An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Fact or fiction? Well, if you answered fact, apparently you are right – so long as you eat the peel. Apples are one of the world’s most widely grown fruit and, if taking the original statement literally, it would take you more than 20 years to eat an apple a day because there are almost 7,500 varieties! Given their appeel(did you see what we did there …?), it is no wonder they became the main ingredient in a vinegar purported to be so good for you … apple cider vinegar.
This popular vinegar is made from the fermented juice of crushed apples and is created using a two-step process. Firstly, yeast and bacteria are added to the crushed apple juice to start the alcohol fermentation process (which is effectively turning the sugars into alcohol). The second step is converting the alcohol into vinegar by adding another bacteria. The acetic acid created by the added bacteria combine to create that sour taste so dominant in vinegar.
While common medical opinion states that there is no medicinal or nutritional benefit to apple cider vinegar (known as ACV for short), studies since the 1970’s have revealed some encouraging results particularly around its use for weight loss. It is also believed that it can aid in lowering blood sugar levels, reducing cholesterol and protecting us against cancer. In addition to this, you may have heard all sorts of things that ACV can do in the way of cleaning, but that’s a whole other blog.
So, let’s look at some of those health benefits in more detail and ways you can include ACV into your diet. For the purpose of this blog we are going to be discussing organic ACV. The reason being that it is unfiltered (so less processed) and still contains the ‘mother,’ which is a collection of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria. The organic version will look murky in contrast to the filtered/processed version and may have some sediment in the bottom of the bottle.
Reducing Blood Sugar Levels
We all know that high blood sugar is not a good thing as it can lead to a host of medical issues, one such culprit being Diabetes.
The introduction of ACV into your diet to help with reducing your bloody sugar levels can have a powerful effect. Taking two tablespoons of ACV diluted with water before you go to bed each night can reduce fasting blood sugar levels in the morning by 4%. It has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity while eating a high carbohydrate meal by 19-34% and can reduce blood sugar by 34% after eating 50 grams of white bread.
Please note though to always check with your doctor first before taking part in any regular dietary change, as certain medications may have adverse effects if combined with ACV.
Reducing Cholesterol / Helping the Heart
Keeping our hearts healthy is something we should all be mindful of and a good way to do this is by monitoring our cholesterol levels. Most studies in this area have been performed using animals, however do suggest that ACV can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is hugely beneficial as heart disease is the world’s most common cause of premature death. One study by BBC TV in 2016 found that by drinking two tablespoons of diluted ACV twice a day, reduced overall cholesterol levels by 13%.
Some previous human studies have uncovered that vinegar has an encouraging effect on increasing satiety (the feeling of fullness). So obviously the fuller and more satisfied you feel, the less you are likely to eat – aiding in weight loss. The results of one particular study on 175 people with obesity showed that by taking one or two tablespoons of ACV while eating a high carbohydrate meal, they felt full quicker and ended up eating 200-275 fewer calories for the rest of the day, resulting in weight loss and reduced belly fat over a three-month period of around 1.2 – 1.7 kilograms. While that’s not a huge amount, it is something rather easy to incorporate into your daily lifestyle and as ACV only contains around three calories per tablespoon, it’s not going to be counter-productive.
Protecting us Against Cancer
Most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with this terrible disease, which is caused by cellular changes in the body, where cells rapidly divide and spread into surrounding tissue. The idea with ACV is that it makes the blood more alkaline which helps prevent cancer cells from growing. Most studies so far have been conducted either in test tubes or on rats, so as with any new idea, it is best to seek professional advice.
So … now that you are armed with a little more knowledge on the benefits and use of ACV, we hope you can conduct your own research into ways it can benefit YOU. But please remember, don’t take more than two tablespoons per day and always either include it in your cooking or dilute it in a large glass of water before drinking. Vinegar is acidic and can have an irritating effect on your throat or stomach if taken straight.
Perhaps after testing its health benefits you can test it out as a household cleaner. Let us know how you get on!