A Brief History Of Apple Cider Vinegar- The Benefits Of Adding Apple Cider Vinegar In Your Diet – Nutritional Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar– Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects – Are There Any?
Most people have a friend who insists on drinking apple cider vinegar with water first thing in the morning. Or your grandmother or mom insists that you include apple cider in your daily routine.
Either way, apple cider is among the most common ingredient you’ll find in the kitchen because many people believed that it could do wonders to the body.
The question is this: is apple cider safe and effective?
Stick around because here’s everything you need to know about apple cider vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar, In A Nutshell
Apple cider vinegar or ACV is made of fermented apples and water. In fact, combining apples with yeast and water make apple cider vinegar. Yeast will convert apple’s natural sugars into alcohol. Thereafter, bacteria will be added into the mixture to process fermentation.
As a result, alcohol will turn into acetic acid, which has strong acidic properties especially when concentrated. Its pH level is between 2 and 3.
Be wary of the type of ACV you buy in the market. There are two types:
- Distilled ACV – It looks clear in the bottle. This is also the most common type you’ll find in the supermarket.
- Mother ACV – This is raw, unfiltered, and unpasteurized ACV. You will see cloudy substances either floating inside the bottle or at the bottom of the bottle, which are safe to consume. These substances have enzymes, protein, and friendly bacteria that are responsible for the murky appearance.
Apple Cider Vinegar History
Did you know that once upon a time, apples weren’t for eating? Surprisingly, apples were too bitter that people would normally extract the juices and let it ferment.
Sometime 2500 BC, Aryans developed soured apple wine, ACV’s precedent. Eventually, this drink was passed on to the Romans. When they sailed in the British Isles around 55 B.C., Romans discovered that the locals had cider-like drink made from apples. Romans loved it and soon enough, this drink spread across Europe.
When Europeans settled in the Americas, they brought with them this drink as well. Since they had a hard time growing barley and grains, which are essential for brewing beer, apples became a feasible alternative. In fact, apples grew easily in New England, thereby making cider as the best alternative for beer.
More than being a drink, apple cider vinegar was a popular treatment for several ailments. This includes dandruff, toothache, and even mushroom poisoning. Ancient Persians dilute apple cider vinegar to prevent accumulation of fatty tissues in their body.
During the U.S. Civil War and World War 1, ACV was also used to treat wounds caused by countless battles.
Since then, apple cider vinegar is a popular treatment for several diseases. It is also used inside the kitchen for variety of reasons including cooking, salad dressings, and even as a preservative.
ACV is also included in cosmetic products, often in toners, soap, and shampoo, because of its antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
Apple Cider Vinegar Nutrition Facts
How nutritious is apple cider vinegar? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, apple cider vinegar has the following nutrients per 100 grams:
- Water – 88.24 grams
- Energy – 46 kcal
- Total fat – 0.13 grams
- Protein – 0.1 grams
- Carbohydrates – 11.3 grams
- Total dietary fiber – 0.2 grams
- Calcium – 8 milligrams
- Sugar – 9.62 grams
- Magnesium – 5 milligrams
- Potassium – 101 milligrams
- Phosphorus – 7 milligrams
- Sodium – 4 milligrams
- Vitamin C – 0.9 milligrams
- Zinc – 0.02 milligrams
It is also packed with B vitamins like Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B-6, Thiamin, and Choline.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
Apple cider vinegar’s popularity is on the rise. This is because many people believe of its many health benefits and how it could help address various conditions. The question now is how true are these claims?
Below are apple cider vinegar’s health benefits:
Vinegar is known to kill pathogens, bacteria included. In fact, this is also the reason why vinegar is often used as a cleaning and disinfecting agent. Consequently, it is also used to treat various infections with Hippocrates even using this to clean wounds.
Moreover, vinegar prevents the growth of bacteria such as E. coli on food. This reduces the chances of spoilage as well.
Why is this possible? It’s all because of acetic acid. This substance, which is ACV’s main component is capable of killing harmful bacteria and prevent them from growing.
Lowers Blood Sugar
One of the most notable health benefits of apple cider vinegar is it helps lower blood sugar.
According to a study posted in Diabetes Care, vinegar helps improve insulin sensitivity by 19 to 34 percent especially after eating high carb meals. Consequently, it helps reduce insulin response and lower blood sugar.
Another study published in the same journal showed similar results. People with diabetes were asked to consume two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime. As a result, fasting blood sugar was reduced by four percent the following morning.
The good thing about using ACV to lower blood sugar is that it is not limited to those with diabetes. In fact, people who are not diagnosed with this condition can continuously drink this to ensure that blood sugar levels are normal.
Helps In Weight Loss
According to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity in America as of 2018 is at 42.4 percent. This is an alarming number. After all, obesity could lead to several health complications including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke among others.
This is where apple cider vinegar comes in. In fact, one of the reasons why many include ACV in their diet is because of its ability to help you lose weight.
One study showed that taking vinegar contributes to increased feeling of fullness. As a result, participants ate 200 to 275 fewer calories for the rest of the day.
Another study involving 175 obese individuals showed how helpful ACV is. After 12 weeks of daily intake, experts found out that apple cider vinegar contributed to reduced belly fat and weight loss. In fact, one tablespoon of ACV led to weight loss of 1.2 kilograms while two tablespoons led to 1.7 kilograms.
A more recent study also showed how effective ACV is for weight loss. Both groups were assigned a restricted calorie diet; however, one group was given apple cider vinegar. Both groups lost weight but the ACV group lost more.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol Levels
You know that obesity could lead to an array of medical conditions, including high cholesterol. When you have high cholesterol, you are more prone to even more serious conditions like heart disease or stroke.
This is where ACV comes in.
A study involving obese rats was conducted to check the effect of ACV on cholesterol levels. Based on the said study, ACV’s antioxidant properties helped reduce total cholesterol levels as well as LDL or bad cholesterol and triglycerides. This is beneficial in reducing your risk of developing serious diseases.
Improves Skin Health
Did you know that apple cider vinegar is a common remedy for various skin conditions? Believe it or not, it can help treat eczema and dry skin.
This is because of apple cider vinegar’s antibacterial properties. This will prevent various skin infections from staying longer in your skin. It also improves the skin’s barrier function to ensure that the skin is well hydrated.
That’s not all. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), organic ACV helps reduce itching from scaly patches. Still, NPF warned that ACV must be diluted to avoid skin burns. Also, do not apply on cracked and bleeding skin.
Still, be careful. ACV is highly acidic and may cause skin burns. It is best to dilute it first with water or mix a few teaspoons on your toner.
Helpful Against Yeast Infection
This is one of the benefits of apple cider vinegar that goes beyond weight and blood sugar levels.
According to a case study published at Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a woman who suffered from chronic yeast infection was cured. This was after she applied apple cider vinegar topically compared to other integrative treatments.
Still, be careful and consult your gynecologist before you do this. Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic and may disrupt the vagina’s natural pH balance.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Also known as PCOS, this condition often comes with high levels of androgen, abnormal menstrual cycles, insulin resistance, and ovarian cysts. The good news is apple cider vinegar is also helpful against this.
Based on a Japanese study published in Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, apple cider could also help women with PCOS. Experts found out that drinking one tablespoon or 15ml of apple cider vinegar diluted in seven ounces of water recorded an improvement in their hormone levels. Consequently, they experienced regular periods every month.
Further studies are needed but this study showed promising results especially for women with PCOS.
In case indigestion is your issue, apple cider vinegar could help.
ACV is acidic because of its acetic acid component. When ingested, it has the ability to increase your stomach’s acidity level, which means more pepsin enzyme will be created. More pepsin means your body can easily break down protein.
Apparently, there are no definitive studies that could support this claim. Nonetheless, it won’t hurt if you dilute up to 30ml of apple cider vinegar in your glass full of water and drink it before meals.
Just make sure to stick to this dosage to reduce adverse effects, which you will learn more about below.
Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects
Apple cider vinegar comes with tons of health benefits, including helping you lose weight. Still, this doesn’t mean you should consume as much as you can.
Some of its side effects include:
Delayed Stomach Emptying
ACV delays the time where food leaves the stomach. As a result, the body’s absorption of food into the bloodstream slows down, too.
This could be problematic if you have gastroparesis, a medical condition found in many patients with type 1 diabetes. Keep in mind that timing insulin with meals is crucial. If the food stays longer in the stomach, then it could lead to nausea, heartburn, and bloating.
Unpleasant Digestive Symptoms
ACV’s acetic acid decreases your appetite by making you feel fuller longer. Unfortunately, there are some who experienced this due to indigestion.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity reported that after drinking 25 grams of apple cider vinegar, some participants also experienced nausea. Nonetheless, the study noted that vinegar’s smell also contributed to the nauseous feeling.
Acetic acid is highly acidic. Consequently, it is also considered as one of the most common acids that cause throat burns. Although there is no concrete study that correlates apple cider vinegar with throat burns, there was one report about a woman who experienced such after taking apple cider vinegar tablets.
Based on the said report, ACV tablet lodged in the woman’s throat and experienced difficulty in swallowing for six months.
Again, this is due to ACV’s acidic nature.
A report showed that a 14-year old girl had erosion on her nose after applying several drops of ACV to remove two moles. Another incident was reported involving a six-year old who developed leg burns after his mother treated his leg infection with apple cider vinegar.
Low Potassium Levels And Bone Loss
As of this writing, there is still no definitive study that will link apple cider vinegar with low potassium. On the other hand, there was a case indicating such.
A 28-year old woman drinks 250ml apple cider vinegar diluted in water everyday and been doing so for six years. When admitted to the hospital, doctors found out that she had low potassium level among others. She was also diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Doctors theorized that it might be due to high intake of ACV everyday. Unfortunately, the minerals leached from her bones to shield the acidity of her blood.
This may be an isolated case, but it’s better to be safe.
Erosion Of Tooth Enamel
According to the International Dental Journal, food and beverages with high acidity level could damage tooth enamel. In fact, you could loose up to 20 percent of minerals from the teeth after four hours of drinking vinegar.
There was also a case study involving a 15-year old girl who drank one cup of undiluted apple cider vinegar everyday. She suffered from severe dental decay as a result of this habit.
Interaction With Drugs
Certain medications may cause adverse effects when combined with apple cider vinegar. This includes:
Medication for diabetes, which could further lower blood sugar and potassium levels
Digoxin (Lanoxin) since it could lower potassium levels further
The bottom line is small amounts of ACV is fine. Make sure to dilute it with water and rinse your mouth after drinking.
Its effect on pregnant and lactating women as well as kids have not yet been studied. Avoid as much as possible to avoid complications.
Apple Cider Vinegar Storage
You cannot use the entire bottle of apple cider vinegar in one sitting. Because of its many health benefits, you want to ensure that it will have a longer shelf life. This leads you to the next question: how to store ACV.
Generally, ACV does not expire. Its main component, acetic acid, acts as its preservative. In fact, it also contributes to longer shelf life.
To be sure:
- Store in an airtight container.
- Place in a cool, dark place that is away from sunlight.
- There’s no need to refrigerate it.
Overtime, you will notice aesthetic changes like cloudy sediments at the bottom of the bottle. That’s fine. In fact, it happens due to ACV’s exposure to oxygen, or oxygenation, every time you open the lid. It also releases sulfur dioxide and citric acid, two of the vinegar’s preservatives.
Nonetheless, don’t worry since this won’t affect the shelf life and apple cider vinegar’s nutritional value. Believe it or not, it’s not dangerous to consume even if it’s way past the expiration date.
Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe / Usage
You can use apple cider vinegar in several ways. It is often drizzled in salad and serves as a salad dressing. Another popular way of using ACV is by diluting one to tablespoons of to a cup of water for drinking.
The truth is you can use it in many ways. You can try any of the following:
- Steak Marinade – ACV gives sweet and sour flavor, which is why it has become a popular marinade for steak. Combine this with wine, soy sauce, onion, garlic, and cayenne pepper for more flavor.
- Food Preservative – Add apple cider vinegar on your dishes to preserve. Since it is acidic in nature, it can easily kill bacteria, thereby reducing spoilage.
- Soothe Sore Throat – This popular home remedy for sore throat is being used for years. Simply dilute apple cider vinegar and then use it for gargling.
- As A Toner – Dilute two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 250ml water. Dip a cotton ball in the mixture and wipe it around your damp face.
- Natural Deodorizer – ACV has antibacterial properties that could get rid of bad smell. Mix apple cider vinegar with water and use it as a deodorizing spray.
- All-Purpose Cleaning Agent – Mix half cup of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water to get rid of bacteria. It’s a natural alternative to cleaning products sold in the market. You can also use this to clean the plates.
- Fruit Fly Trapper – Pour apple cider vinegar in a cup and then add few drops of dish soap. This ensures that trapped flies will sink.
- Hair Rinse – To do this, mix apple cider vinegar and water in equal parts. Pour the mixture over your hair and let it stay for five to 10 minutes before rinsing. You can also use this mixture and massage on the scalp to get rid of dandruff.
- Toothbrush Cleaner – Toothbrush can be a breeding ground of bacteria. You can get rid of those by combining 120ml water, 30ml apple cider vinegar, and two teaspoons of baking soda. Dip the toothbrush and let it stay there for 30 minutes. Rinse well before using the toothbrush.
Who says apple cider vinegar is only for the kitchen? Apparently, there are many things you can do with it.
Apple Cider Vinegar Alternatives
There are many things you can do with apple cider vinegar, whether inside the kitchen, to scrub the sink, sore throat remedy, or even as a deodorant. What happens if you ran out?
Here are some alternatives:
- For salad dressings, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or lemon juice can be a good substitute for apple cider vinegar
- Plain white or distilled vinegar plus lemon juice can also be an alternative.
- For cooking, white wine vinegar is a good substitute, but you need to double the amount. If the recipe calls for one teaspoon of ACV, then use two teaspoons of white wine vinegar.
- Red wine vinegar can also be substituted for ACV; however, it has less tart. Add an extra teaspoon of red wine vinegar for each tablespoon used.
- If you use apple cider vinegar as a drink, kombucha is a good alternative. This fermented drink is also healthy and tastes better than ACV.
- Distilled vinegar can also replace ACV as a cleaning agent. This is cheaper, too.
- Lemon juice is also a great alternative for hair rinse and body wash.
The good thing about apple cider alternatives is that it is readily available and affordable as well.
The Bottom Line
One of the most trusted products in the market is apple cider vinegar. Given its nutritional components and many health benefits, it’s not surprising why many people are betting on this.
Don’t get too excited. ACV means well but if used excessively, it may cause several problems in your body. Use it accordingly and only when needed. More importantly, consult your doctor regarding your intention to use ACV especially if you are on your medications.
This way, you can enjoy apple cider vinegar’s many uses without compromising your health.