The Amazing Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

The Amazing Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar has been around thousands of years, and for almost as long has been a popular remedy for a wide variety of ailments. Apple cider vinegar, in particular, is touted for a healthy heart, used to improve blood glucose, chosen to enhance insulin sensitivity and aid weight loss, and taken as a mealtime aid to digestion. Let’s examine these claims and see why apple cider vinegar (ACV) has become such a widely respected folk remedy.

What makes ACV so effective in promoting good health?

That’s a simple question with no easy answer. ACV has miniscule amounts of most vitamins and minerals, and when stacked up against other nutritional powerhouses appears positively underwhelming. Most researchers think that ACV’s nutritional benefits most likely derive from three factors:

  1. Traditional ACV’s “mother of vinegar”
  2. ACV’s acetic acid content
  3. Chlorogenic acid

ACV is a fermented food. Traditional, slow fermentation of cider allows a slimy substance — the “mother” — composed of acetic-acid bacteria, amino acids, and yeast, to accumulate on the cider’s surface. ACV’s “mother” has potent pre- and pro-biotic properties that aid in optimizing intestinal flora.

How does ACV benefit the heart?

Vinegar reduces several factors associated with heart disease. One of the key steps in the progression of atherosclerosis is oxidation of LDL cholesterol. ACV’s chlorogenic acid, a potent phenolic antioxidant also found in green coffee, minimizes lipid oxidation, and additionally helps keep blood pressure in check. Chlorogenic acid may also improve heart health indirectly by blocking fat accumulation and reducing systemic inflammation.

Can ACV help me avoid insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome?

Yes, ACV may help lower blood glucose, and consequently may slow the progression of heart disease and some cancers, improve immunity, even retard aging. Several studies have quantified the power of ACV in regulating blood glucose:

  • When one or two tablespoons of ACV were taken with a meal high in carbohydrates, insulin sensitivity was improved almost 30%!
  • When 50 grams of white bread, a very high-GI food, were eaten, taking a tablespoon of ACV reduced blood glucose 34% when compared with a control group.
  • Two bedtime tablespoons of ACV reduced subsequent fasting glucose 4%.

Taking ACV with a high-carb meal also increases satiety, perhaps slowing carbohydrate processing by interfering with digestive enzymes. Studies suggest that ACV, taken daily, reduces subsequent intake by about 250 calories, which over time results in modest weight loss, decreases in visceral fat, and lower triglycerides. Though ACV, by itself, is probably not enough to keep metabolic syndrome at bay forever, it can be a useful adjunct to a well-designed nutrition and fitness plan.

What about ACV and cancer?

It’s probably too soon to draw any conclusions about ACV and cancer; the results have, thus far, been equivocal. Studies have linked vinegar to decreased esophageal carcinoma, but increased bladder cancer! In vitro studies have been encouraging, but very little is known about the effects, if any, of ACV on cancer cells in living, breathing people.

If you decide to add ACV to your regimen, there are few guidelines. However, moderation should guide you. Taking one or two tablespoons per day with lots of cool, clear water is enough to experience its known health benefits, and should open you to no risks. There are not likely to be many studies of ACV in the foreseeable future, so you must be guided by your faith in traditional medicine’s ancient wisdom. Be wise, be well, and live long!