Throughout centuries, apple cider vinegar has been loved and enjoyed by millions across the world. It complements salads, soups, and sources, providing a unique flavor to familiar foods and recipes. But it offers more than making meals tastier: Apple cider vinegar offers many health and wellness benefits.
How it’s made
Knowing how apple cider vinegar is made shows a glimpse of its nutritional value and power. First, it lies in the apple itself. The fruit offers Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium, fiber, carbohydrates, and copper.
The reputable online health magazine Healthline further says that apples are a great source of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and diseases. These compounds can also help prevent cancer formation, protect against asthma, and improve bone health.
In the process to create apple cider vinegar, the fruit is crushed and mixed with yeast, starting its alcoholic fermentation. Then, it is converted into vinegar.
This forms the bacteria acetobacter which then creates acetic acid, together with small amounts of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Good quality apple cider vinegar contains amino acids as well. Acetic acid, which constitutes five to six percent of the apple cider vinegar, is mainly responsible for its smell, flavor, and health benefits.
The fermentation process also creates what is called the “mother of vinegar,” the floating membrane-like material that provides enzymes and good bacteria that can further promote well-being.
Since the dawn of civilization, fermentation has been employed by early humans as they stocked food and provisions. From this, they made and processed wine and vinegar.
Thousands of years later, the Greeks and Romans started developing apple cider vinegar from apple wine. Gabriel Neal, a clinical assistant professor of family medicine at Texas A&M University, told Business Insider that vinegar has been used as a treatment for illnesses.
For example, Hippocrates, regarded as the father of medicine, recommended vinegar as a medication for cough and colds. Roman soldiers also enjoyed drinking vinegar, while women used it as a preservative.
During the Black Plague in 1348, Italian physician and professor of medicine Tommaso Del Gardo used vinegar in washing his face and hands to prevent infection.
Likewise, according to Herb & Hedgerow, a website that features organic skincare, apple cider vinegar has been used to treat wounds in many wars throughout history, from the time of the Japanese samurai warriors to the U.S. Civil War to the First World War.
In the Information Age, apple cider vinegar is still hailed for its diverse health benefits enjoyed by those who regularly consume it properly.
It can help kill harmful bacteria
Apple cider vinegar was used as an antiseptic for hundreds of years. According to Healthline, it has been traditionally applied as a treatment for infections, fungus, lice, and warts.
Even in these modern times, studies show the power of apple cider vinegar in destroying pathogens and bacteria. It is so potent that it can inhibit the growth of dangerous Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, according to a 2018 research in the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information.
It may keep blood sugar levels low.
Small studies conducted in the past decades show that vinegar may improve insulin sensitivity and moderate body glucose concentration.
This is very valuable especially for those who suffer from Type 2 diabetes where the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or the body becomes resistant to the hormone. But even if you are not diabetic, apple cider can help you keep your blood sugar levels low, making you less prone to quick aging and other chronic diseases.
It can contribute to weight loss
Apple cider vinegar can help people lose weight, research says. In an experiment, consuming some amounts of the vinegar can help people achieve satiety, the feeling of fullness, much quicker and easier, making the research subjects eat 200-275 calories less through the day. In a separate study involving obese people, taking a daily dose of apple cider vinegar can lead to reduced belly fat and weight loss.
Imagine the great possibilities if you would just add some more apple cider vinegar in your meals and diet!
It has cosmetic applications, too.
One of the benefits and applications of apple cider vinegar commonly presented on the Internet involves skincare.
Indeed, using the vinegar as a face wash or a tonic (diluted with water, of course) can help rebalance the acidity of the skin and improve its protective barrier, Healthline stated. Many health professionals, awaiting conclusive research, theorize that apple cider vinegar can help prevent skin infections and conditions, including eczema.
According to Herb & Hedgerow, apples and apple cider vinegar are high in alpha-hydroxy acids that can exfoliate the skin (but don’t apply it on a daily basis—and definitely not in concentrated amounts!) Although strong research is yet to validate them, there are testimonials about the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar in treating pimples and acne.
But be careful!
Despite its benefits and advantages, doses of consuming apple cider vinegar beyond the recommended level have risks and consequences. After all, cliché, as it may be, too much of a good thing, is bad.
For example, one of the positive effects of apple cider vinegar is the prevention of blood sugar spikes. However, too much vinegar can slow down nutrient absorption in the stomach, leading to heartburn, bloating, and nausea.
The condiment can also speed up the feeling of fullness, but excessive amounts of it can cause indigestion. Moreover, while there are no proven cases of such, it has the potential to cause throat burns.
Directly applying concentrated apple cider vinegar on the skin without diluting it with water can cause skin irritation and burns. Acidic foods and beverages, apple cider vinegar included, can damage tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay in long periods of exposure.
Most importantly, be very careful with apple cider vinegar doses when you are taking medications since the vinegar can interact with them. First, diabetes patients who take both insulin medications and vinegar may find their blood sugar and potassium levels dangerously low.
The same may happen to people who take digoxin (or Lanoxin), a medication that affects sodium and potassium levels within heart cells. Also, if you are taking diuretic drugs, consider the fact that apple cider vinegar lowers down potassium levels in your body.
Proper dosage and guidelines
With all the precautions and warnings considered, how can you enjoy both the taste and health benefits of apple cider vinegar? You can add it to your recipes (more on this below).
The beverage can be a delicious salad dressing, and some even use it to make mayonnaise. Taking small doses at first, many users dilute it with water as a drink. You can add one to two teaspoons up to one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a large glass of water, Healthline recommended.
Furthermore, the website recommends general guidelines to make sure that you will consume this amazing product safely. First, you can make your teeth less exposed to the vinegar by drinking the diluted vinegar with a straw.
Then, you can rinse your mouth with water after consuming it. To ensure optimal dental health, you can brush your teeth 30 minutes afterward.
Other than ensuring that apple cider vinegar will not interfere with your medications, check if you have allergic reactions to the beverage, though they are rare. Moreover, if you have gastroparesis, a condition in which your stomach fails to normally empty itself, limit your dosage of apple cider vinegar to one teaspoon when consuming it.
The Healthline online health magazine recommends the following research-based simple apple cider vinegar applications:
If you love tea, mix it with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon of cinnamon, and some cayenne pepper. According to the nutritionist Rania Batayneh, this concoction can boost your energy while keeping you from binging heavy snacks and drinks.
If you have a sore throat, you can soothe yourself with warm water or tea mixed with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and two tablespoons of honey.
You can also try mixing one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, honey, and coconut oil for a flavorful drink. You can also use the vinegar as a gargle: Mix one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with warm salt water for thirty seconds two or three times a day, but don’t swallow.
For sure, you want to maximize the nutrient benefits of apple cider vinegar. If this is the case, you can apply it to a broccoli salad. This healthy vegetable is rich with vitamins, fiber, protein, folic acid, and antioxidants. Olive oil and nuts are also proven to help prevent cancer—so go ahead and enjoy apple cider vinegar with them now!