More and more people in today’s world are beginning to realize that the old adage: “You are what you eat” to be true. The industrialization of our food industry has led to a number of serious health problems including the skyrocketing of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
As people begin to wake up to the negative health effects of eating highly processed foods, they are also finding that there is an abundance of options for healthy, wholesome eating. Raw apple cider vinegar has long been used as a folk remedy for a number of health issues. Today, science is confirming what local communities have known for centuries: that a little bit of apple cider vinegar in your diet goes a long way.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar that is made from apple cider or apple must. When the juices from apples are extracted either with the help of an apple cider press or through letting the apples sit in water, wild yeasts colonize the juices and begin to turn the sugars in the apples into alcohol. In older, agrarian times, hard apple cider was usually made during the fall time as a way to take advantage of a bumper apple crop that couldn’t be stored for too long.
Hard apple cider and apple cider vinegar aren’t the same thing, however. To complete the process of making apple cider vinegar, a second fermentation process takes place where the alcohol is converted into vinegar by the acetic acid bacteria. By leaving the hard apple cider alcohol exposed to the air and oxygen, the oxygen loving acetic acid bacteria will eventually make their way to the alcohol.
Etymologically, the word vinegar comes from the two French words “vin” and “agre”. When placed together, this simply means “sour wine.” If you have ever left a bottle of opened wine sitting on a table for a few days, you most likely have tasted the action of these acetic acid bacteria that have begun the process of turning your wine into vinegar.
Raw apple cider vinegar differs slightly from other commercial brands of apple cider vinegar in that it is made from naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria that exist in the environment. Some processed brands of apple cider vinegar will add specialty yeast and bacteria to expedite the fermentation processes.
Four Major Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Consuming small amounts of apple cider vinegar every day purportedly offers a number of important health benefits. Even reputable medical websites like Web MD admit that raw apple cider vinegar does offer significant health enhancing properties. Below we look at four of the top health benefits that come with regularly consuming apple cider vinegar.
1. High in Acetic Acid
As we mentioned above, hard apple cider transforms from an alcoholic drink into vinegar with the help of abundance acetic acid loving bacteria. The high presence of acetic acid bacteria in apple cider vinegar is important for overall gut health. Furthermore, apple cider vinegar is proven to be high in proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria which come with their own set of antioxidants.
2. Strong Antibacterial Properties
Apple cider vinegar has also been shown to have strong antibacterial properties. This might be due to its acidity. Since many germs can’t survive in high acid environments, taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per day in a glass of water can help to kill off harmful bacteria that could be causing stomach issues.
Furthermore, apple cider vinegar is also thought to contain high levels of pectin which has a naturally soothing effect on the intestines. Coupled with high levels of probiotic and beneficial bacteria, a daily dose of apple cider vinegar does wonders for any type of upset stomach.
If you have a sore throat, the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar can also play a major role in helping to kill off the bacteria that are making you hoarse. Simply warm up a little apple cider vinegar, mix it with similarly warm water, and gargle once every hour or two. By the end of the day, you should find that your throat feels significantly better.
3. Helps to Fight Diabetes by Lowering Blood Sugar Levels
Raw apple cider vinegar has also been shown to help lower blood sugar levels which makes it a great natural medicine alternative for people dealing with diabetes. In some studies, the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar as an anti-glycemic agent is similar to that of chemical medicines.
It is believed that apple cider vinegar can lower blood sugar levels by blocking the digestion of certain starches. Additionally, regular consumption of apple cider vinegar can improve insulin sensitivity by up to 34%.
One of the easiest ways for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels is to eat a salad with an apple cider vinegar-based dressing. Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before every meal will help reduce any sort of spike in blood concentrations of insulin and glucose. Not only will you be controlling your blood sugar levels, but you will also be forced into eating healthier with a daily salad.
4. Aids in Weight Loss
After consuming apple cider vinegar on a regular basis you may find that you seem to get filled up quicker after a meal. Regular consumption of apple cider vinegar can help increase satiety and lead to you eating fewer calories during every meal. And of course, the fewer calories you eat, the thinner you will become. Also apple cider vinegar is known to contain certain acids and enzymes that speed up your digestion and thus help to burn fat faster. By keeping you full, lowering blood sugar levels and helping your body to burn fat faster, adding apple cider vinegar to any diet should help you meet your weight loss goals.
Where to Purchase Apple Cider Vinegar
If you are convinced that apple cider vinegar offers too many health benefits to pass up on, then you need to know where you can purchase a quality product. Unfortunately, many products that label themselves as apple cider vinegar may actually be a mixture of processed apple juice with sugar cane vinegar or other types of commercially made vinegars. To get the full health benefits of apple cider vinegar, it is important to find products that guarantee themselves to be 100% raw (unprocessed) and organic. If you live in an area with several apple orchards, you might be able to find a local source of apple cider vinegar there.
Apple Cider Vinegar for a Healthier Life
Who knew that simply consuming a tablespoon or two of something as simple as apple cider vinegar could lead to so many varied and important health benefits? What was once a folk remedy of earlier generations is now being confirmed by scientific investigation. Raw, organic apple cider vinegar should be a part of everyone’s diet.