As part of my daily health ritual, I drink raw apple cider vinegar. Besides actually enjoying the taste when it is mixed with other drinks, it has tremendous health benefits. You have to make sure it is raw and unfiltered. The filtration process takes out many of the things that provide the health benefits.
This article by Authority Nutrition called “6 Proven Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar”talks about these health benefits in some detail.
Vinegar is made in a two-step process. First, yeast is added to crushed apples (apple cider), which ferments sugars and turns them into alcohol. Second, bacteria are added to the solution, which further ferments the alcohol to become acetic acid, which is the main active compound of vinegar.
Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains “mother” strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance. Everyone seems to recommend Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar, and it’s the one we use actually.
Some of the health benefits include:
- Kills pathogens. As a general comment, vinegar (not just apple cider vinegar) is a bit of a magical substance. Before the modern chemical industry, vinegar was used by many for cleaning and disinfecting, as well as treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections. In an effort to reduce chemical influences on our own lives, we use vinegar for household cleaning today instead of popular chemical brands. It is an effective cleaning product because it is a natural disinfectant that kills harmful pathogens. Hippocrates used vinegar for wound cleaning over two thousand years ago. Vinegar has been used as a food preservative, and studies indicate that it inhibits bacteria like E-Col from growing in the food and spoiling it.
- Lowers blood sugar levels (helps to fight diabetes and reduce the effects of ageing). By far the most successful application of vinegar to date is in patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugars, either in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin. However, elevated blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don’t have diabetes. It is believed to be a major cause of ageing and various chronic diseases. Apple cider vinegar helps with insulin function and blood sugar levels.
- Help you lose weight by making you feel full. Vinegar has the effect of lowering blood sugar and insulin levels, therefore it makes sense that it could assist with losing weight. There is also evidence to suggest that it increases satiety, resulting in people actually requiring fewer calories. This can be achieved by ingesting 1 to 2 Tablespoons per day.
- Lowers cholesterol and reduces your risk of heart disease. Studies with rats indicate that apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It may also contain the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to protect LDL cholesterol particles from becoming oxidized (a crucial step in the heart disease process).
- May have protective effects against cancer. Some studies suggest that vinegar can help to slow the growth of cancer cells and shrink tumors.
So how do you consume it?
Well, I prefer to simply mix it in other drinks. It’s a bit sour, but I happen to like the sour taste. I like to mix about 1-2 Tablespoons with in a 500mL drink that might include apple juice, cranberry juice, cold ginger tea, sparkling water, and still water. I frankly mix it with just about any kind of juice and water.
You can also make a great salad dressing out of it. I like to mix it in equal proportion with olive oil, and then mix in some crushed raw garlic, some squeezed lemon and salt and pepper. Delicious.
In this Authority Nutrition article that I linked to above, I don’t entirely agree with opinions presented. My personal experience with drinking apple cider vinegar is that I miss it when I don’t have it everyday. I feel like I have more energy when I drink it. I feel like my skin is clearer. My mind is clearer. Perhaps most importantly, I can’t remember having heartburn since I started drinking apple cider vinegar.