Apple cider vinegar (ACV), the kitchen staple made from fermented apples, has a long history as a folk remedy for numerous conditions ranging from curing hiccups and alleviating cold symptoms to making your hair shine, whitening your teeth, and freshening your breath. Some people even turn to ACV to treat more severe health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart problems, high cholesterol, and obesity.
While most of ACV’s known benefits are based on the wisdom of our ancestors, the scientific world has recently taken interest in this natural product. Here are three scientifically backed-up reasons why you should keep ACV in your pantry.
Balance blood sugar and Improve diabetes
The number of Americans struggling with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes is expected to increase dramatically within the next few years. Several scientific studies have proven that the acetic acid found in ACV can balance blood sugar levels to help get that number down.
One study, published in Diabetes Care, found that both men and women with type 2 diabetes who weren’t taking insulin had lower blood glucose levels in the morning when taking two tablespoons of ACV before bed.
Another study conducted by researchers at the Arizona State University compared the effects of ACV on healthy adults, people with pre-diabetes or insulin resistance, and people with type 2 diabetes. They found that individuals who drank a mixture of ACV and water before eating a high carbohydrate meal (a white bagel with butter and orange juice) had lower blood sugar levels afterward.
The study reported that people with pre-diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by nearly half, while people with diabetes cut their blood sugar concentrations by 25 percent.
Prevent weight gain
According to some scientists, ACV could reduce body fat and promote weight loss. Again, the acetic acid seems to be responsible for ACV’s health promoting effect. Acetic acid has been shown to curb the appetite, boost metabolism (or the fat-burning mechanism), and reduce water retention. Furthermore, ACV may interfere with the digestion of starch, which results in fewer calories entering the bloodstream.
A team of Japanese researchers found that mice that were fed a high-fat diet along with acetic acid developed up to 10 percent less body fat. According to the team, these findings implied that acetic acid turns on genes that trigger the production of enzymes that break down fat and prevent weight gain. This hypothesis prompted them to investigate the effect of acetic acid on human weight.
During the 12-week follow-up study, obese volunteers were asked to either drink a beverage containing ACV or a drink containing no vinegar at all. The authors of the study found that people who drank ACV daily had lower triglycerides, body weight, BMI, waist measurements and less belly fat, compared to the non-vinegar drinkers.
Improve digestive health
While acetic acid can kill the “bad” bacteria that cause digestive issues, at the same time it promotes the growth of “good” bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, making it an ideal natural antibiotic.
A digestive tonic made from one teaspoon raw honey, one teaspoon ACV and a glass of warm water just before a heavy meal has long been a natural cure to settle an upset stomach and prevent indigestion. Furthermore, vinegar could potentially help treat ulcerative colitis which is a chronic condition that affects millions of people around the world
Not all that glitters is gold
ACV may seem the cure-for-all, however, know that it has its downsides too. Always make sure to dilute the vinegar since the acetic acid can damage tooth enamel or the esophagus. Also, regular use of ACV may deplete potassium levels in the body.
One last thing, when buying ACV make sure to buy the raw, cloudy vinegar with the “mother” which contains the beneficial compounds including probiotics.