Anti-dandruff, fat-burning, anti-aging – to hear some, just one drop of apple cider vinegar is enough to cure all ills. While that may not be the case, science suggests it may prove helpful in the fight against obesity and diabetes. Let’s take a look at the real health potential of apple cider vinegar.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Put simply, apple cider vinegar is the fermented juice from crushed apples. This apple juice is combined with bacteria and yeast, which begins the fermentation process where sugars are turned into alcohol. Following that, acetic acid-forming bacteria convert the alcohol into vinegar. Acetic acid is what gives the vinegar its distinctive sour flavor.
Apple cider vinegar contains a variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamins B1, B2, B6, niacin, folic acid, panthogenic acid, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron, all of which are essential for optimum health. It is a significant source of acetic acid, which is where some of those vinegar’s powerful healing properties come from.
An Ancient Remedy
While it has recently undergone a huge rise in popularity, apple cider vinegar is an ancient folk remedy that still makes part of numerous home-made treatments. Many use it to treat skin conditions, to sooth sunburn and insect bites, to prevent dandruff and even slow down the aging process. There aren’t many studies supporting these uses, but modern science now shows evidence that apple cider vinegar may be useful in combatting today’s obesity and diabetes epidemics.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help to Lose Weight?
In animal models, scientists at the University of Medical Sciences in Iran found that apple cider vinegar reduces body fat, blood sugar, and bad cholesterol. Which could spell good news for those of us struggling with our weight.
Human studies are rarer, however, a study carried out in Japan observed the weight loss effects of this juice on 175 obese patients. Both groups continued to eat their normal diets but were given either water or apple cider vinegar to drink daily for 12 weeks. The group who used vinegar lost slightly more weight over the period, an average of 2 pounds. This led researchers to hypothesize that it may turn on some of the genes involved in breaking down fat. But they were quick to state that it is far from a magic pill or a quick fix. Rather, apple cider vinegar should be considered a helpful addition to a healthy diet and active lifestyle, as it could help you lose weight.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar help to Manage Diabetes?
Apple cider vinegar has a well-documented anti-glycemic effect. This means it blocks the body’s absorption of some starches, which in turn prevents these starches from raising your blood sugar. Again, this isn’t a magic bullet, capable of preventing or curing diabetes. However, as a partner to a low-carbohydrate, low-sugar diet and healthier lifestyle, this vinegar could help manage diabetes.
A note of caution however, some diabetics may want to avoid apple cider vinegar. This is because of gastroparesis or delayed gastric emptying, a common complication for those with diabetes. A Swedish study found that apple cider vinegar can increase the time food remains undigested in the stomach, which could make it more difficult for people with Type 1 diabetes to control their blood sugar levels. We highly recommend speaking to your doctor before changing your diet or if you have any concerns.
How to Choose the Best Apple Cider Vinegar
The first thing to look at is the color. Is it clear or cloudy? If it’s clear, chances are it’s been overheated, artificially processed and pasteurized, which means it doesn’t contain many beneficial nutrients. Unpasteurized and organic apple cider vinegar contains the mother of vinegar, a substance formed by the acetic acid bacteria—this is what gives apple cider vinegar its cloudy color. While it may not look very appetizing, this is the best bit as it has all the live bacteria and enzymes that make it so powerful.
Here are 4 tips to help you choose the best apple cider vinegar:
- Get glass bottles: the BPA’s in plastic can leach into the products they contain, particularly acidic products like vinegar. Make sure you buy a glass bottle.
- Go organic: conventionally grown apples have been found to contain traces of many pesticides and fertilizers, which end up in the finished product. Buy organic to get a cleaner apple cider vinegar that’s better for the planet too.
- Make sure it’s raw: raw or unpasteurized apple cider vinegar has not been heated or unnecessarily processed, and therefore retains all its beneficial nutrients.
- Look for the Mother: when you buy this type of vinegar, look at the bottom of the bottle—the cloudy brown sediment there is the mother of vinegar.
How to Include Apple Cider Vinegar in Your Diet
Apple cider vinegar is very acidic, so you don’t want to drink it neat. You can dilute one to two tablespoons in a glass of water and sip it before meals or just before bedtime. But it is also a versatile ingredient, and makes a flavorful addition to salad dressings, sauces and even soups.
These days we’re all looking for a quick fix solution to our problems. But with our health as with everything, the solution is often composed of many layers. Apple cider vinegar could help stimulate fat burning genes, and help you manage your blood sugar, but only as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. So, as a miracle solution to obesity and diabetes, it might not be worth the hype… but as a delicious and healthy ingredient, it’s definitely worth having in your kitchen!References