Apple cider vinegar(ACV) is no new invention – it has been used for centuries for both cooking and medicine, alike. It is made by mixing yeast and crushed apples, leading to fermentation and the creation of an alcohol. Then, added bacteria continues to ferment the alcohol turning it into acetic acid – which is the main active compound in the vinegar that researchers believe confers health benefits. Much of the research that supports ACV’s benefits pertains to acetic acid:
ACV supports the immune system
Traditionally, apple cider vinegar has been used to clean and disinfect. Vinegar is known to kill bacteria and harmful pathogens due to acetic acid, which chemically destroys their cell structures.
ACV may improve digestion and gut health
Due to the fermentation process, raw or unfiltered ACV is full of gut-friendly probiotics, which help to keep your gut functioning smoothly. Additionally, ACV may increase stomach acid levels to improve digestion. Since stomach acid is essential for the breakdown of proteins from food, ACV may benefit those with low stomach acidity. Theoretically, these benefits combined would also help prevent gas, bloating and even constipation.
ACV may support weight loss
Research has shown that consuming acetic acid-rich vinegar before a high carbohydrate meal leads to increased satiety and a reduction in overall daily consumption of calories. Another study showed that for obese individuals consumption of acetic acid-rich vinegar led to weight loss. Remember, long-term weight loss is not achieved by adding or subtracting a single food, but rather by adopting healthy lifestyle and nutrition habits.
ACV may lower blood sugar
Apple cider vinegar appears to be promising in improving metrics of blood sugar health. One study suggested that apple cider vinegar alongside a high carbohydrate meal improved insulin sensitivity(which is impaired in those with metabolic conditions like type 2 diabetes), lowered blood sugar and enhanced insulin response. Another study showed that when consumed with 50 g of white bread, acetic acid-rich vinegar reduced blood sugar levels. A body of research supports these findings.
ACV may support heart health
Animal research indicates that apple cider vinegar may lower heart disease risk factors, including cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
When choosing an apple cider vinegar, look for unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which contains increased amounts of healthy proteins, enzymes, and bacteria. To reap the benefits mentioned above, consume 4 tsps to 2 tbsps of apple cider vinegar diluted in water daily – preferably before mealtime!