Let's discuss an ingredient that even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was said to have used and prescribed: apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar (also referred to as ACV) is a type of vinegar made through the fermentation of apple cider. Specifically, it's made by crushing apples to squeeze out the juice. Bacteria and yeast are then added to the juice to start the alcoholic fermentation process, which turns the sugars into alcohol. Then, in a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria. Acetic acid and malic acid give vinegar its sour taste.
Most of the apple cider vinegar you buy in the store is then filtered and pasteurized to give it a clean appearance and to kill off all the bacteria to give it a long shelf live -- but that's not the ACV we're interested in.
Many of organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar's medicinal uses come from the "mother of vinegar," which is made up of living nutrients and bacteria that you can actually see in the bottom of bottles of raw apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar as an all-around natural health remedy has been gaining in popularity, and when you look at the benefits, you won't be surprised.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Diabetes
One ACV health benefit that research has suggested is helping with diabetes. It is believed that the acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar may help prevent digestion of complex carbohydrates in your food, which would help to lower blood sugar. A few studies help support this idea. But that's just the beginning. One study found that two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels of study participants in the morning by four to six percent. Another study showed vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in 19% of subjects with type 2 diabetes and 34 percent with pre-diabetes. The net result is that taking apple cider vinegar with meals can lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Apple Cider Vinegar as a Weight Loss Aid
Another key health benefit of apple cider vinegar is weight loss. A 2009 study on mice showed that consuming acetic acid (the active component in ACV) upregulates the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes in the liver, causing a suppression in body fat accumulation. In another study, a double-blind trial showed that a daily intake of apple cider vinegar might be useful in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity.
In addition, taking vinegar seems to work as a weight loss aid by making you feel full, which in turn helps reduce the number of calories you consume. In a 2005 study, participants who consumed vinegar with a high-carb meal (a bagel and juice) consumed on average 200 to 275 less calories per day. The vinegar also helped lower glucose and insulin responses.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Throat and Sinus Issues
Apple cider vinegar is anathema to all kinds of germs that attack the throat. In effect, it acts like a sponge and draws out throat germs and toxins from the surrounding tissue. It also helps clear up the sinuses by breaking up and reducing mucous. Since it has antibacterial properties, it is also useful in helping with infections. These are a few of the reasons you'll find it in Jon Barron's Super ViraGon formula.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Skin Issues
Apple cider vinegar can help your skin in a number of ways. A concoction of two parts water and one part apple cider vinegar can be used as a skin toner. You can either apply it directly on a skin irritation or soak in a bath with about one cup of apple cider vinegar to help relieve many skin irritations such as sunburns, bug bites, and poison ivy exposure. It is also said to help fade age spots and acne scars, and help remove warts.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Kidney Stones
Apples, apples juice, and apple cider vinegar contain natural malic acid, but of the three, apple cider vinegar has the highest concentration. This is important because studies have shown that malic acid supplementation increases urinary citrate excretion and urinary pH: both of which help in dissolving calcium oxalate stones, the most common form of kidney stones.
Other Natural Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
In addition to the mentioned uses above, apple cider vinegar also has the following health benefits…
- Potassium, magnesium, and other minerals are present in the apple cider vinegar “mother.” Potassium controls the water balance in the body and maintains a healthy heart rhythm. Magnesium is a catalyst in enzyme activity, helping digestion and assisting in the uptake of calcium to form healthy bones. The “mother” is also a rich source of iron, beneficial phytochemicals, and it is high in prebiotics that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
- ACV stimulates a condition called acetolysis in which toxic wastes that are harmful to the body are broken down and rendered harmless.
- Mixing one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with water and a little honey and drinking with meals can be helpful for those with digestive problems.
Apple Cider Vinegar Around the Home
In addition to all its health benefits, vinegar can also be useful around the home for a variety of uses. Because of its antimicrobial properties, vinegar is often touted as one of the best natural cleaning agents. In fact, one study found the key ingredient in vinegar, acetic acid, is lethal to E. coli O157:H7. A combination of vinegar and lemon juice may also be effective against salmonella.
Apple cider vinegar is also touted as a key ingredient in an effective natural weed killer formula, a way to neutralize odors in the home, and a key ingredient for a water/vinegar produce bath. For the produce bath, use 10% vinegar to 90% water and briefly swish and soak your produce. However, it is not advised to do this with porous fruits like berries since they can soak up the vinegar and be damaged in the process.
Apple Cider Vinegar is also excellent in many recipes, from pickles to salad dressings. Just make sure you find unpasteurized, organic apple cider vinegar for the real health benefits. The darker or murkier the bottom of the bottle is, the better.