It’s been around for ages and has multiple uses and now it’s becoming known as a superfood. What is this mystery product? You may find it in your refrigerator or cabinet; it’s cider vinegar
Cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made by the fermentation of apple cider. During the fermentation process, sugar in the apple cider is broken down by bacteria and yeast into alcohol and then into vinegar. Like many types of vinegar, apple cider vinegar contains a substance called acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar also contains some lactic, citric and malic acids
What are the health benefits?
Is drinking cider vinegar going to improve your health? Fix your gout? Balance your blood sugar? According to history and hearsay cider vinegar is a cure all for a multitude of complaints including acne, allergies, arthritis, fatigue, diabetes, gout, poor digestion and dandruff. But what’s fact and what’s fiction?
The most famous proponent of the benefit of drinking cider vinegar goes way back! Hippocrates, possibly the most famous ‘doctor’ of them all, claimed it would cure many common ailments including ear infections and skin rash. Though no modern research has yet verified these two assertions, cider vinegar’s popularity as a home cure all continues unabated
Some preliminary research suggests that vinegar (both cider vinegar and other types) may benefit people with diabetes. For example, in a 2007 study published in Diabetes Care, researchers found that type 2 diabetes patients who consumed two tablespoons of cider vinegar at bedtime showed favourable changes in blood sugar levels the following morning. And in an animal-based study published in the Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, scientists found that diabetic rats fed a cider-vinegar-enhanced diet for four weeks experienced an increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol (as well as a reduction in their levels of triglycerides, a type of harmful blood fat)
There’s limited scientific support for the claim that apple cider vinegar can promote weight loss. However, one small study (published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry in 2009) found that obese people who consumed acetic acid daily for 12 weeks experienced significant decreases in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference, and triglycerides. In tests on mice, another 2009 study (published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry) found that acetic acid may help prevent the buildup of body fat and certain liver fats
It’s unknown whether these studies tested the use of acetic acid derived from cider vinegar or from other vinegar types
Acetic acid may help lower high blood pressure, according to an animal-based study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry in 2001. Again, it’s unknown whether this study tested the use of acetic acid derived from cider vinegar or from another vinegar type
Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, a 2006 study found that rats fed acetic acid for 19 days had a significant reduction in total cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Alkaline acid balance
Some alternative practitioners recommend using cider vinegar to restore alkaline acid balance. The theory behind the alkaline diet is that our blood is slightly alkaline (with a normal pH level of between 7.35 and 7.45) and that our diet should reflect this pH level. Proponents of the alkaline-acid theory believe that a diet high in acid-producing foods leads to lack of energy, excessive mucous production, infections, anxiety, irritability, headache, sore throat, nasal and sinus congestion, allergic reactions, and increased risk of conditions such as arthritis and gout
Despite being an acidic solution, some proponents of cider vinegar believe it has an alkalinizing effect on the body. As such, they recommend one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in water as a daily health tonic. Although this is a popular remedy, its effectiveness hasn’t been researched
How do you get the benefits of apple cider vinegar?
- Use only raw unpasteurised cider vinegar (available in several varieties from all good health food stores). Unpasteurised cider vinegar is safe because the acid levels will kill unfavourable bacteria. It contains abundantly more living goodness that ‘dead’ supermarket versions. The thin web-like strands you will find settling in raw apple cider vinegar are the living part, called the ‘mother’. They produce copious quantities of enzymes, malic and tartaric acids, and valuable minerals, including potassium
- Try taking 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar (plus 1 teaspoon of honey if you prefer) in ½ a glass of water prior to meals. See how you feel over a couple of weeks, noting changes to ease of digestion, quantity of food intake and level of sugar cravings after meals
- if you’re not about to eat, brush your teeth after taking the vinegar. Too much apple cider vinegar has been found to damage tooth enamel due to its acidity
Cider vinegar has been utilised as a medicine since the days of ancient philosophers, and the power of cider vinegar still lives today!