There’s lots more information about the benefits of fermentation right here.) First, crushed apples are mixed with yeast, sugar or another carbohydrate.  After a few weeks, natural bacteria and yeasts ferment the juice, changing the carbohydrates into alcohol. Then, a second fermentation process changes the alcohol into acetic acid, the primary ingredient in apple cider vinegar. It’s the acetic acid that gives the vinegar its sour smell ad flavor, as well for it’s many touted health benefits.

Choosing the Best

Organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is the best way to buy Apple Cider Vinegar. It also contains a substance called the “mother, which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes, and gut-friendly bacteria that make it look “murky,” but also account for most of the benefits, including the antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. The nutrition facts label doesn’t actually show high amounts of vitamins, minerals or even calories.  Its potential health benefits are found in substances that aren’t part of the standard nutrition label.

Many Benefits

There are some studies that suggest that raw apple cider vinegar is a health booster, but the studies are small, and scientists are quick to say that “further research is needed,” which is often said about long-standing home remedies. Here, though, are some of its possible benefits .

Lowering Blood Sugar. Some studies have found that consuming apple cider vinegar after a meal could lower blood glucose (sugar), which may be especially helpful for people with Type 2 diabetes or its precursor insulin resistance. Naturally, while it may help, this practice cannot replace a good healthy diet and exercise plan.

Calming Acid Reflux Gastroesophageal reflux disease, aka GERD or acid reflux. Many people say that apple cider vinegar is a good remedy. Again, it can assist when there is a good diet modification in place. See your favorite health coach for more information about that.

Encouraging Weight Loss. Every little boost can help when you’re trying to lose weight. Apple cider vinegar can help, again, as an assist to healthy eating and adequate exercise. One study in 175 people with obesity showed that a daily dose of apple cider vinegar led to reduced belly fat and weight loss . Doses of 1-2 Tbs led to a loss of 2.6 -3.7 lbs. Clearly, though, simply adding or subtracting single foods or ingredients rarely has a noticeable effect on weight. Long-term weight loss is adopted by adopting helpful and supportive diet and lifestyle habits.

There are many more claims of health benefits ranging from resisting common colds, healing sore throats, boosting healthier skin, and improving digestion to countless others. I have memories of my mother washing windows with diluted apple cider vinegar

Dosage

The best way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet is to use it in cooking. It’s an easy, simple addition to foods like salad dressings and marinades. Some people, myself and some of our children included, dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage – using about 1 tsp to 2 Tbs per day mixed in a large glass of water (and more water in a daily diet is never a bad thing!) I recommend the raw, unfiltered brands. Braggs is an old, well-established name in the vinegar field.

Possible Side Effects

Start with small amounts. Too much vinegar can be detrimental to tooth enamel and can also possible negatively react with some medicines. Don’t use it if you have low potassium levels (hypokalemia), as it may make the condition worse.  Apple cider vinegar can negatively interact with some medicines, including insulin an diuretic drugs (water pills). Check with your doctor about theses things. Also, some people just don’t like apple cider vinegar. If it makes you feel sick stop using it.

Conclusion

So far, the evidence says that apple cider vinegar is short of a miracle cure, but is safe in moderate amounts for most people. In all likelihood it will not hurt you and may help you with something that can use the help in your body. It’s worth a try because it has stood the test of time, lots of time, is calorie free, adds lots of flavor to foods, and has some health benefits, far too numerous to enumerate here.  Give it a try!

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