Vinegar has been used for centuries for various purposes, whether to clean the house, sanitize or to make delicious pickled vegetables. For health, however, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the best.
The Father of Medicine, Hippocrates (c. 420 BC), used ACV for different health ailments like coughs and colds. Now, it is being used to help alleviate hiccups, as well as help with health concerns surrounding diabetes, cancer, heart problems, weight issues, and high cholesterol.
What makes ACV so healing to the body is that it is made from apples. When apples undergo the fermentation process, the result is beneficial enzymes and other life-sustaining nutrients. Apple cider vinegar is one of the only vinegars that contains a “mother”, a cobweb-like amino acid-based substance that is only found in unprocessed and unfiltered ACV’s. This mother can actually be used to make new batches of vinegar to quick-start the fermentation process.
The mother gives off powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiviral properties to the rest of the vinegar, which we then drink. Sometimes you might even catch a swig of pieces of the mother as you drink ACV (but don’t worry – it’s completely safe!). It will make your vinegar look murky, but this is what you want. It means your ACV is a quality brew.
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Here are 8 common health benefits of consuming at least a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day:
1. Weight Loss
Because apple cider vinegar helps lower blood sugar and insulin levels, it also aids in helping you shed a few pounds, too. Different studies have found vinegar to increase satiety, which results in fewer calories eaten throughout the day. One study found acetic acid in vinegar actually suppresses body fat accumulation (1). Groups that took in at least 1 tablespoon of vinegar a day had significantly lower body weight, BMI, visceral fat, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels than the placebo group.
2. Kills Bacteria And Prevents Infections
Vinegar is one of the best all-natural cleaners out there (2). It has powerful sanitizing effects and is used in many home disinfectants. It inhibits bacteria (like E. coli) from growing on food and spoiling it (3) and is, therefore, a great food preservative. The acetic acid in vinegar can kill bacteria and prevent them from reproducing. It has been shown to be effective against bacteria found in burn wounds (4).
3. Lowers Cholesterol
Studies done with rats have shown that ACV can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels (5). ACV also contains special antioxidants, such as chlorogenic acid, which protects LDL cholesterol particles from becoming oxidized (normally, when oxidized, these particles become a major cause of heart disease). Consuming ACV will also lower cholesterol by increasing bile production in the liver (6).
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar helps lower blood pressure, as well as the activity of a plasma enzyme called renin, which plays a major role in the body in regulation of blood pressure, thirst and urine output (7). It also helps lower elevated blood sugar levels, which is extremely beneficial to those who have type 2 diabetes.
5. Prevents Cancer
Vinegar possesses strong anti-tumor properties. It can help repress the growth of human leukemia cells (8) and has also been shown to stop the growth of colon, lung, breast, bladder, and prostate cancer cells (9). Apple cider vinegar, specifically, however, is the best option when trying to fight cancer. It contains a variety of cancer-fighting polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants that cause apoptosis (cell death) in cancer cells.
6. Relieves Allergies
Seasonal allergies can be a pain, but ACV can help. It is an all-natural antihistamine that can help with symptoms like wheezing and hives. According to Melissa Gallagher, M.S., CWC, SNHP, apple cider vinegar is just as effective in treating allergic reactions as anti-histamine medications like Zyrtec. ACV can help prevent symptoms of allergies like nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy, red and swollen eyes, itchy sensations in the nose, ears, lips, mouth and/or throat, headache, nosebleed, cough, and asthma. I have personally used ACV to treat symptoms of a nut allergy I had this previous year in Costa Rica.
7. Improves Lymphatic Function
Living enzymes and acetic acid in ACV help break up mucus in the body and cleanses the lymph nodes. Keeping the lymphatic system clean can help you prevent over 80% of chronic diseases that plague modern society today. Make sure you combine taking ACV with rebounding, dancing, yoga, or swimming to help pump out stagnant lymph once it has been dislodged with ACV.
8. Excellent Anti-Inflammatory
Apple cider vinegar is high in vitamin K2, a lesser-known vitamin essential for good health. Vitamin K2 is found only in animal products, or fermented products like kombucha, ACV, and sauerkrauts. This vitamin is important in reducing inflammation, especially in those who have asthma. ACV is also high in minerals like potassium, which is essential when wanting to reduce swelling and bulging veins (such as varicose veins).
How To Start Using Apple Cider Vinegar
If you want to start using apple cider vinegar, make sure you keep the following tips in mind:
1. Make sure the brand you are buying is organic, unpasteurized (aka. raw), and unfiltered. You want ACV with the “mother” – any vinegar that is clear and not murky will not produce the same bodily effects.
2. You don’t just want to drink ACV straight. Mix 1 tbsp. of ACV with 1 cup of water. You can also add a little bit of honey if you’d like to help cut the bitterness.
3. Don’t want to drink ACV? Add it to your salads or other veggie dishes. Any way to get it into your body is great. A simple ACV salad dressing is 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tbsp. dijon mustard, 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp. raw honey, 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or room-temp coconut oil) and some salt and pepper to taste. Put in a small mason jar and shake until well combined.
Best Apple Cider Vinegar Brands
There are many brands of apple cider vinegar out there, but if they aren’t raw and unpasteurized, you likely won’t be receiving all the health benefits this supplement has to offer.
Here are some great brands of apple cider vinegar that are raw, unpasteurized, and contain “the mother”: