Sometimes the simplest foods can have profound benefits. Apple cider vinegar has been used in traditional cooking for thousands of years, in everything from soups and salad dressings to food preservation. Made from the fermented juice of ripe apples, it has an unmistakable tangy-sweet smell and distinctive golden-milky color.
Apple cider (ac) vinegar has literally hundreds of uses. It supports a healthy pH balance for the skin and hair, and has been used to successfully treat all manner of skin problems. For example, it is indispensible if you get cut by a piece of coral at the beach to prevent infection.
But the benefits of taking ac vinegar as a supplement are even more numerous. Folklore tells us to take it for nearly everything that might possibly go wrong in the body. While that might be an exaggeration, here are a few ways this simple brew can have profound effects.
Taking a teaspoon of ac vinegar in a glass of water a few minutes before your meals helps your digestion in several ways:
- It helps metabolize protein so you can more effectively utilize its base materials – amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of nearly every tissue in the body. Better digestion of proteins translates to more available amino acids in the body.
- It reduces acid reflux by creating a more acidic environment in the stomach. Acid reflux is actually caused by too little stomach acid, not too much.
- It stimulates the gastric juices to help break down heavy food or poorly combined foods.
- Because ac vinegar is anti-biotic, it can stop diarrhea caused by bacterial infections.
Apple cider vinegar helps maintain a healthy alkaline pH in the bloodstream. The blood’s pH directly affects energy levels, metabolism, immunity, and inflammation. Cooked foods, sugar, processed foods, stress, and toxic environments all make the blood more acidic.
Even though ac vinegar is an acid and stimulates the production of beneficial stomach acids, consuming it actually raises the pH of the bloodstream and makes it more alkaline. It is much easier to fight or prevent disease when the blood is alkaline.
Apple cider vinegar is naturally anti-glycemic, which means it helps keep blood sugar levels in check. This is helpful for anyone who is trying to prevent or heal from diabetes.
A few notable studies have been conducted to measure the effectiveness of ac vinegar for diabetics. One study found that glucose levels in type 2 diabetics were lowered if they took 2 tablespoons of ac vinegar in water before bed. Another study discovered that people with insulin resistance had less spiking of blood sugar levels from a high-carbohydrate meal if they had an ac vinegar drink first.
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to support weight loss efforts. It is a natural appetite suppressant. Taking a teaspoon or two in a glass of water about 20 minutes before a meal helps you feel full sooner, meaning you are less likely to overeat.
AC vinegar naturally helps the liver’s detoxification process. When the liver is functioning optimally, toxins are more likely to be passed out of the body rather than being stored as fat. Including ac vinegar in the diet also boosts metabolism, stimulates circulation, and reduces water retention.
Apple cider vinegar shows some promising signs of being able to help prevent or even heal cancer. This is partly based on the reasons already mentioned – controlling blood sugar levels, increasing stomach acid, and alkalinizing the blood stream.
It also supports the lymphatic system, the cleansing system of the body that directly affects immunity. Consuming ac vinegar breaks up mucus and cleanses the lymph nodes. This translates to fewer toxins remaining trapped in the body’s fluids.
Some preliminary studies have found that ac vinegar can slow cancer growth even kill cancer cells, but there is not enough evidence to know for certain. But as it has so many other benefits, taking a small amount (1-2 tablespoons in water) daily may prove helpful in healing from cancer.
A note of warning: while apple cider vinegar is great for many uses both internally and externally, it is highly acidic. You should always dilute it with water before drinking it, and mix it with water or oil before applying to your skin or hair.
Extensive use of apple cider vinegar can reduce potassium levels, so be sure you are eating plenty of potassium-rich foods. It also contains chromium, which can alter insulin levels, so diabetics should consult a health care provider before using ac vinegar extensively.
It is important to get organic apple cider vinegar that still has “the Mother” in it. This means it has not been heated or filtered, processes that remove many of the beneficial enzymes. Apple cider vinegar does not need refrigeration. I have heard it will turn sour after a couple years, but I have never had a bottle last long enough to find out.
Enjoy using this traditional fermented food to support your health in numerous ways.