6 Surprising Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
For 5,000 years, people have been fermenting apple juice into vinegar and drinking it for improved health. ACV, as it’s known, stimulates circulation, aids in liver detoxification, and supports the immune system. Hippocrates – you know him as a father of modern medicine and his namesake Hippocratic Oath – prescribed it mixed with a bit of honey to help coughs and colds.
When buying apple cider vinegar to enhance your health, we recommend an unpasteurized ACV made from organic apples. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar is a great choice. While unpasteurized can sound scary, it’s worth noting that the natural acidity of vinegar prevents the growth of any unhealthy bacteria.
If you’ve never consumed ACV, its appearance can be off-putting. It looks murky with some “cobweb-like strings” in the bottle. Those are strands of live yeast which tell you that the cider is high in quality. The yeast contains beneficial bacteria that provide healing benefits to your body.
ACV is a low-calorie health drink! A tablespoon of ACV has between 3 and 5 calories and very little sugar. But use caution when you drink it: it’s very strong, and is best consumed mixed with 8 oz. of water and sipped through a straw to protect tooth enamel. You can add honey for taste. Drinking a tablespoon or two per day has beneficial effects:
1. Helps Maintain a Healthy Alkaline pH in the Body
One of the healthiest things you can do for your body is to promote a more alkaline internal state. Unfortunately, many of the foods our culture embraces ‒ sugar, fried foods, red meats – promote acidity in the body. A small change in the body’s pH can have a profound impact. Although ACV is acidic, when you drink it, it promotes alkalinity in the body. This can enhance energy levels and boost your ability to fight off disease.
2. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetes Care Journal reports that two tablespoons of ACV taken at bedtime by adults with well-controlled Type 2 diabetes lower glucose levels overnight because of the anti-glycemic effect of ACV’s acetic acid.
An Arizona State University study also supports the therapeutic effects of ACV: researchers found that adults at risk for Type 2 diabetes who consume two tablespoons of ACV in water before bedtime lowered their blood sugar levels between 4 and 6 percent by morning.
3. Improves Heart Health
There is evidence that ACV can lower blood pressure, likely because it contains potassium which helps balance sodium levels for ideal blood pressure. It has also been found to increase HDL or “good” cholesterol, and some studies have found that it can help control triglycerides.
4. Promotes Liver Detoxification
As it balances the body’s pH levels, ACV also detoxes organs, specifically the liver. It helps remove harmful environmental toxins as it stimulates circulation, flushing out the organs and improving the body’s natural filtration process. It also breaks up mucus, which relieves cold symptoms (See? Hippocrates knew a thing or two!) and improves lymph circulation, which boosts immune system function.
5. Improves Digestion
ACV stimulates digestion by promoting the juices that break down food. It can relieve heartburn, indigestion, bloating and gas. The healthy acids contained in ACV improve digestion by controlling unwanted bacteria and yeast in the digestive tract and throughout the body. However, if you suffer from an ulcer, ACV will not provide relief.
6. Accelerates Weight Loss
Vinegars of all types are used to boost weight loss because they help provide a feeling of fullness. There is growing evidence that consuming ACV regularly can help lower body weight, abdominal fat, and BMI. A 2009 study in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry showed that people who consumed two tablespoons of ACV per day for 12 weeks achieved significant losses in weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides.