The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
By Sarah Axtell, ND • April 14, 2012
Apple cider vinegar is one of the oldest foods used as medicines. It is formed from the fermentation of apple juice to hard apple cider, followed by a second fermentation to apple cider vinegar. It retains all the nutritional benefits of the apples from which it was made along with the extra acids and enzymes produced during the two fermentation steps. It is the sum of these ingredients which give apple cider vinegar its stellar health benefits!
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Taking apple cider vinegar before a meal increases stomach acid production, thereby improving digestion and nutrient uptake.
- Apple cider vinegar contains organic acids, such as acetic acid, malic acid and lactic acid. It is these organic acids along with amino acids that give apple cider vinegar its antiseptic property, which help deter the growth of unwanted bacteria and yeast in the digestive tract.
- The organic acid, malic acid, helps dissolve uric acid deposits that form around joints. That means apple cider vinegar is potentially useful for Gout.
- Apple cider vinegar contains pectin, a water-soluble fiber, which absorbs water, fat, toxins, and cholesterol in the digestive tract and removes them from the body.
- Its pectin content also helps impove glucose metabolsim and lowers blood pressure, thus helpful in improving heart health and diabetes. In fact, a 2005 study at Arizona State University found that apple cider vinegar slowed the increase of blood sugar when consumed before high-carb meals.
- In addition to water-soluble fiber, apple cider vinegar contains insoluble fiber. This insoluble fiber aids in digestion and elimination, promotes regularity of bowel movements, and contributes to bowel cleansing.
- When used as part of a hot vinegar pack, apple cider vinegar has tremendous pain-relieving qualities. Hot vinegar packs ease the pain of gallstone attacks, kidney stones, intestinal cramping and colic, menstrual cramps and pelvic pain. It involves applying a heated mixture of apple cider vinegar and water to the area of pain, typically the pelvis or abdomen. Talk to your ND about how to do this and when it is indicated.
- Apple cider vinegar can be added to soaked grains and legumes to reduce phytic acid. Phytic acid is found in grains and legumes and inhibits the absorption of essential nutrients, such as magnesium, iron, and calcium. So the next time you make rice or bulgar, consider soaking it overnight with water and apple cider vinegar to maximize your nutrient intake!
Uses and Dosage
Apple cider vinegar before meals is a routine recommendation I make to my patients. It encourages stomach acid production before a meal which then increases the absorption of nutrients. Taking 1-3 tsps of apple cider vinegar mixed in 6-8 oz water 15-20 minutes before a meal is typically the recommended dose. This is especially important before large meals, typically dinner.
To soak your grains and legumes, cover with water and add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar for each cup of grains or legumes. Soak overnight and then drain and rinse. Cook grains or legumes accordingly.
Not All Apple Cider Vinegar is Created Equal
The best type of apple cider vinegar is made from cold-pressed, organically grown whole apples- in which no chemicals or preservatives have been added, and which contains the “mother of vinegar,” and is not pasteruized. The “mother of vinegar” is the natural gelatinous substance formed during the second fermentation step. Because the “mother of vinegar” will settle to the bottom of the bottle, it is important to shake the bottle prior to pouring in order to obtain alll the nutrients. I recommend Braag’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar available at any health food store or in the health food section of your everyday grocery store.
The clear apple cider vinegar available at many grocery stores is void of all the health benefits stated above. Be sure to buy organic, unfiltered vinegar with a brownish/orangish color to it (not sparkling white).
Sweet ‘N Tangy Energizing Tonic Recipe
I drink this daily as a midday, caffeine-free pick-me-up. If you’ve ever tried kombucha, it has a similar taste- tangy and bubbly. I call it the “Poor Man’s Kombucha” because it is much more afforable than kombucha, which is $3.50 a bottle! This is not even a buck per serving and it is a true treat for both your taste buds and your health!
8 oz. lemon flavored sparking mineral water
4 oz. juice of your choice (I like pomegranite, tart cherry, blueberry or lemon-ginger-echinacea blend)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Combine the above ingredients. Cheers to health and vitality!
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.