What The Heck Is: Apple Cider Vinegar

What The Heck Is: Apple Cider Vinegar
June 4, 2016 admin

What The Heck Is: Apple Cider Vinegar

By The Good Market

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“26 genius benefits of apple cider vinegar;” “surprising apple cider vinegar uses;” “25 ways apple cider vinegar will change your life.”

A quick scan of Google is all it takes to become convinced of apple cider vinegar’s seemingly magical properties: It cures cancer! It melts fat! It zaps bacteria! It promotes shiny hair, mends a sore throat, treats nail fungus, cleans kitchenware, and makes your teeth super shiny white!

But, exactly what is this sensationally useful liquid — and is it really the cure-all elixir that alleged “health sites” have made it out to be?

Alas, as with most things in life, since it seems too good to be true, it likely is. There’s actually little scientific consensus about the benefits of apple cider vinegar (lovingly referred to as ACV by its fans). The research supporting its purported cancer-fighting properties, for instance, are murky at best.

But that’s not to say that we should throw our bottle of ACV out the window. Vinegars have been part of ancient folk remedies for millennia (more than 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates was using vinegar to treat wounds, and beautiful Cleopatra also downed the stuff). Plenty of anecdotal evidence — and some reputable studies, too — support some of ACV’s merits.

Before we dive into those, however, a brief explainer on what apple cider vinegar actually is: ACV, in short, is the result of exposing crushed apples to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol. Bacteria is then added to the alcohol solution, which ferments it further, turning it into acetic acid.

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, like Bragg’s, also contains the “mother”— strands of enzymes and protein chock-full of living nutrients and bacteria (it’s similar to the “mother” found in kombucha). The “mother” gives the vinegar a cloudy appearance, and some believe it’s responsible for most of ACV’s purported benefits.

Some people swear by the ritual of drinking apple cider vinegar mixed with water, lemon juice and honey in the mornings “to get the system churning” (a notion that at least this writer can attest to!) If that sounds too intense though, you can add a splash of ACV to perk up a soup dish, or use it to enhance your salads (olive oil, ACV, honey and salt and pepper make for a simple vinaigrette; add fresh lemon juice, mustard or tahini, and minced garlic for an additional kick).

So, what are some of ACV’s top uses and benefits? Here are 11 our favourites:

  • It could keep blood sugar levels in check

    One of the most promising of apple cider vinegar’s benefits is in the area of type 2 diabetes. Some studies have shown that taking vinegar before meals can increase insulin sensitivity; and reduce insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals.

  • It could lower your blood pressure:

    Animal studies suggest that blood pressure can be reduced by the regular consumption of vinegar.

  • It could negate some of the carbs you eat:

    The acetic acid in ACV interferes with stomach enzymes responsible for digesting starch. This could mean that your body won’t absorb some of the calories from carbs that you’ve eaten and could, in theory, support weight loss. Additionally, since a tablespoon of ACV is only 3 calories, it’s a low-cal way to flavour foods.

  • It may balance your body's pH levels

    Though ACV is an acidic solution, it’s thought to have an alkalising effect on the body. Proponents of the alkaline diet say that since our blood is slightly alkaline (with a normal pH level of between 7.35 and 7.45), our diet should reflect this for optimal health. Consuming some ACV every day is thought to help the body maintain a balanced pH level.

  • It soothes a sore throat

    It’s a popular home remedy Feel the telltale prickle of a sore throat? Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar with warm water and a teaspoon of sea salt, and gargle the solution several times a day.

  • It battles bad breath

    This is another oft-touted folk cure. Gargle with ACV and water, or drink the vinegar with some H20 and honey to nix bad breath.

  • It deodorizes smelly feet

    Sounds strange, but advocates swear by this method. You can either submerge your feet in a basin of warm water and a half-cup of ACV for several minutes; or soak some baby wipes in the vinegar before storing them in the fridge overnight. Keep them in a ziplock bag until you’re ready to use them. The vinegar smell may seem strong at first, but the scent will disappear once it dries.

  • It alleviates heartburn

    Too much ACV could irritate the stomach, but in small quantities, it may help with indigestion and acid reflux. Add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water, and sip it 30 minutes before meals.

  • It may relieve muscle soreness

    The acetic acid in ACV interferes with stomach enzymes responsible for digesting starch. This could mean that your body won’t absorb some of the calories from carbs that you’ve eaten and could, in theory, support weight loss. Additionally, since a tablespoon of ACV is only 3 calories, it’s a low-cal way to flavour foods.

  • It nixes dandruff and soothes an itchy scalp

    TV’s Dr. Oz is a fervent advocate of ACV’s anti-dandruff properties. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and spritz it onto your scalp after shampooing. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, before rinsing thoroughly.

  • It cleans fruit and veggies

    ACV is said to be the most effective, and least toxic, way to clean fresh produce (which are often clogged with pesticides and other chemicals). Just let the fruit and vegetables sit in a basin of water with 2 tablespoons of ACV for 15 minutes. Give ‘em a gentle scrub and rinse, and you’re done!

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